Citing a Derivative of a derivative

I have several death records from Minnesota that are derivatives of a derivative. Apparently an "index/register" was created from the original town and township records of Hennepin County. This "index" appears to be a complete transcription of the original record with a reference to the original register this is an assumption because no one has been able to verify that is in fact what it is. Sometime after July 1974 the "index" was transcribed to a form. The form number is HC 582 (7-74) Certificate of Death Record. The form appears to have all the information in the original "index" including the reference to the original register. The location of the original registers is not known.

Information on the form includes name, date of death, age, cause of death, birth place of deceased, name and birth place of parents, name of registrar, address, and date of filing. The one I am currently workin on is for Grace Ice died 22 October 1883, age 3 years, cause of death Typhoid Fever, born Minnesota, parents born Kentucky, father Chas. Ice mother Familia [Permilia] registrar R.B. Dickey, Medina, filled 2 January 1884

So far my citation looks like:

State of Minnesota, County of Hennepin, Certificate of Death Record, for Grace Ice, died 22 October 1883; Minnesota Historical Society microfilm, SAM 449, roll 2, "Hennepin County Death Certificates 1880-1889," Town of Medina 1883, frame no. 972; This "Certificate of Death Record" is a transcription of an index. The transcription was typed onto form number HC 582 (7-74)[Hennepin County form 582] indicating the transcription was done after July 1974. The record states, "...the above is a complete and correct copy of the death record as appears in Death Record 1883, page 13, line 9 of the records of this office." This reference is from the index and does not correlate to the original index page and line numbers. Hennepin County has no registers that correlate to the stated record. The location of the original register is unknown.

Am I giving too much or too little information about the source? The Minnesota Historical Societies listing for the microfilm states. "Location of originals is unknown; presumed to have been destroyed following microfilming." I am assuming this referes to Certificate of Death Record.


Ann Gilchrest 

Submitted byEEon Wed, 05/23/2012 - 11:59


You've created a very good, analytical, working citation—one that will serve you throughout your research on this person. If you eventually submit a piece of writing to a journal or other publisher, you will likely be asked to trim the citation because they always look for ways to shave production costs. But your need, as a researcher, is for all details that can affect the reliability of the information you take from this third-hand source. It is obvious that you have well studied EE 9.30.

EE has only one "nit" to quibble over. If the phrase "Certificate of Death Record" actually appears on the document, then that is how you identify it. Normally, however, the phrase would be "Certificate of Death," because the addition of the word record creates a redundancy.

Submitted byagilchreston Wed, 05/23/2012 - 12:56

The record is titled "Certificate of Death Record". My best guess is that it was titled this way to distinguish it from the Certificate of Death or Death Certificates that started after 1908. Technically there weren't Certificates of Death prior to 1908 in Minnesota. Deaths where recorded in death registers at the town/township level and the township clerk would send or take copies to the county level where the county clerk would transcibe the entries into a county register.

It appears that the Hennepin County clerk added a reference to the original town/township registers. Then after 1974 created a "Certificate of Death Record" from there original register which the county refers to as an index. I think calling this register an index is a misnomer and has led to confusion. Hennepin County still has custody of the index/register. My guess as to why they call it an index is because it is in alphabetical order.