Re: Importance Value of various Birth Sources

Mike Tate


Yes, date & place of birth on UK Death Certificates only started in 1969.

Yes, census records and all certificates are prone to errors.

But the younger the person the more likely the details will be accurate.

My list is not meant to be definitive, but simply that each Source document must be judged on its merit.

That is often governed by how contemporary the details are with respect to the event they describe.

So for example date & place of birth on a Death certificate may be erroneous (except for children) whereas the death details should be accurate.

Regards, Mike Tate


From: <> On Behalf Of Victor Markham
Sent: 04 February 2020 08:22
Subject: Re: [family-historian] Importance Value of various Birth Sources



Only the modern death certificates gave place of birth and date. Perhaps it started from the 1960's. I have just checked a 1969 certificate that gives date and place of birth

Those of the 1950's and earlier don't.

Marriage certificates are prone to errors. For example my fathers first marriage gave his father's Christian name as Thomas when it is George. His bride's father's name is Thomas

Like you say death certificate is more reliable than marriage certificate

I have come across census records as giving a different place of birth in different census years



On 03/02/2020 11:29 pm, Mike Tate wrote:

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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