Re: Importance Value of various Birth Sources

David De Maine

I also agree with John. The information on the certificate or printout is only as good as the information that was given to the informant. And that information may not have been right in the first place.

In the case of my paternal grandmother the information she gave to one of her sons prior to her dying about her previous marriages, date of birth and birth place were completely false.

Also her first marriage certificate was full of inconsistencies for both her and her husband. Mind you she had a lot to hide.

If you are able, you need to verify everything you can on all birth, marriage and death certificates from other sources.  However unfortunately this is not always practical.


David De Maine

On 04-Feb-20 8:39 PM, John Hanson wrote:

Whilst I will agree with Mike on the theory behind his list from having looked at so many certificates over the years there are pitfalls with all certificates


I remember helping at the FindMyPast stand at the last WDYTYA Live event and being asked by someone why her husbands entry in the 1939 register was not unlocked.
He had died in 1985 so there was no real reason that I could see other than the data from the certificate did not match the register
Then she suddenly said “Would it matter if I got his date of birth wrong on the death certifacte”!!
So I sent her to go and talk to the GRO about how to change it

I also remember when I went with my mum to register dad’s death in 2001 being asked about his place of birth
So I gave the address – was not what they wanted. They wanted the registration district
The one that it actually was did not appear on her list so had to talk the modern equivalent which could lead someone who didn’t know any better to the wrong person


Death certificate in fact often have more errors than most as the person who really knows the answers is the one who can’t answer them – the deceased

John Hanson - researching the Halstead/Holstead/Alstead names
Researcher, the Halsted Trust -
Research website -


From: <> On Behalf Of Mike Tate
Sent: 03 February 2020 23:30
Subject: Re: [family-historian] Importance Value of various Birth Sources


Whether a Marriage or Death certificate gives better information depends on a number of factors.

The following refers to the UK.

Many early Marriage Certificates simply say of Full Age which only tells you they are older than 21.

Whereas a Death Certificate or Burial record gives a specific Age at death.

Later Marriage Certificates do give the spouse’s Ages but no Place of Birth.

Whereas a Death Certificate gives an actual Date and Place of Birth.

So in my opinion a Death Certificate is usually better than a Marriage Certificate.

Also a Census record for a child usually gives an accurate Age and Place of Birth.

Regards, Mike Tate


From: <> On Behalf Of Victor Markham
Sent: 03 February 2020 18:46
Subject: Re: [family-historian] Importance Value of various Birth Sources


I would say any marriage certificate would be before death certificate. These would be more important than census details which you can think of as being supplementary to the certification.

This is the first message I have received via the new system and would say it is better than the old one


On 3 Feb 2020, at 18:25, "David.potter5 via Groups.Io" < target=_blank>> wrote:

Hi Forum.

I'm looking for advice on how to 'weight' birth sources in degree of importance. Of course not all will/may exist in my list below, and some will contain lesser info that others. But I'm looking for a recommendation on how to Rank the following types of Sources that support the Birth of an Individual.

I have one order of importance in mind: Birth Certifcate (if exists), Baptism, Death Certicate (if exists), Burial, Census - 1939, Marriage Certificate (if exists)

Can I have your views please.

Thank you

David Potter

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