Just because a record is “official” does not mean that every detail it contains is correct. A death certificate probably has the date of death and burial correct, but the date and place of birth could easily be incorrect. And there is always the chance that a death record has the wrong date of death or place of burial. An official record does not guarantee the information is accurate. Remember that in most records, the information is only as accurate as the informant and that in most records information submitted came from someone’s mind and was not verified with another source or official record.

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3 Responses

  1. Disclaimer: No insult intended, I am civil service, and yes, this is a generalization, but there are stereotypes for a reason…
    Keep in mind that these docs were probably completed by government clerks.

  2. I think it all depends on who provides the information. I’ve seen some death certificates that had wrong information. Usually, I’ve found, the informant was a son-in-law or daughter-in-law. They know about their spouse, but not necessarily everything about their spouse’s parents. I was going to say that sons-in-law often don’t know their mother-in-laws maiden name, but that would be sexist, wouldn’t it.

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