Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Genealogical Nightmare

 A quote from a news article entitled, 'Maria' case raises fears of booming baby fraud, caught my eye as a serious genealogical nightmare. Here is the quote. See if you can guess why I think this is a nightmare for genealogists:
The Gypsy camp suspects, Eleftheria Dimopoulou, 40, and Christos Salis, 39, received more than 2,500 euros ($3,420) in monthly welfare payments after declaring they had 14 children, eight of whom are unaccounted for and presumed not to exist, authorities said. They were jailed on charges of abduction and document fraud.
In another report of the story, it is claimed:
A Supreme Court prosecutor ordered a review of thousands of birth certificates issued after Jan. 1, 2008, amid growing criticism that the country's birth registration system is wide open to abuse.
Anyone in the genealogical community should shudder at the thought that government birth certificates might end up being fraudulent. How accurate are U.S. Certificates? Do we have similar problems that just have not yet surfaced? Another comment from the second story is worrisome:
Up until five months ago, there was no central national registry, so births declared in different municipalities were not cross-checked.
Who "cross-checks" U.S. birth certificates? Aren't we open to the same type of fraud here in the United States? A careful researcher would not rely on a single document as conclusive evidence of the members of any ancestral family. Food for thought.


  1. James, as an adoptee, I can tell you about the issues around US birth certificates. Most of us adopted in the "Baby Scoop Era" have "amended" certificates, which have been altered to indicate that our adoptive parents basically gave birth to us. Many of them have had the actual place or DATE of birth CHANGED (to keep the birthmother from ever finding the child) and so forth. It's truly a mess. I'd sooner believe the wills of my ancestors, recorded in musty, dusty courthouses back in VA or GA than the birth certificates of many of my peers. :-( What troubled me about this story (several things did, but pertaining to genealogy) is that the only reason this child was "rescued" was because she doesn't resemble her Gypsy "parents". Think of how many kids are adopted from other countries, and definitely don't look like their adoptive parents. Is someone going to come along and do a DNA test for them? (As an adoptee, I nearly jumped up and said, YES PLEASE!)...I just found your blog while looking for my own Tanner family tree (not yours, however)--mine was DAHNER/DANNER/TANNER from Germany, early 1700s PA to NC. Cheers!

    1. I certainly agree. There is a problem but I wonder if it extends further than just to adoptions?

  2. I am in my 50's and always had an unofficial birth certificate that the hospitals issued. I ordered an official one not too long ago and found out that the birth month was incorrect. How does one get this corrected?

    1. That depends entirely on the jurisdiction, that is, the governmental entity that issues the birth certificate. We had that problem and had to pay for a new corrected death certificate.