JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: errors in death certificates. A biggie! #general

Ira Leviton

Dear Cousins,

Martha Lev-Zion's message is a useful reminder that anything is possible -
there can be errors in almost any kind of document, and that corroborating
evidence should be sought whenever possible. Just because it's written,
even in dark ink or in stone, doesn't mean that it's so, or was so.

We've all heard stories about people who've had a million dollars
mistakenly deposited into their bank account or billed to their credit card.
So why can't an error occur in a document? Although life, death,
and genealogy are far more important than a million dollars, mistakes
still occur in birth and death certificates. Throw in the human factor,
and the errors sometimes seem more clever than if they were made
deliberately by artists, scientists, or teenagers.

If we all think about it for a few moments, there's no reason that
names on deaths certificate can't be wrong - their initial purpose was
primarily statistical, not to record the individual, and I'm sure that
I'm not the only one on this list with a death certificate that has the
wrong name but still clearly identifies the right person, or a birth
certificate with the wrong date of birth.

That reminds me - one of these days I'm going to correct the error on
my mother's death certificate - the error that I made when I gave
information to the funeral director.

Happy hunting (and verifying)!

Ira Leviton
New York, N.Y.