Birth certificate numbers are given to children at birth as a means of identification. Birth certificate numbers are located and labeled on every birth certificate. These numbers are never changed, which is why some children can use the numbers when they search for their birth parents.
A certified copy of a birth certificate also contains a person's birth certificate number. To be a certified copy of a birth certificate, the copy must contain a raised, multicolored or impressed seal. The copy also must have the date that the certificate was filed and the registrar's signature.
The federal government does not supply copies of marriage licenses, divorce decrees or birth certificates. Therefore, one must obtain birth certificates or other personal records at the state level. These documents must be obtained from the state in which the documents were originally filed. Each state has its own set of fees and rules that must be followed to receive a birth certificate.
Some states offer shortened or abstract versions of birth certificates. Although these birth certificates often cost less than a traditional certified copy, not all states accept them. Although birth certificate numbers may appear on shortened versions, these are not acceptable for identifications when applying for a U.S. passport.