Is a Baby Book a Reliable Source?

I have my Mother’s original “baby book” from her birth in 1942. The handwriting certainly appears to be that of my grandmother. But the handwriting of a seventeen-year-old can certainly vary from that of someone much older and my memory of Grandma’s handwriting does not stem from when she was seventeen.

But Grandma would have known when her daughter was born. Assuming that the baby book I have is the original baby book and not some fake version thereof (highly doubtful), I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of information contained in that book. Grandma would have been the most reliable informant in regards to when my mother was born and the book appears to have been written in over time as the ink color varies and the handwriting, while clearly the same person, does vary just a little bit as well. That’s probably normal given the probability that the writing surface on which the book was placed may have varied among the entries and different writing utensils may have been used.

There’s no reason for me to doubt the accuracy of the information.

Would the baby book have been sufficient for my Mother to get a passport? No. Am I considering it a reliable source for her date and place of birth (both of which are stated in the book)? Yes.

Should I still get a copy of her birth certificate? Yes.

Fortunately, where the baby book and birth certificate contain statements of facts, the details are the same. They are consistent. There would be a problem if they differed in the details.

But unofficial records can be accurate. We just have to have information on which to base our judgement regarding that accuracy.


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