Citing a certificate (certified photocopy) issued by a county recorder in the U.S.A.

 
 
 
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History Hunter
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Citing a certificate (certified photocopy) issued by a county recorder in the U.S.A.

I'm not sure what format to follow in the following instance. Could you point me to the correct section and associated QuickCheck in the EE book?

I have received a certified photocopy of a longhand marriage certificate, from the Pope County, Minnesota, Recorder, for the marriage of John Olson HOFFOS and Bertha Maria LEE on 25 Feb 1883 at the home of Ole B. LEE. It is certified as a, "full, true and complete copy of the original document" on record with that office in Book B of Marriages on Page 215. It is also dated, stamped and signed.

The actual text of the record states that what is a "certificate". There is also added text on the record that states the date of filing by the clerk was 22 Mar 1883 in Book "B" of Marriage Records. This agrees with that stated by the current recorder.

EE
EE's picture

History Hunter,

From your description it's not clear whether the certificate was created especially for you by the County Recorder's Office, or whether they made you a photocopy of a page from one of the ledger styles popular in the late 1800s, in which each register page was a preprinted form with blanks to be filled in by hand. Can you upload a copy so we can see what we're dealing with?

 

The Editor

History Hunter
History Hunter's picture

Dear Editor;

In my post, I mentioned that it was a photocopy of the longhand entry in the marriage book. I've included a scan. Given the upload size limitation, I hope you can read it.

 

Upload a document: 
EE
EE's picture

History Hunter, there are all kinds of 'longhand entries' in marriage books. You've just made that point well!  In fact, this particular document would not be in the "marriage book" itself.

What you have is an image of an original document, rather than a page from a record book. More specifically, it is an image of the minister's return—one in a series "marriage records" that would have been created.

Note that there are two different handwritings. At the top of the page, the minister certified that he had performed the marriage. Sideways to the left, he added a notation about where his credentials are filed. Then, once he submitted this piece of paper to authorities, the county clerk added a notation of his own in the bottom right quadrant. At the top of his notation, he used the word certificate—meaning, in that era, official certification, rather than a "certificate" in the manner in which we use it today). Under that, the clerk

  • Noted the names of the couple,

  • Stated the date the minister's return was filed in his office (nearly a month after the marriage)

  • Identified the marriage book and page whereon he (the clerk) officially recorded marriage

This imaged document would not be found in "Book 'B' Page 215." It is not a "Marriage Certificate" that a clerk has created by going to Book B and extracting the officially recorded record.  This document is the original document from which the Book B data would have been created.

Then, to confuse matters more, you have a second certification, stamped at upper left, created by the current deputy clerk. The stamp tells us that it is an image of an "original Document"--one that is unnumbered in the records of that office--and that the details from this original document were recorded in Marriage Book B on p. 215.

For comparisons, I'll add links to actual pages from marriage books wherein the records themselves  are presented as "certificates" and an image of a modern "certificate of marriage" that we get when one is issued by a vital-records office.

County-level marriage book, preprinted as “certificates” (see attached image)

County-level marriage book with marriage “certificate” at bottom of page that also includes details for affidavit, license, and bond

https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6SP9-KP1?mode=g&i=550&cc=1417439 

state-level “marriage certificate”

https://www.evidenceexplained.com/sites/default/files/Peter%20Leonard%20and%20JoAnn%20Jewell%2C%20Certificate%20of%20Marriage-2.jpg

 

 

The Editor

EE
EE's picture

History Hunter, now that understand what it is you have, we're in a position to cite it more clearly. EE 9.33 and the QC Model on p. 425 provide a basic format for citing a loose marriage record in a county office. Given that the original document you are using cites a book and page for the recorded record, you might want to add that.  At the end of the basic citation, put a semicolon instead of a period and then add something such as

 "...;  filed 22 March 1883 with Tory Thomas, Clerk, who noted that the information from this document was recorded in Marriage Book B:215."

You might also want to note the current certification. Just add another semicolon and then:

"...; certified 23 March 2017 by Sarah O. Pack, Deputy, Pope County, Minnesota Recorder's Office."

This identification should leave no uncertainty in anyone's mind as to exactly what you have.

 

The Editor

History Hunter
History Hunter's picture

Dear Editor;

Thank you for your help. The reference to consult in the EE book will allow me to determine the coresponding base template in RM7 (my current genealogy program) and your notations should allow me to adjust it to show the appropriate heirarchy of references.

Note: For others who are reading this and who obtain records directly from the recorders offices in Minnesota (and possibly elsewhere), this seems to be a fairly common/normal situation.To those not familiar with this type of document it's a bit unique, because the originator has recorded the event, then filed it in the official marriage book and noted having done so, and finally the county recorder has issued a certified photocopy of what is in the official marriage book. Even though the certified copy is an "original" and has minimal chance of being in error, it is not the actual original marriage certificate. So, including the reference chain is necessary.

EE
EE's picture

History Hunter, can we make a tweak to the above? Recapping the situation, you state:

"The originator has recorded the event, then filed it in the official marriage book and noted having done so ... the county recorder has issued a certified photocopy of what is in the official marriage book."

To parse words here so that the sequence of events and the status of your record are as precise as possible:

The originator (the minister) filed his "return" with the county clerk, who then recorded the marriage event in the official record book for county marriages—after which, he added a notation on the original return (the loose sheet of paper) to identify the book no. and page. Now, the county recorder's office has made a certified photocopy of the original return, adding to its certification stamp the book number and page number where the county clerk penned the official "record copy."

For certain, since this is an image of the original return, the chance of an error is smaller than if you were using the derivative version that appears in the cited marriage register.

 

The Editor

History Hunter
History Hunter's picture

Dear Editor;

I'm fine with your suggested wording.