Astro-Databank:Handbook chapter 07.2

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7.2 Birth registry access rules for countries other than USA

Each country of the world has specific regulations and requirements for those who might want to inquire about registered birth time. Due to Privacy laws, there are few countries where a birth information may be obtained without just legal cause. In the following summary "Access restricted" means that only the person, their parents or their legal representative may obtain the birth certificate.

Each country has a different name for its records offices. The way to find out is by finding out where one has to go to have the birth of a newborn child registered.


The registry of birth requires proof of identity in Austria. Therefore all applications must be accompanied by proof of identification to ensure privacy is maintained and information is only released to those entitled. If you are the person named on the certificate or a parent of the person, one has to provide at least three forms of your own identification with your application. For a birth which occurred over 100 years ago, one can search Family History Certificates.


One can only get a copy of a birth certificate for oneself in the municipality of birth. With evidence of identity most municipalities also give copies to the parents and children or to a presiding judge/lawyer (for legal matters). For births older than 100 years, a copy of the certificate is easy to obtain. In such case the fee depends on the time of research through the archives.


Civil registration was instituted in 1893. Birth records have the exact date including time of day. Early civil registration was not very effective and there are many gaps in the records. In 1920, family registers were used for vital information. Not until the communist takeover in 1945 was registration conducted in an efficient manner. Administratively, Bulgaria is divided into twenty eight districts. Each has an archive where civil registration records are preserved. There are no vital records in the National Historical Archive in Sofia. The Family History Library has microfilms of civil registration for the districts of Sofia and Plovdiv and these records usually cover the 1893-1912 time period.


In Denmark, the registration of births has for centuries taken place in the parish registers. An actual registration of the nation's population did not take place until 1924, when an act of parliament created local municipal registers. The centralised civil register (CRS), which has existed in Denmark for more than 25 years, is a nationwide civil register whose purpose is to administrate the personal identification number system, to administrate general personal data reported from the national registration offices to the CRS, and to forward personal data in a technically/economically suitable manner in accordance with the Danish Act on the Civil Registration System and The Act on Processing of Personal Data. Specific data about individuals, whom the enquirer identify by using a combination of name and either address, personal identification number or date of birth, can be obtained upon request from the local registration offices which all have terminal access to the CRS and thus are capable of answering queries - irrespective of where the sought person lives at present. Private people cannot obtain an address if the citizen in question has requested it to be confidential, however, this does not apply to enquiries from the citizen's creditors.


Birth certificates are not used in Finland. An Extract from the Population Register issued by the Finnish Population Register serves the same purpose. An Extract from Population Register can be ordered from the Population Register Office where the person is registered. It normally is the town of last place of residence in Finland or from Vaasan maistraatti if local population register is not known. The extract can be requested by mail, phone or email. Contact details of local registers can be found on the Internet at


Due to privacy regulations, only records over 100 years old may be consulted by the public. It is possible to obtain access to the more recent records, but you will generally be required to prove, through the use of birth certificates, your direct descent from the person in question. But there are some minor differences with other European countries.

France has three different forms of birth certificates: 1. Birth Certificate without the parents' name (Extrait d'acte de naissance sans filiation) 2. Birth Certificate mentioning the parents of the new born (Extrait d'acte de naissance avec filiation) 3. Full and legalized copy of the birth register (Copie intégrale de l'acte de naissance)

According to French law, everybody is entitled to order a birth certificate - sans filiation - (without connection). The certificates can be obtained from the Office of the Mayor (La Mairie) at the place of birth.


