POMS Reference

GN 00307: Foreign Evidence

TN 31 (08-05)

A. Background

1. General

The civil recordkeeping system officially started in 1914 when the RCCs were required to turn over all their records (birth, baptism, marriage and death) to civil registry officials to serve as a basis for the new civil record system.

Failure to locate a civil record does not mean that a record does not exist, but that the:

  1. Request contained incorrect identifying information;

  2. Religious authorities failed to give up the record in 1914; or

  3. Civil authorities did not make a reasonable effort to locate the record.

By law, civil records are to be cross-referenced (i.e., birth records should contain marriage and death information). However, compliance and accuracy varies among registrars.

2. Island of Brava

From 1914-1942, the records' custodian was very careless. Thus, many records made then are incomplete or inaccurate. However, most of the irregularities were in marriage records.

When the Portuguese Government learned of the condition of these records, it issued a directive (Legislative Enactment No. 768) giving guidelines for corrections. Those made under this directive are entered in the “Special Book”; the original entry in the civil register was crossed out.

Certifications from this book show, for example, the source as “Special Book, Volume 2, Page 23, Entry 100.” The recordation is the date the record was entered in the Special Book.

3. Ponta do Sol on the Island of Santo Antao

The civil records were destroyed by fire prior to 1977—the exact date is not known.

NOTE: Records in the civil registries in the cities of Paul and Porto Novo on Santo Antao are as explained in GN 00307.400A.1.

B. Policy

Civil records are the best evidence of vital statistics events and must be obtained in all cases. Civil records must:

  • Be the complete text of the entry, and

  • Show the recordation date or a reference to the book in which the record appears (e.g., book for the year 1901-1905).

C. Procedure

1. General

Request the claimant to submit a Teor (a complete copy of the source record).

In all cases, get a certified statement from the civil registrar showing that a civil record does not exist before using secondary or a religious (see GN 00307.401) record to establish a factor of entitlement.

2. Evidence from the Island of Brava

Examine carefully for recordation dates and discrepancies with the other evidence in file.

If the document is from a “Special Book,” get a statement from the custodian of the record showing the:

  1. Nature of the correction in the original entry;

  2. Basis for the correction; and

  3. Date the original entry was made.

3. Evidence from Ponta do Sol, Santo Antao Island

a. Claimant States Event Occurred in this District Prior to 1977

Assume preferred evidence does not exist and develop for secondary evidence.

b. Claimant Submits Evidence From the Civil Registrar Which Was Recorded Prior to 1977

Refer the case to the Office of International Programs (OIP).