As the deadline nears to submit my first attempt at professional certification (and I hope I only have to do it once, but with a 60% failure rate….), I am writing citations. And more citations. And still more citations. At this point, I think the portfolio has between 700 and 1000 citations. I’m actually starting to feel comfortable with them. While they’ve scared and intimidated me, I’ve always loved them. They show me the way to more information about the family and they protect me against those who question my research abilities (there are bullies everywhere).


As part of my project, I ended up viewing or ordering about 45 vital records. You’d think the citations would be easy to write – birth certificate, marriage certificate, death certificate. Nope. Some are photocopies of parts of a register that covers two pages and I hope the clerk got the correct line on the second page. Some are photocopies – love those, it’s like viewing the actual document. Some are where the clerk looks at the original and then makes it fit into a form – how do I describe that? Abstract? It’s not quite a transcription. How about a modern death but obviously not the original form? Why do I care? Because there are chances of errors depending on what type of document I received.

I mentioned above that with the death register, I questioned if the clerk got the right line from the second page. The death record had him buried in the wrong cemetery. Another clerk had to make a transcription using a modern form. She couldn’t figure out what the occupation was and photocopied that one word for me, but she could not copy the whole document. Turns out she was correct on the occupation, but maybe another clerk would have gotten it wrong or just left it out as illegible. And as I write, I’m looking at my father’s death certificate. Is it a transcription or a photocopy? I’m thinking it is a photocopy printed on security paper as the information is running into the decorative border of the right margin and some of the information is typewritten and some is handwritten by at least two different people.