Thursday, April 23, 2009

Uncle Richard’s Birth Certificate


List some vital signs. Talk about specific birth, marriage and death certificates. Topics may include misspelled names, fudged dates, other anomalies that stand out in your records.

Around 2003, I acquired the birth certificate of the youngest brother of my maternal grandmother from the Register of Deeds Office in Vance County, NC. I was concentrating on acquiring vital documents on my grandmother’s siblings during that year.

There were several interesting discoveries on Uncle Richard’s birth certificate.

  1. Name: Originally listed as Richard Rod Johnson, but name was changed or corrected on certificate on November 6, 1987 to “George Richard Johnson.” Our family always called him “Richard” or “Uncle Richard” in my case. Was the name “Richard Rod” written incorrectly or did he change his first name to “George” in honor of his deceased father whom he never knew? His father George Johnson died two months before his birth on February 28, 1932. Note: I need to ask my grandmother and Uncle Richard’s wife about this name discrepancy.

  2. Date of Birth: The date of birth is listed as “April 23, 1932” on this birth certificate. The certificate was filed in the Vance County, NC Register of Deeds office and signed by the Registrar, Mr. H. B. White, on April 26, 1932. However, Uncle Richard used “April 30, 1932” as indicated on his funeral program. I also asked one of his daughters about his birth date discrepancy and she said that her father was told by his mother that “April 30th” was his date of birth. Note: I need to ask Uncle Richard’s wife and his children about this birth date discrepancy.

  3. Midwife on birth certificate is named as “Luvenia Bullock.” I knew from oral history that my great grandmother Bell was living with her mother at the time of the birth of her youngest son. I also knew that her mother Luvenia was a midwife, but no one had ever mentioned that Grandma Luvenia delivered her grandson Richard.

Uncle Richard was 55 years old when his birth certificate was amended on November 6, 1987. Surely he would have noticed the date discrepancy on this document. I wonder how old he was when he first saw his birth certificate. Hopefully, I will find some answers about these discrepancies from Uncle Richard’s family.


Greta Koehl said...

It sure seems like some documents raise as many questions as they answer!

Lori E said...

I often wonder how much our ancestors celebrated their birthdays way back when.
I would put the most stock in the earliest date because they probably wouldn't have randomly come up with the birth of a baby a whole week earlier than when it happened. The doctor signed the document closest to the time when the birth took place.It is unlikely the doctor took a week to sign his paperwork.
Your Uncle actually had second hand information about his birth date as he was too young to remember.
About that name I would think that the addition of George is to replace the middle name of Rod as it is the one crossed out.
Like you say...maybe his family will have some answers for you.
Good luck