I believe my father's birth certificate to be incorrect.

The man listed as his father was not his father. My father is deceased. The man listed as his father is deceased.

His actual biological father is deceased. My father's mother is alive and has confirmed the birth certificate is incorrect.

I cannot get any straight answers from the Oklahoma vital statistics dept on how to handle this.

Has anyone dealt with a situation similar to this?

I think this is an on-topic question because my genealogical records are incorrect and need to be altered. Legal answers to paternity have only yielded custody issue answers. The specific issue of changing paternity on a deceased person's birth certificate is a purely genealogical effort.

  • 4
    Genealogy is about tracking records down; and it's very common to find records that are wrong. You've done the genealogy. Amending the record is a legal issue.
    – user6485
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 19:37

2 Answers 2


Your father's birth certificate accurately reflects the information provided to the authorities at the time of his birth. That's all it can do: a birth certificate is not proof of biological parentage but a legal document.

For any birth certificate, we have to consider how accurate the information was given a number of factors:

  • legal requirements (in England and Wales, for example, there were rules about how and when a father could be named if the parents were not married)

  • social pressures and stigmas that encouraged certain acceptable falsehoods

  • informant's own limitations (did the person giving the information have all the facts and could they easily communicate with the person making the record?)

  • straight-up recording errors (perhaps clerk was tired or drunk!)

Whatever the reason is, as genealogists we do not seek to alter historical records. Instead, we look to understand them so we can reconcile records that appear contradictory.

So in recording your family tree, record what is on your father's birth certificate, but also the oral family history and any other documentation you have to demonstrate the link to his biological father.


You believe? Do you have any proof, other than the testimony of your grandmother?

Even if it were possible to issue a new birth certificate. To change it, you both need proof that the certificate is incorrect, and proof of your real grandfather's identity.

Since they are all deceased, I don't see how you can do that. Even if you can prove that your DNA matches the family of your biological grandfather, that still only proves that at some point there was a non-paternal event between you and your grandfather. You could end up having your own birth certificate changed to unknown father.

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