Chapter 11 Description of Person, Family, or Corporate Body

11.1 Dates of Existence (Required)

11.1.1 Record dates associated with the entity being described. Record dates in terms of the calendar preferred by the agency creating the data. Record dates in the following formats:

  • Record exact dates in [year] [month] [day] format.
  • Indicate a probable date by adding a question mark following the year.
  • If the year is uncertain but known to be either one of two years, record the date in the form [year] or [year].
  • If the year can only be approximated, record the date in the form approximately [year].

11.1.2 For a person, record his or her date of birth and/or date of death. Where exact dates are not known, record approximate dates.

1884 May 8 (date of birth)

1796? (date of birth)

1501 or 1507 (date of birth)

1826 July 4 (date of death)

approximately 1945 January (date of death)


1742 November 12-1802 December 27

11.1.3 For a person, if both the date of birth or date of death are unknown, record floruit (period of activity) dates. If specific years of activity cannot be established, record the century or centuries in which the person was active.

1841-1874 (active)

12th century (active)

11.1.4 For corporate bodies, record the date of establishment/foundation/enabling legislation and dissolution. If specific years cannot be established, record the century or centuries in which the corporation was active. If specific years cannot be established, record the century or centuries in which the corporation was active.

1970 (date of establishment)

1670? (date of establishment)

1842 (date of dissolution)

11.1.5 For corporate bodies such as a meeting or conference, record the year of the event. For events spanning multiple years, record in the form [year]–[year]. When necessary for disambiguation, record the exact date(s) of the event.



1978 November 13-15

11.1.6 For families, record significant dates associated with the family such as establishment dates or floruit dates. If specific years cannot be established, record the century or centuries in which the family was active.

1802 (date of establishment)

1945 (date of termination)

ninth century (end date of activity)

11.2 Historical Summary

11.2.1 Record in narrative form the main life events, activities, functions, achievements, and/or roles of the entity being described. This may include information on gender, nationality, family, and religious or political affiliations. Wherever possible, devise dates as an integral component of the narrative description. For additional guidelines and examples, see Element 2.7.

Hubert H. Humphrey was born in Wallace, South Dakota, on May 27, 1911. He left South Dakota to attend the University of Minnesota but returned to South Dakota to help manage his father’s drug store early in the Depression. He attended the Capitol College of Pharmacy in Denver, Colorado, and became a register pharmacist in 1933. On September 3, 1936, Humphrey married Muriel Fay Buck. He returned to the University of Minnesota and earned a B.A. degree in 1939. In 1940 he earned an M.A. in political science from Louisiana State University and returned to Minneapolis to teach and pursue further graduate study, but he began working for the W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration). He moved on from there to a series of positions with wartime agencies. In 1943, he ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Minneapolis and returned to teaching as a visiting professor at Macalester College in St. Paul. Between 1943 and 1945, Humphrey worked at a variety of jobs. In 1945, he was elected mayor of Minneapolis and served until 1948. In 1948, at the Democratic National Convention, he gained national attention when he delivered a stirring speech in favor of a strong civil rights plank in the party’s platform. In November 1948, Humphrey was elected to the United States Senate. He served as the Senate Democratic Whip from 1961 to 1964.

In 1964, at the Democratic National Convention, President Lyndon B. Johnson asked the convention to select Humphrey as the vice presidential nominee. The ticket was elected in November in a Democratic landslide. In 1968, Humphrey was the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, but he was defeated narrowly by Richard M. Nixon. After the defeat, Humphrey returned to Minnesota to teach at the University of Minnesota and Macalester College. He returned to the U.S. Senate in 1971, and he won reelection in 1976. He died on January 13, 1978, of cancer.

11.3 Places

11.3.1 Record the name of the place(s) or jurisdiction(s) associated with the entity being described. Record the place-name in the form prescribed in appropriate companion standards (such as RDA), or as provided in controlled vocabularies (such as the Library of Congress Name Authority File or the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names). Indicate by codes or by text the nature and covering dates (as described in rules 11.1.1–11.1.6) of the relationship with the entity, as appropriate.

370 bb $e Paris, France $s 1776 $t 1785


    <placeEntry>New York, N.Y.</placeEntry>



<fromDate standardDate=”1776-03”>1776 March</fromDate>

<toDate standardDate=”1776-08”>1776 August</toDate>



Baltimore, Md.

11.3.2 For persons, as appropriate, record the names of place of birth, place of death, associated country(ies), and place(s) of residence, where known.

Salt Lake City, Utah (place of birth)

Montpelier Station, Va. (place of death)

Brazil (associated country)

Juneau, Alaska (place of residence)

11.3.3 For families, as appropriate, record the name(s) of place(s) where a family resides or has resided or has some connection, where known.

Jamestown, Wash. (place of residence)

Sydney, N.S.W. (place of residence)

11.3.4 For corporate bodies, as appropriate, record names of place of incorporation, location of headquarters, location of conference, or name of jurisdiction, where known.

London, England (place of incorporation)

Washington County, Kan. (location of headquarters)

Vancouver, B.C. (place of conference)

United States (name of jurisdiction)

11.4 Legal Status

11.4.1 For corporate bodies, record the legal status and, where appropriate, the type of corporate body together with the covering dates when this status applied. Where possible, terms should be applied from a controlled vocabulary. Dates should be recorded as described in rules 11.1.4-11.1.5.

Public limited company (for Rolls-Royce Ltd.; term from Companies House registry)

11.5 Functions, Occupations, and Activities

11.5.1 Record the functions, occupations, and activities performed by the entity being described, with associated dates as useful. Where possible, terms should be applied from a controlled vocabulary. Dates should be recorded as described in rules 11.1.1–11.1.6.

