I blog at Family Folklore Blog on a variety of genealogy and family history topics. Blogging is about communicating and communication leads to collaboration. The following story begins with a post published in September 2012.
|Stamps on a selection of certificates with dates|
The post, Stamp duty and authenticity of legal documents, examined a marriage certificate and lead me to do some homework on why stamps appear on original birth, death and marriage certificates. Stamps were an effective and convenient method of paying the tax levied in legal documents, which includes vital certificates. The revenue stamps used evolved over time, but use of the penny postage stamp for taxation was introduced in 1853 and the Stamp Duties Management Act 1870 included a penny tax on ‘copies of registers of births & c’.
Amy, of Amy: Finding My Past wrote a post Stamp duty on birth, marriage and death certificates and posed the question:
"What I have yet to establish is when the practice of attaching a stamp to certificates died out. The latest example I have in my possession is from 1948. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has a later example or knows the date this practice stopped."
The CollaborationEver skipped comments left on blogs? You could be missing some gems. Comments on both my post and Amy’s narrowed down the date range:
|Contributor||Date||type||Stamp or no stamp?|
|Soames||Nov 1949||birth||no stamp|
|cj||Feb 1950||birth||no stamp, 'Exempt from stamp duty' printed over stamp box|
Soames nailed the time period down to between February and November 1949. CJ’s observation suggests the duty was abolished. My hunch was that the duty abolition is probably in one of the annual Finance Bills passed after the budget.
The AnswerThe Finance Act 1949 was enacted on 30 July 1949. It abolished stamp duty on a long list of legal documents, but only gave the headings specifying the type of document in the Stamp Act 1891. It included headings relating to Copies or Extracts, which in the 1891 Act turns out to be:
"The duty upon a certified copy or extract of or from any register of births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, or burials is to be paid by the person requiring the copy or extract, and may be denoted by an adhesive stamp, which is to be cancelled by the person by whom the copy or extract is signed before he delivers the same out of his hands, custody, or power."
I would likely have never have navigated tax law without the clues from the certificates. Thank you to Amy, CJ, and Soames for their help in answering this question.