Either one is identical as they come from the same source, the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.
A state certified copy is the most official copy one can obtain.
Read further for more information about security and detailed information on state-certified records.
Record Accessibility: Are Massachusetts Birth Records Public Records?
Yes, the majority of birth records in Massachusetts are public records.
In short, however, the original birth record is restricted in Massachusetts if birth parents are not married at the time of birth, or if an adoption took place and the name changed. Some agencies or city clerks also refer to these as "impounded birth records.""
These records are restricted to the individual named on the record, the birth parent(s) named on the record, or a legal guardian.
Certificates can still be obtained directly by the subject(s) and the birth parents, or legal guardian, but restricted records are not open to the public.
Some larger cities, such as Worcester and Boston, have online birth order forms on their websites, but many smaller towns, such as Granby, still only accept mail-in or walk-in applications.
The biggest plus of city/town certificates is that they are generally less expensive than state-certified copies. The biggest minus is that they can take longer to obtain and are less official appearing than state copies.
Most importantly, they are not acceptable by some state agencies, such as Social Security Offices, or for applying for driver's licenses and passports, especially if you live in Colorado or California or if you live outside of the country.
Enhanced Security of State-Certified Birth Records over a City or Town Copy
• Embossed with Official Raised Massachusetts State Seal
• Signed by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics
• Contains the Original Date of Issue
• Stamped with Current Date of Issue
• Printed on Secure, Watermarked, Heavyweight Paper
• Embedded with a Scannable, Digital Bar-Code for Tracking
Information Recorded on State-Certified Birth Records
• First, middle (sometimes, just an initial), and last name of the child
• Place of birth, including address, hospital (no longer recorded), and town or city
• Month, day, and year of birth
• Time of birth - began in the early 1950's but not always recorded by staff
• Name, age, and address of father and, depending on the era of recording, his exact date of birth
• Name, age, and address of mother and, depending on the era of recording, her exact date of birth
• Birthplace of the father (city, town, state, country; sometimes just state or country)
• Birthplace of the mother (city, town, state, country; sometimes just state or country)
• Occupations of father and mother (not always filled in - stopped being recorded in mid-1990's)
• Number of previous children of the mother (again, not always filled in and no longer recorded)
Transcriptions are recorded directly from the state birth certificates at the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics in Boston. All genealogical-related information is recorded, checked, and rechecked for spelling and accuracy.