Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Source Citation for a California County Death Certificate

I found that I had not created a source citation for the death certificate for Elijah P. McKnew, my wife's great-grandfather, and I noticed that I had not yet created one for my Sample Source Citations list either, so I can kill two birds with one citation here.

Here is the death certificate for Elijah P. McKnew, who died 4 April 1912 in San Francisco, California:

In my RootsMagic 6 genealogy management program, I highlighted the Death event for Elijah McKnew, and clicked on the "Sources" button and then on the "Add new source" button on the "Select Source Type" screen.  I scrolled down to "death" source types and saw:

Since the death certificate I had was provided by the City and County of San Francisco, I selected the source template for "Death Certificate, local level."

I clicked that one and the "Edit Source" screen appeared and I filled in the "Master Source" and "Source Details" fields:

I named the source template so that I can find it again for Elijah's wife's death certificate source citation and any others I collect.  I also added the Quality measures, selecting Derivative Source, Primary Information, and Direct Evidence for the death date and location.  If I had used this source for the Birth date, I would select Secondary Information since the information was not provided near the time of that event.

The crafted source citation for this California County Death Certificate is:

Footnote: Elijah P. McKnew, death certificate Local Registered No. 2086 (died 4 April 1912, certificate obtained 15 May 2012), Department of Public Health, San Francisco City and County, California.

Short Footnote: Elijah P. McKnew, San Francisco, Calif. death certificate Local Registered No. 2086 (died 4 April 1912, certificate obtained 15 May 2012).

Bibliography: California. San Francisco City and County. Department of Public Health. Death Registrations.

I added the death date and the date that I obtained the certificate to the field for the Certificate number because I thought it was important.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Lisa Gorrell said...

I'm curious, Randy, why you called it a derivative source. This is an exact image of the original death certificate only printed on current paper with that "information not a valid document to establish identity" watermark. It was taken probably from microfilm at the county office but is exactly as would have been handed out to his surviving family members after he died.

Randy Seaver said...

Lisa, how do you know this information represents the first time it was reduced to writing? Is there a form that they used to record what the informant told them? I don't know, hence, it's Derivative to me.

You may be right at least for the death info - it may be the first time it was written down and what is on the 2014 certificate is identical to what is on the 1912 certificate form.