German SIG #Germany Re: Accuracy of dates in public records & sources #germany

Jeff Lewy <airbair@...>

I would like to make one comment to amplify John Lowens' statement on
date conflicts in records of the same event. Keep in mind that there
may be a later request for the information of the event, which may
have a much later date than the event.

I saw one just yesterday - a "birth certificate" (Geburtsschein) from
8 Sep 1910, with an entry date of 10 Sep 1910, and a "witness of
birth" (Geburtskunde) for the same person, same birthdate, 8 Sep 1910,
and an entry date of 21 Jul 1938. This second record was basically a
notarized statement (made in a different place) by the father of his
son's birthdate, which was used by the son as part of his papers to
leave Germany for Palestine (just in time). (the father left, too.)

In my own family, seven children were born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
between 1860 and 1872. Birth records began there in 1872, but all
seven are in the records. When I actually went to Milwaukee and saw
the records books, I found that all seven were recorded on the same
day - just after the birth of the last of the seven!

In the US, delayed birth certificates were not uncommon. A midwife
might report all the births she assisted in the few times she went to
the county seat; a birth at home might not be reported, and then
recorded when the baby was an adult and needed another document (like
a passport) which required "proof of birth."

The moral of the story is that our current passion for accuracy and
detail is a product of our own times, and not always true for the past
(even when there wasn't a good reason to fudge the truth).

Jeff Lewy, San Francisco, CA USA [Reply off list to] <>

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