Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Fathers to be named on birth certs

An interesting article in The Times explains that a white paper proposes that fathers should be forced to sign their names to the birth certificates of any children they might have. This will apparently encourage said father to take up a more active role in that child's life. Ahem...!

The article states the following:

"Under the new scheme, if a mother attempts to register the birth in her name alone, she will be asked by the registrar to name the father. If she wants him to be named and provides details of his whereabouts or workplace, the registrar will be obliged to pursue him until he signs. The father will be able to register by post and not be obliged to turn up in person — another significant change.

"If the father disputes paternity, he can take a DNA test. He will also face a fine for non-co-operation if he fails to fulfil the new requirement to register. "

The full article is at

I have to say, as a genealogist, it would of course be ideal to see both names on a certificate, as the number of single parent homes is on the increase, and it will become more difficult in the future to trace back when only the mother is named on the cert. However, this system, as described, is so full of holes and open to abuse that I would not support this measure. Compulsion is absolutely not the answer, and as someone who was raised in a single parent home, I would suggest the Government should think about looking at the real problems in the country just now, rather than continuing to demonise single parents in yet another Victorian witch hunt.

The white paper can be consulted in full at


(With thanks to Guy Etchells at the Your Family Tree magazine forum)
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving


Janet said...

This is a present day Bill which has been debated in the House within the last week.
As I did not see all the debate I cant answer for anyone who asks, as they no doubt will, "What happens for a same sex couple?" All this has to be debated and sent to the higher House.

Janet said...

No doubt someone will ask what happens when a same sex couple registers a birth. All that has to be debated. As its a current Bill who can say as yet.