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Vital Records - How Important???

Vital Records - How Important???

Posted: 2 Aug 2012 3:29PM GMT
Classification: Query
If I already have the information from another source, ex. WWII Registration card, burial cards, church records, etc. How important is it to have copies of their birth, marriage, or death certificate?

Also, is there an importance to having a certified copy of a death certificate or will a non-certified death certificate provide the same information with out the raised seal?

Re: Vital Records - How Important???

Posted: 2 Aug 2012 4:31PM GMT
Classification: Query
The "gold standard" of genealogical evidence is three separate documentary sources for every fact. In practice, this is not always achievable, but if a certificate is available and you don't have it then you should certainly get it.

Re: Vital Records - How Important???

Posted: 2 Aug 2012 7:35PM GMT
Classification: Query
Thanks for clearing that. I wasn't sure since I had 2 sources, burial card from cemetery and death notice in the newspaper. Since death record indices in Philadelphia between certain years are available to the public, I was able to confirm the date of death and the burial card lists cause of death, I wasn't sure if I needed the certificate.

Is it better to order the certified certificate or will the non certified be just as good? I'm assuming the only difference is the raised seal.

Re: Vital Records - How Important???

Posted: 2 Aug 2012 9:03PM GMT
Classification: Query
You don't need a certified document for anyone but yourself, or if you're an executor of an estate.

The reason you want to see the actual certificate, and it doesn't need to be a certified one, is for the data on it that is not indexed. Parents names, place of birth, place of burial, who the informant was, are a few puzzle pieces that may help you in your next search.

Re: Vital Records - How Important???

Posted: 3 Aug 2012 2:28PM GMT
Classification: Query
Thank you very much for the information!!

Re: Vital Records - How Important???

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 8:42PM GMT
Classification: Query
Now I am more confused. Reequested a birth certificare for my grandfather based off of information I received off of social security death index, nothing was found. I did a little bit more digging and found out that information was incorrect and found new information so I requested another certificate - again I received notice that there was no birth certificate in 1926. Is it possible that they never filed for a birth certificate?

Re: Vital Records - How Important???

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 10:28PM GMT
Classification: Query
A death record or cemetery record is good proof (at or near the time of the event) of DEATH but it is NOT proof of birth. The person giving the information on a death or cemetery record may not have any valid reason to know the date and/or place of birth.

Do you know where and when the birth occurred? Do you know whether the state HAS birth records available for the year of birth? Pennsylvania for instance has birth records at the state level (fairly reliable) beginning 1906.

You mentioned church records...WHAT church record? If you have a baptismal record recorded at or near the time of birth (usually prior to age 5) this can serve as a good proof of birth IF a birth certificate is NOT available...and you have a written statement that this is the case from the state.

Joan

Re: Vital Records - How Important???

Posted: 14 Sep 2012 2:17AM GMT
Classification: Query
It's possible that a delayed birth certificate exists. You usually won't find these in the same index as the regular birth certificate, and probably they're not included in a search of birth certificates. A lot of times a delayed certificate was created when people had to prove their age for Social Security, and a regular birth certificate did not exist.

Re: Vital Records - How Important???

Posted: 14 Sep 2012 10:16PM GMT
Classification: Query
Unfortunately, it is possible that the birth was never registered. Home births were much more common way back when, and sometimes they just ignored all that pesky paperwork. In addition, many immigrants did not know the proper procedures or could not communicate the event to anyone. Also sometimes, I'm told by my grandmother, Grant Aunt Ethel died at home, so the family just planted her in the back yard. Okay, ewww. Anyway, no death records. It's also possible that the records were lost - case in point: the 1890 U.S. Census records were destroyed in a fire. Another problem is that people just didn't know or remember when a person was born. You will see an 1870 census record where Great Grandma was listed as 17 years old, but 10 years later in the 1880 Census, she's now 31. Again, language barriers can be a problem here.

I agree with the earlier post that it is often necessary to retain a copy of the original document because it usually has extremely interesting information that isn't shown on the report. But a photo copy or digital image will do just fine unless you are the executor of that person's estate.

Good luck and happy hunting!
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