Monday, 13 June 2016

ESM's QuickLessons A DearMYRTLE Genealogy Study Group Lesson 12 and Following Up


Hilary Gadsby

QuickLesson 12: Chasing an Online Record into Its Rabbit Hole    
Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 12: Chasing an Online Record into Its Rabbit Hole,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-12-chasing-online-record-its-rabbit-hole : accessed 25 May 2016).     
and
Following up on QuickLesson 12
Elizabeth Shown Mills, "Following up on QuickLesson 12," Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/following-quicklesson-12 : accessed 25 May 2016).         

I have found an image of a record of interest at a website. What exactly have I found?

Unlike the lesson on the website I am not going to discuss an online record. The reason being that my research in England started before you could find records online although much has been added in recent years. We still rely to a great extent on documents we need to order or visit an archive to view. 

When we do get a document what do we see?



Certified Copy of an entry in a register held at the General Register Office issued 24th April 2003. This appears to be a photocopy of the entry and the writing is all the same. The event took place in 1869 in Swinstead Parish Church.


Certified Copy of an entry in a register held at Oakham Register Office issued 16th December 2002. This has been handwritten by the Superintendent Registrar who signed on the date of issue. The event took place in 1893 in Empingham Parish Church.




Certificate of Registry of Birth issued 21st February 1902 by the Registrar for the Sub-District of Saint Mary Extra the Entry No 356  in Register Book No 32 for a birth of 29th January 1902. 




Certified Copy of an entry in a register of Deaths held in Stamford typewritten and issued 3 April 1951 the day of registration of a death on 31st March 1951.


Whilst all of these documents were created by officials are they all the same.
How much would you trust that the information in the document is correct?
Do you understand why, how, who, when and where they were created?

Three of these documents state they are copies. Would you trust any of these more than the others? If so why? 

Whilst the final example is typewritten it was created on the date the event was registered and signed by the person registering the event.

The third example states that a birth was entered into the register and tells us the date of birth and who was born. It was written by the person registering the birth on the date of registration. However there is insufficient information in this record to confirm a link to a family. This is what we call a short certificate issued for free. https://www.gov.uk/register-birth/birth-certificates

Both of the other certificates were created well after the events were registered. Both may be flawed. 

The handwritten copy could have transcription errors if the original was difficult to read. (I tried to view a copy of the church register which had been filmed onto microfiche, either the original or the microfiche were poor as I was unable to determine any of the writing so will aim to view it elsewhere when I am able.) 
The first example is a photocopy, so you may falsely believe, it could not have a transcription error. However the registers held at the General Register Office are not the original entries. Every three months, at the end of March, June, September and December, the superintendent registrars send a copy of each entry of birth, marriage, and death registered by their office in that quarter, to the Registrar General in London. 

Understand what you have before you. It may be the best you can obtain but be aware that an item may not be as close to the original as it appears.

No comments: