Citing an English Version of a German Birth Certificate

I am having trouble coming up with an appropriate citation for the english version of a german birth certificate. My grandmother, Katharina Faust, would have needed to have this translated and transcribed when she immigrated from Germany to America with her US Army husband. It appears to have been translated on 8 August 1963 in Marburg an der Lahn by an Ernst M Brugger with the Bavarian Translation Service aka Bayerischer Übersetzungsdienst for the cost of 1.00 Deutsche Mark. Are any of those details relevant to building a citation, or should I simply treat it as a standard family artifact birth certificate?

Submitted byEEon Sat, 07/04/2020 - 16:11

CaitlinHaggard, yes, what you are citing is now a family artifact. You have basically three things to identify: the artifact, its provenance, and its current whereabouts.

Chapter 3 ("Archives and Artifacts") will be your basic guide. Turn to 3.24, the start of "Privately Held Materials" and across the next several pages, you'll see the kind of data that is essential to record insofar as provenance and whereabouts.

Chapter 7 covers vital registrations of various types, beginning at 9.30. Read the background there, to get a better grasp of the types of records you're dealing with and the details that are essential to record. EE9.51 specifically covers German certificates and the elements that are essential.

In answer to your last question, the cost of the translation is an interesting historical aside but not essential to a citation. Unless you have an attached copy of the German certificate that you prefer to cite, then the document you are citing is not an actual birth certificate. Rather it is a document created by an outside entity and that entity should be identified, along with the basic elements that would enable someone else to locate the actual certificate.

It goes without saying that you are not going to find, anywhere, one model citation whose format you can follow for all the anomalies this document represents. You have an excellent example of how we have to analyze the document using the citation principles we have learned, and then work out the citation for ourselves.