05 July 2013

Citing a Copy of a Copy

One of the items used in the latest issue of Casefile Clues was a copy of a deed that was used as an exhibit in a court case from 1924. The deed was one of several brought in as evidence as they helped in determining ownership to a farm whose owner was deceased. I decided that I really did not need to obtain a copy of the actual deed from the land records.

Why Not?

One reason is that a person has to simply draw the line somewhere when obtaining additional records takes time and costs money. The second is "how necessary is it to get the original?" in the context of the research problem. I was using the court case to determine relationship and establish residences of descendants as of the date of the case. The original deed was not going to assist with that. The content of the deed was not debated during the court case and all parties agreed as to its content. I decided that the record copy of the deed (which was what was in the deed book) had a minimal chance of providing any "new" information and that the record copy was likely a typed transcription of the original deed anyway.

But How to Cite It?

That was a slight problem, but really not a difficult one. I could not cite the original deed--I don't have it.I could not cite the record copy from the Adams County Recorder's Office--I don't have that either. What I do have is the copy that was an exhibit in a court case--so that's what I cite:
Adams County, Illinois, Circuit Court Files, Case 5228 (1924), Bertha Janssen, et al. v. Bernhard Dirks, et al., “Exhibit B” Quit claim deed from Anke T. Dirks to Heipke Dirks; County Clerk’s Office, Quincy; FHL microfilm 1,904,526.

Not really very difficult.

The good stuff was the rest of the court case and that's what we discussed in the issue of Casefile Clues in which this document was included.

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