Why do I keep seeing a trend of different birth dates...

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DeFilippis78
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Why do I keep seeing a trend of different birth dates...

Postby DeFilippis78 » 14 Apr 2010, 15:45

I have gotten a few birth certificates from Italy on my ancestors. And all of them have a different date of birth then what they celebrated here in America. And I know I have the right person. Is there an explanation for this?

Alicia

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misbris
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Re: Why do I keep seeing a trend of different birth dates...

Postby misbris » 14 Apr 2010, 16:09

Yes,

Illiteracy, bureaucratic mistakes, bad memories, guesses by other family members, indifference. The date on the Italian birth certificates is the official one, anything from this country could be wrong.

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Re: Why do I keep seeing a trend of different birth dates...

Postby johnnyonthespot » 14 Apr 2010, 16:16

Different by a few days? Months? Years?

If a few days or weeks, my guess would be the difference between when the birth actually occurred vs when it was reported/registered to the comune officials /or/ the date of baptism.

Another important point is that most of our ancestors were illiterate when they arrived in the US, not only unable to speak/read/write english but also unable read/write italian. These people probably never had a written copy of their own birth certificate and had only oral history to tell them when they were born. When they entered the US, even if a clerk wrote their date of birth incorrectly, the immigrant often was unable to recognize the error.
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DeFilippis78
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Re: Why do I keep seeing a trend of different birth dates...

Postby DeFilippis78 » 14 Apr 2010, 16:28

On two relatives certificates its off by a few months. On another its off by 2 years compared to the date of birth on his death certificate. The one ancestor has a birth certificate of 1860 but on the death certificate it says he was born in 1862.

Alicia

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Re: Why do I keep seeing a trend of different birth dates...

Postby VaDeb » 14 Apr 2010, 20:32

Alicia

Death certs are not considered a primary source for proof of any event other than death. The information is only as reliable as the person providing it. Then the informant may face the same difficulties, as well as grief and feel a pressure from an official to provide information they may not be 100% certain about.

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DeFilippis78
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Re: Why do I keep seeing a trend of different birth dates...

Postby DeFilippis78 » 14 Apr 2010, 21:04

Debbie,

The issue is the death certificate and birth certificate have a different date of birth and Im seeing that as a potential problem with the consulate. I was told by a very miserable person in Trenton I can amend it. But I was thinking not to bring the death certificate at all and give it only if they specifically ask for it. After all, its obvious he is deceased being he was born in 1860. I shouldnt have to prove he died.What do you think?

Alicia

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Re: Why do I keep seeing a trend of different birth dates...

Postby VaDeb » 14 Apr 2010, 23:56

I have no help to offer regarding the consulate. I would remind them that the person named on the death cert was deceased and thus not able to offer the correct information. The informant, overcome with grief, provided the best recollection of a date, considering the circumstances.

I was just trying to point out how death certs are considered as far as primary or secondary sources by genealogists.

Dealing with the NJ state workers at vital records is such fun - NOT.

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DeFilippis78
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Re: Why do I keep seeing a trend of different birth dates...

Postby DeFilippis78 » 15 Apr 2010, 01:19

Thanks Debbie. They sure are a boat load of fun at vital records, lol!

Alicia

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Re: Why do I keep seeing a trend of different birth dates...

Postby Italysearcher » 15 Apr 2010, 21:28

Europeans record a date in alphabetical order (Day Month Year) In North America it is more common to write it Month Day Year. This would give you several months or days difference.
Older Italians often celebrated their Saint day rather than their birthday.
Also for many Italians the baptism date is more important than the actual birth date.
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Re: Why do I keep seeing a trend of different birth dates...

Postby tessy21 » 22 May 2010, 17:44

Alicia....the birth certificate you received may be one of a child born prior to your ancestor ...when that child died, they name a subsequent child with the same given name "to carry on the legacy"...when the person who searched the records for you may have just stopped at the first child birthdate.....I have researched one of my ancestors and have discovered that three infants were given the same name....two died prior to the birth of the true ancestor i was researching.....Tessy21

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Re: Why do I keep seeing a trend of different birth dates...

Postby oilman19 » 22 May 2010, 19:56

Hi Alicia,
All of the reasons given are very true. Unfortunately, most of my ancestors were illiterate and my journey has been very bumpy as a result.
As an example, my grandmother Antonia was preceded by another Antonia born 2 years earlier and subsequently died before my gm's birth. When she went to have her birth act transcribed for her matrimoni, the official transcribed the record of the earlier baby. Since neither she nor her relatives could read, it was not proofed. I am probably the 1st person to uncover the mistake that happened over 100 years ago. At any rate, if I qualified for dual citizenship, (which I don't) I presume I would face the same dilemma.
I hope the consulate is convinced you have the correct birth certificate. And, I agree, you shouldn't have to prove the truth of the informant on the death record. My gm's death record (in U.S.) doesn't even have her correct name (or birth date) because my gf was the informant. It drove me crazy. Fortunately, I am only using info for genealogy research.

Much luck at the consulate.

Jim
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Researching surnames Ianniello, Tamburrino, Mattora/Martora/Mattori & Scialla in Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Caserta, Campania.


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