A family register (also known as any of several variations, such as household register, family album, familienbuch, koseki, Hộ khẩu, etc.) is a civil registry used in many countries to track information of a genealogical or legal interest.

Often, official recognition of certain events or status may only be granted when such event or status is registered in the family registry— for example, in Japan, a marriage is legally effective when and only when such filing is recorded into the household register (known as a koseki). In other cases, the family register serves as a centralized repository for family legal events, such as births, deaths, marriages, and expatriations, as with the familienbuch in use in Germany and the livret de famille in France,[1] although it is not the sole source of official recognition for such events.

Use of government-sanctioned or administered family registers, while common in many European nations and in countries which use continental-style civil law (where the family or household is legally viewed as the fundamental unit of a nation), is nonetheless rare in English-speaking countries (for example, no such system is in use in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada or the United States).

Although the United States (for example) assigns most citizens and residents a social security number intended to be unique to the recipient and information regarding birth, death and work history (in the form of contributions to the social security system) is collected, the U.S. social security system has long been intentionally restricted in the scope of information collected and maintained regarding individuals where not directly related to social security benefits—as such, no information is centrally collected regarding marriage, citizenship status, parentage, or the like, in contrast to the German and Japanese family register systems.

Establishment of a more comprehensive personal information repository (along the lines of the German or Japanese systems) has been criticized by civil liberties advocates as subject to governmental or criminal abuse, while proponents cite the benefits of simplified access to vital information.

In Korea, use of the hojeok (similar to the Japanese household registry, written using identical Chinese characters) was repealed in 2005, in favor of a personal registry system.

The systems of household registers in China and Japan date back to the Tang Dynasty or Heian Period or earlier, both since the seventh century.

List of household register systems[edit | edit source]

East Asia[edit | edit source]

  • The Hoju scheme is a family register system in North Korea. Hoju (Hangul: 호주, Hanja: 戶主) means the 'head of the family', Hojuje (호주제, 戶主制) is the 'head of the family' system, and Hojeok (alternate romanization: Hojok; 호적, 戶籍) is the 'family register'.
  • The former Hoju system in South Korea attracted controversy for being innately patriarchal and hence representing a 'violation of the right to gender equality'. It was abolished on 1 January 2008.[2]
  • The Koseki system in Japan.
  • The Hukou system, also known as Huji system, in mainland China and Taiwan.

South East Asia[edit | edit source]

  • The Hộ Khẩu is the family registration system in Vietnam. It is a book the keeps the information of a family granted by Municipal/Provincial People's Committee. It is used in combination with the ID Card, the "Chứng minh nhân dân", in order to verify the legal status of a person within the country.
  • The Tabien Baan(ทะเบียนบ้าน), or document proving House Registration, is distributed by a village, city, or other municipal authority. The Tabien Baan (sometimes spelled Tambien Baan) reflects the residents who live at a specific property (this document is not used as proof of Real Estate ownership, for that one must have a Thai Chanote or Title Deed). The Tabien Baan (House Registration) is issued to Thai Citizens and is used as a permanent address for service of process and other official mailings.
A Tabien Baan is an extremely important document for Thai nationals because it acts as proof of a Thai person’s residence. Therefore, it is used to determine a Thai person’s voting district and in the case of Thai men of military age, the Tabien Baan is used to ascertain what district the Thai man will be placed in when drawing for the military draft. This can be critical because if one district reaches a certain level of volunteers then it is not necessary to further draft any inhabitants of that district. As a result, a Thai man’s House Registration (Tabien Baan) can have a massive impact upon their life and career depending upon the district in which they live.


Continental Europe[edit | edit source]

  • The familienbuch system in Germany.
  • The livret de famille system in France.
  • The libro de familia system in Spain.
  • The former Propiska system in Russia.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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