Transcript of a NY town Register of Deaths


How do I cite a transcript from a NY town Register of Deaths? It was provided by the town Registrar of Vital Statistics. Since it is not a photocopy of the register itself, just a transcript, citing the register doesn't seem right, nor does citing it as a certificate, though it is dated and signed by the Registrar.

Based on the NY State index of deaths, there are probably a couple of errors (perhaps typos) in the transcript, but won't know for sure until Albany gets around to my request (still pending after almost two years!).




Submitted byEEon Thu, 01/20/2022 - 17:20


Have you seen the QuickCheck Model at p. 112 (3d ed. or 3d ed. rev.),  "Private Holdings: Personal Correspondence"? That QCM cites a translation of a record; in your case it would be a transcript of a record.

Submitted bygdcookeon Fri, 01/21/2022 - 13:12

Thanks. That will work. I had been leaning toward a model that put the emphasis on the locality/govt office. It just seems odd to put the emphasis on the govt official/author as the lead element. 

If I may, that QCM leads to a follow up question (which may deserve a separate topic): The "collection" field in the source list entry on 112 refers to "April Research Files," or on 111, "Bertrand-Lennon Family Archives." Over many years of research (and data entry), I've treated my files as a repository, and each "privately held" record gets it's own source list entry and a numbered folder among 9 very full file drawers. I'm not real happy with how it's working, and would like to better organize these records to identify and find them again, once they're filed. Do you have a good reference for creating/maintaining a family records archive? I'm not talking National Archives here, but something relatively simple that doesn't need a reference librarian to manage :-)



Submitted byEEon Sat, 01/22/2022 - 09:50

gdcooke, to clarify one point: We put the emphasis on what we actually have and use.  In brief:

  • If you had an image of the original, certified to be a full copy of the original, then your citation would identify it as such.
  • In this case, you do not have a copy of the original document created by the locality/govt office.  You have a transcript created by an individual, typically a staffer acting in the name of the elected official. The information in that transcript reflects the person's interpretation of what the original said. You also do not know that everything in the original was reported in that person's transcript. Many vital-records offices today will redact information from the original.