Is 'I have a copy of the birth certificate' sufficient supporting evidence?

+2 votes
173 views
in Policy and Style by Anonymous Constable G2G Rookie (190 points)
A transcript of the details might be helpful - date and place of birth and parents names if they were recorded.

If the person is currently still living, thereby having an unlisted profile, then noone else would able to read your source anyway., which makes the question a moot point.
I have used it (also including a partial, or full, transcription of the document in my possession).  The "help sources" says that, as well as "personal knowledge" (for events you actually were around to witness), is perfectly acceptable.  A source is where you found the information, even if it was among a bunch of papers mixed in with the threads and needles in your mother's sewing box.

6 Answers

+2 votes

One hesitates to say it is -- WT does have a page or two about sources ...  Help:Sources

my own position on this is that any evidence, any proof, is not just a statement it exists, it is "palpable" in that others can view it and judge for themselves ...  

It is possible that WT accepts the "statement of possession" as sufficient  

by Susan Smith G2G6 Pilot (497k points)
Thanks. Specifically I was thinking of UK General Record Office Birth/Death/Marriage Certificates, which are Crown Copyright, and downloaded images of parish records on, say, Ancestry.  I don't think it would be acceptable to upload images of these to WT; I shall try something along the lines of the "single source for multiple references" example on the page you pointed me to.
Although transcripts are of course subject to human error, including a transcript of a document you have seen or possess is always helpful.
Welcome Ian!  In both of the examples you give, a copy of the image is available to the public for a fee, which makes them verifiable.  I think it is perfectly acceptable to cite the copy in your possession.  And of course you can freely cite the GRO or Ancestry index.
It is more about describing the exact certificate, where it is located and how one can access it (number in the archive, exact date when it was written, by which authority), than stating 'I have it here'.

You do not have to upload a copy of it to prove it exists, so copyright does not have to be an issue. Maybe someone can give a good example for a UK birth certificate?
England & Wales (GRO) birth registration: Kingsbridge [district], Volume 5b, Page 123, June quarter 1903, mother's maiden name BLOGGS.  Copy certificate in possession of [[Haywood-41|Ros Haywood]]
https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/login.asp
+4 votes

Personally I would recite the content of the birth certificate, including date & place of birth, father & his occupation, mother & her maiden name, & all other registration details that it contains. The source for this being listed as Certified copy of Birth Certificate, & secondly, if possible, GRO details if the birth registered in England post 1837.

by Anonymous Woody G2G6 Mach 2 (22.4k points)
+5 votes
Hi Ian. It is perfectly acceptable to upload images of the UK GRO certificates to Wikitree, as long as there is no mention of living people therein. They are copyright free for these family tree purposes. That way you are sharing a primary source.

I would still put the relevant details in the biography in text form as well, both as a backup to the image, and to help the flow of the profile's description.
by Joe Farler G2G6 Pilot (122k points)
+4 votes
Since the GRO permits copies of the certificates to be published why not Scan and publish?
by C. Mackinnon G2G6 Pilot (272k points)
+1 vote
Most birth certificates have a special number, date and place of issue, which should be included in any such statement. To simply say you have a copy of something does not verify or certify that you have it.  We have an honor system and providing as many supporting details is the honorable thing to do.
by Daniel Bly G2G6 Mach 5 (59.3k points)

I acknowledge that, as the GRO site states, "As long as there are no details about living individuals there is no problem about publishing the images of the certificates on your family tree website. Any modern certificates would be subject to the Data Protection Act, and would need the
permission of any living named person prior to publication."

This doesn't apply to images from Ancestry (?) but that's for another day.

As far as GRO Certificates are concerned, any "special" number on them identifies the particular piece of paper, which is a certified copy of the original entry in the books, and the only foolproof identification of the actual entry is the Quarter,  District, Volume and Page where it can be found. So I think I am on safe enough ground if I support basic biographical details such as birth/marriage/death with a reference to, for example, "Marriage Certificate UK GRO Marriages Jun 1905 Wandsworth 1d 912".   I'm just starting in to adding some 2100 names to my/our/the tree, so I need to keep things as simple as possible to start with (fact + source only, no digressions, no images online). The honour code works both ways and you can trust me to enter only data that can be supported (though I will obviously oblige if anyone needs to see a scan).

I just improved my "family bible" sources by saying "Scans of the pages in my possession". That tells everybody: "If you want to have a look on the info, contact me and I can send you the scanned image."
+1 vote

As others have said, it is a good idea to include information about the certificate so that others can find it and/or via your transcription and what you write in the biography can tell what it says. For example John Doe was born in Someplace Nice to parents James Doe and Mary Smith on some date, with an in-line citation.

Per the Sources FAQ, all you need to say is birth certificate. Per the Help for sources:

Fundamentally, a good source citation enables others to:

  1. judge the accuracy of the information found on the profile, and
  2. independently verify the information by finding the source themselves.
by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (420k points)

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