An official birth certificate is required to obtain a Social Security number. President Roosevelt created the Social Security Act in 1935. It's morphed a great deal over the years, but eventually a number became required to get a job, a passport, and naturally to be able to obtain SSA benefits.
These certificates offer a genealogist information that ordinary birth certificates do not. To obtain a delayed certificate, folks had to present THREE items of identification. Family Bibles were often presented, as were insurance policies and marriage licenses. Personal knowledge affidavits by friends or family members were also accepted.
These items are clues! Clues that a family Bible exists, that a couple was married (in the event you can't find a marriage bond or license), and even clues to additional family members.
Here's my grandfather's delayed birth certificate:
You can see the awesome vital information offered here. Proof of parents, marriage, place of birth, and a life insurance policy. But the best piece of evidence here is the fact that a family Bible exists!
Jesse's Aunt Sallie also applied for a delayed birth certificate:
From these two documents, I have proof of three generations of Stancils. I already knew a great deal about these folks, but if I hadn't...I do now!
I obtained these from Ancestry.com, but you can also request them from your local vital statistics office except they usually require you to jump through hoops. In North Carolina, you can more easily get them from the Register of Deeds.
I like to take the path of least resistance, so I check online first and if I can't find it there I make a little trip over to my local ROD office. Good thing it's just down the road!