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Fact Check-Video of search for birth records does not prove Uvalde school shooting was faked

A video of a person searching two websites, Ancestry and Find a Grave, in vain for the birth records of the Uvalde shooting victims does not prove false claims that the shooting was faked.

The eight-minute clip was posted to BitChute (here) with the headline: “No birth records for any of the Uvalde massacre child victims – connect the dots!” It has also been viewed hundreds of times on Facebook (here).

A total of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, were killed on May 24 after a gunman entered the school and started shooting (here).

Reuters Fact Check has since debunked multiple threads of misinformation in relation to the incident, seen here , here , here and here.

In the BitChute video, a person suggests the entire shooting was staged due to being unable to find “any birth records” for any of the youngest victims in a search on “Ancestry” and “Find a Grave”, a subsidiary of the former (www.findagrave.com/).

Similar posts can be seen on social media (here), (here), (here) and (here) and on websites (bit.ly/3A2op0C), (bit.ly/3u58Mlo) and (here).

The absence of public birth records on the Ancestry and Find a Grave websites, both of which are private organizations, does not mean the Uvalde shooting was faked.

A spokesperson for Ancestry told Reuters that the website does not currently provide birth records for 2011 and 2012, the years in which many of the Uvalde victims were born.

They said: “Due to privacy laws, the most recent birth indexes we have from the state of Texas are from 1997, meaning those people would be around 25 years old. Anyone younger, born in the state of Texas, would not be in the records.”

When asked why some Ancestry search results show listings for individuals born after 1997, the spokesperson added that this would be a listing added manually to a family tree – but is not an official birth record.

Such a result was found for 10-year-old Makenna Elrod, one of the Uvalde victims (here).

“What you have here is a person that someone has added to their family tree. It is not a birth record,” the Ancestry spokesperson told Reuters.

“You can see this because this member has made their family tree public and the person in the tree is deceased – we do not allow living people to be discoverable in family trees on Ancestry.”

Reuters also found multiple errors in the search queries made in the Bitchute video.

Firstly, the individual in the video falsely claimed that a search for Elrod produced zero results.

Secondly, the individual claimed that search results revealed another 10-year-old victim, Mailte Yuliana Rodriguez, died as an infant in 2012 (here). However, the search result in fact shows a record for a person with a different middle name, Maite V Rodriguez.

Reuters has published extensive coverage of the Uvalde massacre, including on the funerals for some of the victims (here). Similar reports from other outlets can also be found here , here and here.

VERDICT

False. A video of someone searching on “Ancestry” and “Find a Grave” for birth records does not prove that the Uvalde shooting was fake. The shooting, along with the funerals for the victims, have been extensively covered.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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