Amending / Correcting / Changing Documents (My Experience)

Over 25 million Italians have emigrated between 1861 and 1960 with a migration boom between 1871 and 1915 when over 13,5 million emigrants left the country for European and overseas destinations.
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jschotz
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Amending / Correcting / Changing Documents (My Experience)

Postby jschotz » 04 Feb 2009, 02:29

Since my last post regarding name changes, I have had to take on a few more documents and a different approach to get things accomplished.

AMENDING / CORRECTING / CHANGING DOCUMENTS IN COURT

I have posted several questions on this forum over the years and now believe it is time to give back. If I am out-of-line with this posting I hope someone will politely let me know. Anyway, I am a detailed oriented person that lead me to hours and hours of combing forum after forum looking for information on the experiences and processes people went through to amend vital records. Amending vital records by court order isn’t like most civil lawsuits and most of the self-help information was geared for suing your landlord or looking for money owed to you. So, after going through such processes, I felt it would help to post this.

I have a nightmarish issue with documents. Nine documents total are with significant errors that require amending. My meeting with the consulate resulted in this long quest to fix the vital records of my ancestors, which is underway in earnest. I have vital records from all over the United States that need amending: Washington State, Texas, Delaware, Pennsylvania to name a few. I am NOT a lawyer, NOR is this legal advice. However, since I have completed this process in a few different states now without the assistance of a lawyer (honestly, I couldn’t even get one to give me the time of day on this issue anyway), I found it to be a detailed, but straightforward, process.


RESEARCH –
Always a critical initial step, it was vital to research, prepare, and understand the rules of the game. The Courts are governed by rules of civil procedure and are, for the most part, the same. Yet each state has their nuances, as well as each Court and judge. These rules lay out the procedure and process you go through, as well as how to serve papers or ask for permission from the Court. Some of the Court rules I used are:

Washington State Superior Court
Delaware Court of Common Pleas
Texas District Courts
Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas

I also purchased a legal dictionary to become familiar with some of the terms I was reading within the Court Rules.

Once I knew where to file the paperwork (venue), I called the clerk of the Court (e.g. Prothonotary in Pennsylvania, Clerk of Superior Court in Washington State) that handles the paperwork and I asked for a copy of the “local Court rules.â€

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matta
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Re: Expreience Amending Vital Records 101

Postby matta » 04 Feb 2009, 03:55

I love you. :)

What would make me love you more is if you could post your PA documents for reference. Please...

Also, which state did you not have to visit? In PA they have that electronic system for the Orphans Court (at least in Philly). Did you do that one electronically or did you have to visit the court?

How bad were your discrepancies?

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jschotz
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Re: Amending Vital Records 101 (My Experience)

Postby jschotz » 04 Feb 2009, 16:02

I have attached the files I used in Pennsylvania to correct a Certificate of Marriage. The files are:

PA - Notice to Defend
PA - Petition
PA - Notice of Hearing
PA - [Proposed] Order

I have the following cases completed or pending:

PA - Birth (Adams County), Marriage (Luzerne County), Death (Adams County)

I chose Adams County since the rules allowed me to choose anywhere to file and Gettysburg was a nice quick drive from where I live. I had to go to Luzerne County to do the marriage as it was a document from that court and only that court could change their document.

DE - Marriage (New Castle County)
Same as above with Pennsylvania Court on marriage.

WA - Birth (Cowlitz County), Marriage (Spokane County), Death x2 (Spokane and Cowlitz County) but all filed in Thurston County

I could have consolidated them all in one batch, but I am doing this also for genealogical purposes so it was a good excuse to do more research and travel to see the family homes and graves.

TX - Death (Jasper County)

MD - Marriage (St Mary's County)

I had to visit all states except one case in Washington State. I was able to do that hearing by telephone (at my expense of course). In some Court Rules, there is the possibility to motion for hearing by telephone. So, if you comb through the rules, you may be able to do it. And...if nothing else, you can always motion the court and ask permission I suppose.

I know that many on here dealing with PA do Philly because it is electronic filing. But it really is just as easy to call the court and ask if you can file by fax and follow up with a posted original. Let me say that I have never come across a case where someone didn't have to go to court (or at least make arrangements to be heard by telephone). Electronic filing doesn't mean "trial by e-mail." So just keep that in mind. I suggest that if you review the court rules of a particular state and can file anywhere, file as close as you can to where you live and/or in a small tiny county. You move faster (less cases) and they are a little more accommodating to your lack of knowledge.

Again, I am not a lawyer...so this shouldn't be taken as legal advise, but just a blog of my experiences.

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Re: Amending Vital Records 101 (My Experience)

Postby qnana » 04 Feb 2009, 16:37

You are an extraordinarily patient, persistent and generous person!

