JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: A Problem with Dates #general

Hilary Henkin <propper@...>

I'm sure you'll get many responses on this one < g >.

Go with the naturalization papers for accuracy, compared to the census. The census
was completed by a census taker going house-to-house. The person who provided the
information on your family could've been a neighbor or relative instead of the

Generally, go with "primary souces" first, because they have information provided
directly by the person. "Secondary sources" contain information provided by someone
*about* that person. So SS-5s are great, because they were completed by the person
themselves. Ditto for marriage certificates, birth certificates, naturalization
papers, etc.
Death certificates and census are less reliable, because the information
was/could've-been provided by someone other than the subject.

Of course, primary sources are no guarantee of accuracy either. I have the
naturalization papers for both a husband and wife, around 1935-1940. They don't
agree on the birth dates of their own children in 1919 and 1927! Ah, well....

Good luck!

Hilary Henkin
Atlanta, Georgia

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