I’ve not read it yet, but this looks interesting–The Birth Certificate: An American History, by Susan J. Pearson and published by the University of North Carolina Press . Given how genealogists rely on civil records of birth and how they have changed over the years, there hopefully will be some good background information in here. Understanding the “why” behind the records we use in our genealogical research is crucial to fully understanding them. Like all records, birth certificates were not created for genealogists but over time have come to serve more and more purposes. This should be a good read. We’ll have an update after I’ve had a chance to read through its pages.