I have an individual recorded as having been born aboard a ship while travelling from Norway to the United States. As far as location goes what is the correct way to document this birth?
Among my immigrant ancestors, I have two instances where the date on which the birth was officially registered (after arrival) appears to conflict with the asserted date of the event.
To explain the difference I have a copy of the passenger list to which the infant's name has been added (with the contemporaneous annotation "Born on voyage dd/mm/yy"). The event was sufficiently common on voyages from Europe to Australia for a standard practice to develop. This often included giving the new-born the name of the ship.
If you can gain access to extracts from the ship's log, you can narrow down the location of the birth in a way that adds colour to your family history. In the nineteenth century, when a ship arrived Australian newspapers commonly published a summary of the major events of its passage.
Brings new meaning to a "water birth."
For most questions, "How should I document ...?" there is more than one consideration.
- Record the source(s) of the information about the birth. This might be a birth record, a delayed birth record, census record, death record, etc. As part of recording the source, I keep a note of the specific specific information that was provided by each source (as it was there provided); this might include the name of the ship, port of departure and arrival, etc., all depending on what the source actually reported.
- Record the event based on your understanding of the details. I would probably record the place name as "at sea"; if I had the name of the ship, I would likely report that as a location detail.
There may be other considerations/modifications that are software specific. Among these you might review the structure of the birth sentence, especially the for the prepositions, "in" or "at," that would appear before the place name and/or location detail.