The rules of evidence applying for a Hillsborough County Century Families application follow and are the standards by which all evidence is judged. There are no exceptions.
The nature and extent of the evidence submitted with all applications shall be sufficient to prove that the applicant is directly descended from the ancestor(s) named in the application, and shall be sufficient to differentiate between any two persons of the same name who might be residing in the same area at the same time.
Documents used as evidence, either alone or in conjunction with other acceptable documents, must state the fact to be proved. Inferred evidence is not acceptable. All documents submitted must have a Document Number, preferably located in the upper right corner. This number must correspond to the fact(s) it proves on the application page(s) and to the description on the Inventory of Documents.
- Vital statistics, courthouse or other government records, and church records usually are considered excellent evidence documents. Other evidence such as Bible records, diaries or letters, censuses, newspaper clippings, county histories and family records contemporary to the facts reported are considered as corroborating evidence.
- Proof of military service can be found in enlistment, discharge, pension, Compiled Military Service Records, or other Federal, Confederate, or state government documents.
- An affidavit sworn to by an individual who was present at an event such as a birth, marriage, or death may be acceptable as proof if the person was of an age to be cognizant of the event at the time it occurred. The affidavit should be notarized or otherwise certified by a government official.
- Oral, written, or published family traditions may be in error and cannot be accepted as evidence.
- Printed or manuscript genealogies, genealogical records or compilations, family group sheets and charts, family reunion records and similar material are not considered evidence unless the document is contemporary with the information being proved and is supported by other evidence.
- Old letters or family records can be accepted as evidence for only the facts that the writer could logically know as contemporary knowledge. Identification of the writer and the document date is necessary as is a statement of the document’s provenance. Provenance is defined as the history of the ownership of a particular item.
- Unsupported information from an amateur or professional genealogist is not acceptable, including such records printed in genealogical, historical, or similar publications. Scholarly journal articles that are supported by citations to acceptable documentation may be acceptable.
- Published or manuscript material authored by the applicant or his family will not by itself be accepted as evidence but may be included with other qualifying evidence.
- A marriage license is not acceptable evidence for a marriage; it only proves intent. If no marriage return, certificate, or record exists, write the word Lic after the license date on the application.
- Pre-1880 censuses cannot be used as sole evidence of relationship since no relationships are stated in these records.
- Pre-1850 censuses cannot be used as sole evidence of residence for anyone other than the head of household.
- Land or real estate tax records are acceptable only if they specify that the individual was a resident of Hillsborough County and within its present boundaries.
- Photographs of tombstones are acceptable for evidence of birth and death dates and for relationships actually stated on the stone. Include the name and location of the cemetery in which the tombstone is found. Most published compilations of tombstone readings are acceptable. Tombstone photographs must be transcribed when they are difficult to read.
- Documents written or printed in a foreign language must be accompanied by a translation into English and the translation certified as a True Translation by the translator (a third party; not the applicant or his/her family member).
- Lineage applications, accepted or unaccepted, from other patriotic or hereditary societies are not considered evidence.
E-mail is not considered evidence.
- Information taken from Internet resources or electronic publications must be acceptable in its original form. The original source must be cited as well as the web page URL and date accessed. If taken from an electronic publication on CD or other media, bibliographic information for the electronic publication must accompany the original source citation.
DNA evidence and supporting documentation will be handled on an individual basis.
- Images of actual documents and records that are available on-line are acceptable but must include the citation for the original document if that information is not visible on the copy submitted.
- Transcriptions and abstractions from web sites such as HeritageQuest, Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage, and from many genealogical organization sites are considered acceptable evidence but must have the original source fully cited as well as the basic URL citation. Web site information will be judged on an individual basis by the HCCF committee as to the credibility of the data presented.
- The International Genealogical Index (IGI) may be used as a finding aid to original records. Every attempt must be made to obtain the original record rather than to use the IGI citation as evidence.
- Ancestral File (and similar undocumented genealogical databases) information is not acceptable.
- The Social Security Death Index (and similar documented and governmental indexes) may be acceptable.
- Examples of implied evidence which are not acceptable include:
- Court records that specify unnamed individuals as heirs or heirs-at-law are not proved by such records unless it is known that applicable laws at the time included only bloodline descendants. A document copy of the legal statue in effect at the time or a citation to a published reference, print or electronic, is requested to assist in the evaluation process.
- Bible entries whose dates pre-date the publication date of the book are not acceptable.
- A father is not proved as being in an area just because his child was born there. The birth only proves the mother and child were in that location on that date.
- Blood descent is not necessarily proved by owning the same land as an earlier owner of the same name.
- Census proximity does not prove relationship.