Birth Certificates are a formal record of the birth of a child, and typically include the date and place of birth together with information about the parents.
For family historians researching ancestors in the UK, each General Register Office holds publicly available Birth Certificates for virtually every person born since the middle of 1837 (or 1855 in Scotland and 1864 in Ireland). They also hold Marriage Certificates and Death Certificates. Prior to formal registration of births, usually only Baptism Records are available.
There are two types of UK Birth Certificate. The long or full certificate, titled 'CERTIFIED COPY OF AN ENTRY' is a copy of the original entry in the birth register, giving all the recorded details. The short certificate, titled 'CERTIFICATE OF BIRTH', shows the child's full name, sex, date, and place of birth, but does not give any details of the parents, and was often issued free to parents at the time of registration.