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    « Congrats Book Giveaway Winner! | Main | Noodling About that State Notification of Birth Records »

    Fraud in the Family Archives!

    Citing a 'State Notification of Birth Registration'

    This document does a darn good imitation of pretending to be what it isn't. It isn't a Birth Certificate. It isn't a Birth Registration. It isn't a cute little hospital certificate.

    Obvious, my dear Watson, it's a Clue.

    It's supposed to be a Valuable Document (it says so right there on the reverse), but the most valuable thing about it is the typed information, not the Official-looking border or imprint. It won't get you a driver's license in California and it really won't get you a marriage license in Wisconsin.

    Might "look like a duck and quack like a duck" but it's still a turkey.

    It's a signpost to the Real-Deal State-Certified Official Birth Record. Follow the number in the upper right corner to the vitals vault to find the Original.

    All this to say that these State (and Bureau of the Census) issued "Notification of Birth Registration" notices are most likely unique items that will be found only in family collections. They can't be an image copy of an original, because the original is not the "Notification" but the actual "Birth Registration." These notices are more like a form letter, existing in one copy only. If this Notice were lost, the replacement would most likely be another form letter with instructions for ordering a copy of the Official Birth Registration.

    From the Bureau of the Census website

    The notification was completed and sent to parents of newborns when the state office of vital records received information on the birth and made up a birth registration record. If parents found errors in the information shown on the form, they were asked to correct them and return the form so the state’s record could be corrected accordingly. The notification was used until the late 1940s and then discontinued once states were keeping satisfactory birth records. The U.S. Census Bureau does not maintain these records.

    What to do? If the purpose of this Notification was to give parents a chance to correct any errors in the official birth registration information, it's entirely possible that the Official record could be materially different from the Notification. Thorough genealogical research would require that the Official Birth Registration be consulted and birth information extracted from that document rather than from the Notification.

    The Notification itself must be regarded as the Valuable Clue that it is; no less, no more.

    I've been trying to figure out what to do with this "thing" for a while. (Noodling About that State Notification of Birth Records.)

    In the absence of an authoritative model for citing this notice, I am going to agree with Linda McCauley that it's closest to a Family Artifact and cite it thus (using EE 3.25 as a model) [note: I am having trouble trying to create a hanging indent here, but they are understood in these examples] --

    Levenick Family Papers, 1976-. Privately held by Denise May Levenick, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Pasadena, California.

    1. Jane Austen Notification of Birth Registration, Los Angeles, California, citing birth registration no. 2345678 on 15 June 1942; Levenick Family Papers, 1976- , Privately held by Denise May Levenick, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Pasadena, California. This state-issued printed Notification was inherited by Austen's niece in 2011.

    12. Jane Austen notification of birth registration, 1942, Levenick Family Papers.

    PLEEEEASE help me out here if you have any thoughts on this. 

    Here's the boiler-plate text from the front of the document:

    Notification of Birth Registration Registrar's Number xxxxx

    Child's First Name, Middle Name, Last Name
    Place of Birth, Date of Birth, Sex

    First Name, Middle Name, Last Name

    First Name, Middle Name, Last Name

    The certificate of birth of the above child has been registered with your local
    Registrar of Vital Statistics. If the information is incorrect or incomplete,
    notify your local registrar immediately.

    [my parents name and address]

    [printed signature]
    Health Officer and Local Registrar of Vital Statistics
    Los Angeles City Health Department

    [printed signature]
    State Director of Public Health
    and State Registrar of Vital Statistics

    State of California, Department of Public Health


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    Reader Comments (1)

    Denise, I read your entry on EE's forum and ESM's reply. What did your citation end up looking like? I'm curious about the "provenance" part in particular.

    July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJenna

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