by Danielle M. Rosenberg on Jun 13, 2018 Uncategorized
Birth registration has long been useful to governments, allowing them to tax, conscript, and count the population. That effort was traditionally the purview of churches, where the practice dates to the 16th century. It wasn't until 1837, in England and Wales, that birth registration began to become standardized and subject to governmental control.* Several decades later, it was mandatory to register all births in the two countries.
These documents also show the extent of progress when it comes to gender relations. Just a few decades ago, U.S. birth certificates listed the father's occupation but not the mother's. There was no expectation of working women, at least officially.