I'm sending this to my son who finishes law school in May. He can learn from you (even tho' his field is Intellectual Properties).

Thank you for sharing and educating all of us.
qnana

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Re: Amending Vital Records 101 (My Experience)

Postby matta » 04 Feb 2009, 19:19

Wow, thanks! I'm sure I'll have many more questions when I really start to dig into this. My petition looked very different, so this is a good reference point before I submit it.

I think many people here file in Philly because that city has a large Italian population, or at least used to.

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Re: Amending Vital Records 101 (My Experience)

Postby JamesBianco » 04 Feb 2009, 19:43

Incredible! I admire your dedication. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

:D

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Re: Amending Vital Records 101 (My Experience)

Postby helpplease » 04 Feb 2009, 21:49

This could be a stupid question but I am just starting the process and well after some searching I found that my GGM changed her name on her
Natralization form from Francisca to Francis. I am using my GGF as my Italian ancestor so the only document that I will need to supply from my GGM would be her death certificate, if she is not being used in the Italian line will I still need to amend her name? Cheers Mike

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Re: Amending Vital Records 101 (My Experience)

Postby helpplease » 04 Feb 2009, 21:49

This could be a stupid question but I am just starting the process and well after some searching I found that my GGM changed her name on her
Natralization form from Francisca to Francis. I am using my GGF as my Italian ancestor so the only document that I will need to supply from my GGM would be her death certificate, if she is not being used in the Italian line will I still need to amend her name? Cheers Mike

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Re: Amending Vital Records 101 (My Experience)

Postby elba » 04 Feb 2009, 21:58

What an incredibly awesome piece of investigation, against what - I'm sure was ALL the odds. This subject has been a minefield for too long and for too many people.

To finally see such a clear and concise explanation of your experiences on the matter which, after all, was often caused by carelessness on the part of many clerks over a long period of time, is a real breath of fresh air that will assist many who find themselves in such a situation.

Thank you - you are a real star!

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If you think education is expensive - try ignorance!
"Gente di Mare Genealogy"

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Re: Amending Vital Records 101 (My Experience)

Postby mler » 04 Feb 2009, 23:02

helpplease wrote:This could be a stupid question but I am just starting the process and well after some searching I found that my GGM changed her name on her
Natralization form from Francisca to Francis. I am using my GGF as my Italian ancestor so the only document that I will need to supply from my GGM would be her death certificate, if she is not being used in the Italian line will I still need to amend her name? Cheers Mike


Probably not, Mike. Even if the name change is noted, it is an English translation of the Italian name.

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Re: Amending Vital Records 101 (My Experience)

Postby jschotz » 01 Apr 2009, 14:36

It's my pleasure to help. :)

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Re: Amending / Correcting / Changing Documents (My Experienc

Postby jschotz » 10 Aug 2009, 19:49

Well, for those who are interested in this saga, I am finally finished with the process. I have finished with all of the corrections I could in the process and even though there are a few errors left on the documents, the Italian line is consistent and hopefully will be viewed and approved in no time.

My appointment is in Phily on this week and I will be happy to post my experience there in a different thread.

I wanted to also update people as to the cost of this process. In the near future, I will post some excel spreadsheets documenting the cost of most cases I filed. But, the cost - all inclusive with travel - averaged between $400 to $1100 dollars for each case. However, as the cases progressed, some were much easier than others and some didn't require travel thus accounting for some low cost. So the cost swung widely. Hope this is helpful to those out there.

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Re: Amending / Correcting / Changing Documents (My Experienc

Postby corrado » 11 Aug 2009, 20:53

They should give you the citizenship just for effort! Let alone expense.

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Re: Amending / Correcting / Changing Documents (My Experienc

Postby corrado » 11 Aug 2009, 20:53

They should give you the citizenship just for effort! Let alone expense.

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Re: Amending / Correcting / Changing Documents (My Experienc

Postby Donald66 » 12 Aug 2009, 10:32

Did you call Philly or send a letter requesting an appointment?

I was advised to send a letter requesting an appointment, not sure if that was/is correct.


jschotz wrote:Well, for those who are interested in this saga, I am finally finished with the process. I have finished with all of the corrections I could in the process and even though there are a few errors left on the documents, the Italian line is consistent and hopefully will be viewed and approved in no time.

My appointment is in Phily on this week and I will be happy to post my experience there in a different thread.

I wanted to also update people as to the cost of this process. In the near future, I will post some excel spreadsheets documenting the cost of most cases I filed. But, the cost - all inclusive with travel - averaged between $400 to $1100 dollars for each case. However, as the cases progressed, some were much easier than others and some didn't require travel thus accounting for some low cost. So the cost swung widely. Hope this is helpful to those out there.


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