Casefile Clues

19 March 2013

Originally Derivative--John Jacob's Date and Place of Birth

Civil War pension applications contain a wide variety of material. 

John Jacob Rothweiler made an affidavit in 1895 that appears in his mother's widow's pension application and provides information regarding his birth as taken from the family bible. John Jacob indicated that the family bible was in his possession at the time the affidavit was made.

Union Civil War Veteran's Pension, George Rothweiler (St. Louis, Missouri), Widow's Claim (Wilhelmina Rothweiler), 17 July 1890; obtained from the National Archives.

The actual bible record, if it were written contemporaneously to the birth of John Jacob, would provide primary information regarding that birth and would be an original source. Original sources can be incorrect even if they contain primary information.

This affidavit contains a transcription of that bible entry, presumably done by the scribe of this document from the bible directly, although it is possible that John Jacob brought in a piece of paper with the entry copied onto it for the writer to use in making the affidavit. This transcription of the bible entry would be a derivative source for that bible entry  because it was derived from the original source--the bible. There could be copying errors at any point in this process--or the copying could have been done entirely correctly. We don't know because were not present at the time the deposition was written.

The father would have had first hand knowledge of the information regarding his son's birth--assuming he was present at the time of the birth and not out of the area. 1861 would be a prime time for man to be away during the child's birth.

I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the digital image I have of John Jacob's deposition. I also have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the transcription. An analysis of how I obtained the document and how the information came to be in the document is always helpful in determining the perceived reliability of the information it contains.

The precise description of the place of birth is a nice detail as well. 
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Citation reminder: We are a strong believe in citing genealogical source material in the spirit of Evidence ExplainedHowever, we choose not to include properly formatted citations in these blog posts. There's always enough information in the post to create a citation and full citations are included in my how-to newsletter Casefile Clues.