In an effort to get on top of my application, I finally found the time to contact the people in the Vital Records office in New Orleans. For your recollection, the death certs for both of my great-grandparents need to be amended. The birth dates for both of them are incorrect on the Louisiana death cert. Months back, they sent me the form to amend a birth/death certificate, but it was the wrong form and I’ve just done nothing since.
Well, this morning I called up the lovely people in New Orleans. The woman who helped me was also named Kathleen, so I was hoping for good things. And while she extremely nice and really wanted to help me, she couldn’t do anything for me. Since the death certificates are over 50 years old, they are stored in archives. And once a record goes to archives, the Department of Health Vital Records Division cannot do a thing. I would have to contact the people in archives.
So I picked up the phone and called Louisiana State Archives. They were not helpful. They weren’t even nice. According to the unnamed woman (she wouldn’t even tell me her name!), once a document is in archives, it is officially an historical document and she cannot make changes. There is no loophole. It is official… even if the data is wrong!
Here I am trying to correct their error. I’m trying to fix their account of ‘history.’ She would have nothing of it. I tried explaining that the Italians are very picky about their facts. They need everything to match–names, dates, the whole lot. The unnamed woman says to me, ‘I see it all the time. Documents don’t always match up. But it’s okay. You just gotta roll with it. Dates are quite commonly off by a couple of days or years.’ What?! That’s crazy talk.
So I said to her, ‘But if these dates are off, couldn’t it be seen as two different people? I mean, how many people do you know name Jim Landry or Chris Billeaud or John Smith, for that matter? They could all be born in and around the same time and you’d be willing to mix up their identities because the documents are there and you’re just gonna roll with it. How can you accept these inaccuracies when I want to help you fix them?’
She apologized for offering me no help and wished me luck on my journey to nowhere, as my problem cannot be fixed.
So, I now ask you,
Are you personal friends with anyone at the Italian Consulate? LA, Houston, New Orleans?? Do you have a friend who has a friend with a connection at the Italian Consulate? I need a connection. Preferably one that can convince the Italians to accept me and my flawed records.
In the mean time, I’m going to try and get an appointment with the Consulate General in Houston during my trip back in December. Last year, they were on holiday while I was in town and couldn’t meet with me. Hopefully this year, they decide to leave for vacation a bit later.
Current mood: Frustrated. Disappointed. Meh.