Author Topic: Births, Deaths and Marriages Historical Record Dates  (Read 419 times)

Offline TwiggyTree

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Births, Deaths and Marriages Historical Record Dates
« on: Thursday 16 February 12 21:19 GMT (UK) »
In case this helps one other person I would like to share what someone showed me about using the Births, Deaths and Marriages Historical Records (BDMHR) website to get exact dates.

The process is officially called Interpolation but that's not really important!

Interpolation means starting at two 'outside' dates and then narrowing the dates, first to find the year then the month, and day until you have the exact event date.

Here is a step-by-step example:

A fellow researcher came across this birth entry:

1934/23471   Boyle   Campbell   Sarah Agnes   Alexander

[Which could be confusing, as of writing this is only 2012 and the BDMH policy is that births are not published that are less that 100 years old.]

Say that in the "Search from date" field there was 1/1/1880 and the "Search to date" is 1/1/1940

We can first start to adjust the year on either date to bring them closer and closer together.  In this case let's play with the "Search to date". 

[As an extra help, copy and paste the registration number "1934/23471" into the bottom field as well - that way if you started with several people in your search results you will now only be looking at the one you want each time you press the 'submit' button instead of wading through a whole list.]

What if we use 1/1/1930 for the "Search to date"?  Campbell is still there!

Then 1/1/1920?  Yes there he is.

1/1/1910?  You guessed it.

1/1/1900?  He hasn't disappeared.

1/1/1890?  Oh no, he's gone.

So this means, to start with, that he was born in the decade between 1890 and 1900.

Knowing that, enter 1/1/1890 into the "Search FROM date" and 1/1/1900 into the "Search TO date" - he pops up again.  Phew!

Can you see now how you can gradually adjust the FROM and TO dates to check each of the years in between 1890 and 1900, until you get the correct year.

In Campbell's case we end up with narrowing his birth down to somewhere between 1/1/1896 and 1/1/1897.

Ok so narrow the MONTH part of the date down, and then the DAY; and voila you will have the exact date of the event.

Yes it does take some time but it can be oh so worth it!

Seasoned researchers will say that seeing as the current year is 2012 that we could have jumped straight to putting 1912 in the "Search to date" which is totally correct, but for the purposes of trying to keep this tutorial simple I left out that bit.  Personally I also tend instead of trying year by year, or month by month, halving the time periods, or searching quarters of years and seeing if the person disappears - narrowing my searches that way.  We all develop our little preferences.  :)

Note 1 this may not work prior to 1875 when many births & deaths only had a year recorded.
So if you get 31/12/YYYY be a bit wary.  ;)

Note 2 Many deaths due to war had the 'Age at Death' stated as 'NR' (not recorded).  It would be worth checking for a miltary record on Cenotaph, Archives NZ, or CWGC to verify this and see what extra information may be out there for your John or Jane Doe.

Archives NZ

BDM inform me that "All WW1 deaths are registered in 1918 and all WW2 deaths in 1945" and reference this page:

Note 3 Here is a timeline of events pertaining to Births, Deaths and Marriages
...out of, through, and back from New Zealand to the ends of the Earth


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