Records of birth are generally kept at the German vital records office (Standesamt) where the birth occurred. Most German cities have websites at www.(nameofcity).de where you can find the contact information for the appropriate Standesamt and request a copy of your birth certificate. This usually has to be done in writing and as much information as possible should be provided, including proof of your identity. More info (in German) from justice department here


The problem many people experience in researching Greek heritage often lies in locating Greek records that go back more than two or three generations. Often, the original Greek surname was changed or shortened, meaning that trying to locate older records in Greece is nearly impossible because the names don't match. Original Greek surnames can offer potential clues to a family's specific Greek lineage, as many of the prefixes and suffixes designate geographic areas within Greece. For example, the suffix "akis" often designates a family from Crete. Similarly, the suffix "ellis" often means a family is from the island Lesbos, and "oudas" means from northern Greece (Macedonia). The prefix "Kondo" often designates a family from a Greek island (kondo means short). In Greece, prior to 1925, the local priest was responsible for recording and maintaining vital records, since the major life events revolved around the church. In 1925, the Greek government established a civil registration department that was supposed to record and maintain vital records, although civil registration wasn't fully enforced until 1931. Thankfully, with civil registrations came more complete and uniform information. Today, there are many valuable online resources (Greek Genealogy Home – Greek Ancestry Map etc.) for researching vital records.


The registration of vital records in Hungary began in 1895. Many of the earlier records have been filmed by the Family History Library, where you can find them cataloged by town. Prior to 1781 all vital records were kept by the Roman Catholic Church. Useful links for your research are ‘National Archives of Hungary’ and ‘The Federation of East European Family History Societies’.


Under Italian law, records of births are maintained by the Registrar of Vital Statistics (Ufficio dello Stato Civile) in the city (commune or municipio) where the birth occurred. There is no central, regional, or provincial office established which keeps such records. When applying for a certificate, the applicant must supply all relevant information. The office of the registrar cannot undertake extensive research of its files to locate a record which is not properly identified, and will not translate requests in a foreign language. Therefore, all requests must be written in Italian. A fee is charged for the issuance of the certificate.


A copy of the birth certificate for a birth after 1923 can be obtained from the city hall of the place of birth but only for yourself or your close relatives. The ‘Administration Communale’ (Fr.) in the main city hall of Luxembourg City also issues all birth certificates for those born in Luxembourg and residing abroad. Besides the communal administration one can try and find older birth certificates and those of historical figures in the archives of ancestry.


To obtain a copy of a birth certificate, you need to contact the Norwegian Tax Administration, which is responsible for the National Population Register.If you were born in Norway, and presently live in Norway, contact your local tax office . If you need a birth certificate for someone who lived in Norway prior to December 1946, you will need to contact the church office in the municipality where they were born to get a copy of their birth certificate. You can read more about obtaining certificates for ancestors on the web site of the National Archives of Norway .


Spain has a national index or central repository for civil registration (Ministerio de Justicia). Researchers can solicit the Ministerio de Justicia online for copies of certificates. Requests must have the name, place and date when the birth occurred. Parent's names will also be required when asking for a birth certificate. Births were recorded by the local Juzgado de la Paz, or Oficinia del Registro Civil. The records are still housed in each municipality in their local municipal archives, Juzgado de la Paz or Oficina del Registro Civil should be contacted if a certificate copy request to the Ministerio de Justicia fails. Larger cities may have multiple civil registration districts, and smaller towns may have their own civil registration office.


Before 1991 there was no civil registration in Sweden. Births were registered exclusively by the Lutheran State Church in their parishes. In the mid-19th century, old naming habits were still in use in rural Sweden. There were no family names as we know them; rather surnames derived from the parents' first names. The University of Umeå (Sweden) has access to all vital records church registers in Sweden. Nowadays a copy of a birth certificate can be obtained from the local office of the Swedish Taxation Authority, Skatteverket, where you were born. Contact details to all taxation offices can be found on If you are unsure of which office to contact:


As many things in Switzerland, the name of the registry varies from cantone to cantone, and the rules for access to registry information also vary by cantone. In Zürich, the office is called Zivilstandesamt. One has to go there in person to inquire about an entry. They do not give information over the phone or in writing. Access is restricted, but for persons dead since some time and of documented public importance, access may be granted by the staff. No copies or photos of registry entries may be made, all information must be written down manually. A fee for using up the time of the registry staff is charged.

The Netherlands

As in many other European countries there is a privacy policy to obtain a copy of a birth certificate in the Netherlands. Which means that it’s almost impossible to receive a copy of the certificate for a living non- related person. The fastest way for your own copy of BC is via the internet and a DigiD (digital passport). The Netherlands has many genealogy websites and archives of ancestry for further research.