My grandmother's birth certificate states her date of birth as December 21, 1914.

At the bottom there are two dates. One appears to be a filing date, and the other I am not sure I understand the meaning of.

How can there be dates on this record before her date of birth? What do these other dates mean?

Frances Marion Nottingham Certificate of Birth

  • 7
    I think the date is Dec 2. Look at the "I hereby certify..." near the bottom of the page.
    – shoover
    Jun 17, 2020 at 5:45
  • 1
    Look at the field numbered 4: "Twin, triplet, or other". It is checked. Was your grandmother a twin (perhaps the twin who survived)? Have you looked for the records for another child? That would give you another set of records to compare. Have you looked at the surrounding records?
    – Jan Murphy
    Jun 20, 2020 at 19:27
  • @JanMurphy no, not that I've ever heard of. So the realm of possibilities are she had a twin that died at birth, or the person filling out this form was checking the "other". Jun 21, 2020 at 16:15
  • I'd love to see the instructions for filling out the form. (Of course whenever we have those, we have to decide whether the clerk followed the instructions properly or not.)
    – Jan Murphy
    Jun 22, 2020 at 1:19

1 Answer 1


As commented by @shoover:

I think the date is Dec 2. Look at the "I hereby certify..." near the bottom of the page.

and if it is Dec 2 then, unlike Dec 21, that is before and not after the other two dates of Dec 14 and Dec 18.

The date you have read as Dec 21 appears to me like it could possibly be a 2 with a long upstroke at its end that just looks like a following 1.

  • 1
    Even more, a more legible 2 was written on top of it as a "correction".
    – nebulon42
    Jun 20, 2020 at 15:47
  • The original entry in Box 7 might possibly be a single 2 with a very long, inappropriately ascending tail, but that "tail" is very straight and has the angle appropriate to a separate digit 1. The clarification written above that entry is clearly two separate digits, 21. There is also a hard-to-interpret mark between the entries, at the very top of the "tail" which appears to be a dipping curve intersecting with the tail. In any case, I'd go with the Physician's date, which is clearly a single digit, and most likely a "2".
    – RobertShaw
    Jun 24, 2020 at 18:17

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