Issued certificate vs. privately held artifact

 
 
 
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debbiepelletier21
debbiepelletier21's picture
Issued certificate vs. privately held artifact

When does a certificate, birth/marriage/death, go from becoming a state/city issued certificate to a privately held artifact. 

I have many of these certificates, some which I inherited, some I have ordered myself.   

In all cases I am questioning, I have the physical paper in my possession.  Does this automatically make it an artifact? 

Or if I’ve ordered them they are an artifact, and I inherited them they are a state/city issued certificate?

Thank You,

Debbie

debbiepelletier21
debbiepelletier21's picture

OOPS! I said that backward.  I meant if I've ordered them they are a state/city issued certificate, or if I inherited them they are an artifact?

EE
EE's picture

Debbie, if you inherited them, they are a family artifact. If you ordered them yourself and received them directly from an official agency, then you cite it to the agency.  The core issues—aside from the frequent impossibility of identifying the present location of an original document for which we inherited a copy—are those of provenance and authenticity. 

The Editor

Tami Mills
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I'm a newbie in the world of genealogy and citing sources for the documents that I find. I recently ordered Evidence Explained  in hopes that it will explain all of many of my questions regarding citation of sources. In the meantime, I do have a question regarding the birth certificate as an artifact. Would the department of public health, the state or the parent be the compiler when inputting the information into a template in my software program? Also, would the date the artifact was created be the date of filing, the date the certificate was issuedor the date of the birth?

EE
EE's picture

Hello, Tami. What a wonderful adventure you have ahead of you! You will make many rewarding discoveries and you'll hit more than a few road blocks. But you're obviously starting out right and the attention you giving to source identification will help you work your way through many resesarch challenges.

A birth certificate would not be attributed to a "compiler." That term denotes someone who brings together a variety of records and materials into a comprehensive new body of work--as when someone abstracts an entire set of deeds and "compiles" the abstracts into a new book; or when, say, the University of Virginia's Geophysical & Statistical Data Center brings together statistics from many census years into a single database.

Birth certificates have creators but it's not the parents who create them. The parent is just one of multiple individuals who provide data on the form. The creator is the agency that is charged by law with the creation of that record. For American birth certificates, that agency's identity (its identity at the time the record was created, although it may have undergone identity changes since then) is typically given in bold print at the top of the certificate. The date would be the date the document was created.

As for the date of filing and the date that your certificate was issued, these pieces of data will be part of the extract that you create in your research notes. They would not be part of your citation; but those details need to be captured in the same manner that you capture all other details from the document. Those dates are essential parts of your analysis as you evaluate the course of events that occurred in the process of creating this document, the provenance of the document, and the validity and timeliness of its information.

When EE arrives, its first two chapters (Fundamentals of Analysis and Fundamentals of Citation) should help to clarify these basic issuses for you. After that, when you consult EE for a particular type of record and identify the chapter that treats that record type, be sure to read the first few pages of that chapter for more-detailed guidance on that particular record type.

 

The Editor

thomasdjordan
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Hello: I am a new member to website. I did not see how to contact Ms. Mills. I am simply seeking the best way to get permission from her to. Mention her in my book and refer to her book "Evidence" in our bibliography. My email address is thomasdjordan@gmail.com.

Thomas D. Jordan

EE
EE's picture

Mr. Jordan, thanks for your caution and your respect for the principles of scholarship. Under copyright law and the fair use doctrine, we don't need someone's permission to cite their work or "mention" them. Nor do we need their permission to quote a small passage—a situation in which we would use quotation marks around that passage and attach a citation to the source. We need their permission only if we quote something more than a small bit from a longer work, more than an item or two from a list, etc.

You might be interested in this link to our QuickLesson 15 that deals with "Five 'Copywrongs' of Historical Writing." There, you'll find this passage:  

In [notetaking] we conscientiously follow both tenets of the Rule of Three: Any time we copy three or more words from a source, we place those words in quotation marks. If we foresee using more than three paragraphs from a lengthy source, we ask permission of the author.

Our QuickTips blog also covers that "Rule of Three" at https://www.evidenceexplained.com/quicktips/two-rules-three.

 

The Editor

Tami Mills
Tami Mills's picture

Thank you. My copy of Evidence Explained just arrived in the mail and I'm busy reading and hopefully will learn how to cite my sources properly.

EE
EE's picture

You're welcome!

The Editor