The California Birth Index, or CABI, is a database that stores records of births in California from 1905 to 1995. The CABI was compiled by the California Office of Health Information and Research. The records are not stored in the form of birth certificates, but rather abstracts of birth certificates.
Before 1905, birth registrations were not required. They were sometimes recorded at a county level and sometimes listed in newspapers. Recording marriages was much more common but not required until 1949.
What Information Does The CABI Contain?
The CABI does not contain the same information as a birth certificate. The only information the CABI contains is: date of birth, full name, county of birth, gender, and the mother’s maiden name. Some online versions, such as the one at Family Tree Legends, only contain the full name, birth date, gender, and county of birth.
Adopted persons may or may not be listed in the CABI. Additionally, the way they are listed varies. They could be listed under their birth names, adopted names, or both.
Anyone can access the CABI. Ancestry.com requires you to be a paying member of its services to access the CABI. Family Tree Legends is available for free. The CABI on Vital Search is available for paying customers and for free.
The user interface varies by website, but they should be fairly easy to use. It is possible to obtain information with just the full name and gender of the person you are searching for. Again, adopted persons might not be listed or listed under a different name, so watch out for that.
Is It Possible To Use The CABI for Identity Theft?
The simple answer is: No. The CABI does not actually give you a copy of the birth certificate.
Although birth records in California are publicly available, only certain persons may obtain an authorized copy. Anyone not on the list of authorized persons may obtain an informational copy. This copy will have this statement: "Informational, Not a Valid Document to Establish Identity" across the front of the document. Both authorized and informational copies are certified.
Who Can Obtain Authorized Copies of Birth Certificates?
The person listed on the certificate.
The parent or legal guardian of the person listed on the certificate.
The child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner of the person listed on the certificate.
An attorney, adoption agency, or other party with a court order.
Any member of the government or law enforcement agency conducting official business.
An attorney representing the person listed on the certificate or his/her estate.