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September 7, 1907

Family Records—A Plea for the Systematic Preservation of Exact Data—Answers Desired.

JAMA. 1907;XLIX(10):866-867. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.02530100054016

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1504 Pine Street, Philadelphia, Aug. 23, 1907.

To the Editor:  —Historians are constantly hindered in their search for truth by the absence of exact records, especially as to the lives of individuals. Nowhere are these kept with completeness and exactitude. Even the courts of law, the county and municipal authorities, make only partial provision for the future in this particular. Even at the present enlightened time recourse is constantly had to the "family Bible," in which the custom prevails to place some account of births and deaths, which gives, at best, only names and ages, with possibly some fragmentary comments on acts. Clergymen do sometimes keep books containing registrations of marriages, births and baptisms, rendering a meager and irregular assistance.Old-time physicians were accustomed likewise to take account of some such data, also the more careful ones kept notes of illnesses. Not all physicians, even now, take careful notes of

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