11.5.2 For persons, record terms to describe the occupations or activities in which the entity has been engaged.

Artists (occupation; from Index terms for Occupations in Archival and Manuscript Collections)

Farmers’ spouses (occupation; from Register of Australian Archives and Manuscripts Occupation Thesaurus)

11.5.3 For corporate bodies, record terms to describe the functions performed by the entity.

Structural analysis (function; from Art & Architecture Thesaurus)

Zoning (function; from Art & Architecture Thesaurus)

11.6 Mandates/Source of Authority

11.6.1 For corporate bodies, record the title of any document, law, directive, or charter that acts as a source of authority for the powers, functions, and responsibilities of the entity being described, together with information on the jurisdiction(s) and covering dates when the mandate(s) applied or were changed. Where possible, titles should be applied from a controlled vocabulary. Dates should be recorded as described in rules 11.1.4–11.1.5.

United States. Aviation and Transportation Security Act (from Library of Congress Name Authority File)

United States. National Archives and Records Administration Act of 1984 (from Library of Congress Name Authority File)

11.7 Internal Structure/Genealogy

11.7.1 Record in narrative form the internal structure of the entity being described. Wherever possible, devise dates as an integral component of the narrative description.

11.7.2 For corporate bodies, record the internal and external administrative structure of the body, as well as the dates of any significant changes to that structure. Record the name(s) of any higher body(ies) having authority or control over the corporate body, or any corporate body(ies) over which it exercised authority or control, and describe the nature and any change of the authority or controlling relationship.

Until 1586, the internal structure of the Council of War was minimal. With the king as president, the Council was constituted of various councilors and a secretary, who was in turn on other councils, assisted by officers, clerks, and other subordinate staff. Beginning in 1554, an auditor was responsible for judicial matters, expanding the number of councilors, which ranged between five and ten. In 1586 the position of secretary of the Council of War was split into the Secretariat of Land and the Secretariat of Sea. The greater control of two areas of conflict caused the division of the Secretariat of Land in 1646 into two: the Secretariat of Land, Cataluña and the Secretariat of Land-Extremadura. After the coming of the Bourbon dynasty in the early eighteenth century, the secretariats underwent successive administrative reorganizations according to their new roles and were eventually merged in 1706. In 1717 the structure of the Council was reduced in term of the number of councilors, divided into military and judicial, the presidency fell to the Secretary of the War Office, and the secretary disappeared, with administrative activity processed by the clerk of the House. In 1773 this structure was again revised, with the presidency returning to its traditional association with the king and the number of councilors expanded to twenty, including ten ex officio and ten assistants divided between government and justice and again establishing the role of secretary. The staff also included two prosecutors, three reporters, a house clerk, lawyer, tax agent, solicitor, officers, clerks, bailiffs, and doormen. This structure remained practically stable until the abolition of the Council of War in 1834.

11.7.3 For families, describe family relationships so as to document the relationships between family members.

Sir Edward Noel (died 1643) married Julian, daughter and co-heir of Baptists Hicks (died 1629), Viscount Campden, and succeeded to the viscounty of Campden and a portion of his father-in-law’s estates. The third Viscount Campden (1612-1682) married Hester Wotton, daughter of the second Baron Wotton. The fourth Viscount Campden (1641-1689, created Earl of Gainsborough 1682) married Elizabeth Wriothesley, elder daughter of the fourth Earl of Southampton. Jane Noel (died 1811), sister of the fifth and sixth Earls of Gainsborough, married Gerard Anne Edwards of Welham Grove (Leicestershire) and had issue Gerard Noel Edwards (1759-1838). He married in 1780 Diana Middleton (1762-1823) suo jure Baroness Barham, daughter of Charles Middleton (1726-1813), created first Baronet of Barham Court (Kent) in 1781 and first Baron Barham in 1805. GN Edwards assumed the surname Noel in 1798 on inheriting the sixth Earl of Gainsborough’s Rutland and Gloucestershire estates (though not the earl’s honours, which were extinguished); and he later inherited his father-in-law’s baronetcy. His eldest son John Noel (1781-1866) succeeded to the estates of his mother and his father, to his mother’s barony and his father’s baronetcy, and was created Viscount Campden and Earl of Gainsborough in 1841.

Example Description of the Person, Family, or Corporate Body Area of an Archival Authority Record

Dates of Existence (11.1.2): 1742 November 12-1802 December 27

Historical Summary (11.2.1):

Thomas Cadell was born in Bristol on 12 November 1742 but spent most of his life in London. When Cadell was fifteen, his father sent him to be an apprentice to Andrew Millar (1707-1768), a well-regarded publisher and bookseller who had supported the publication of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary. After seven years, Cadell became a partner in the business and finally took it over when Millar retired in 1767. His clients and friends were among the most influential literary and intellectual figures of the eighteenth century and included Fanny Burney (1752-1840), Robert Burns (1759-1796), David Hume (1711-1776), Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Hannah More (1745-1833), Adam Smith (1723-1790), and Tobias Smollett (1721-1771). When Cadell retired in 1793, he gave his business to his son, Thomas Cadell (1773-1836) and his former assistant, William Davies (d. 1820). Before his death from an asthma attack in 1802, he enjoyed an active retirement, fulfilling many charitable and public positions, including governor of the Foundling Hospital and sheriff in the Walbrook ward of London.

Places (11.3.2):

Born: Bristol (England)

Lived: London (England)

Functions, Occupations, Activities (11.5.2):




Note that elements 11.4: Legal Status, 11.6: Mandates/Source of Authority, and 11.7: Internal Structure/Genealogy are not applicable in this example.

For an example archival authority record showing all five areas, see page 134–136 .