The seventh in a series of posts revealing the fallability of records, even “official” ones.
How does this even happen?
This is Minnie Simmons Budd‘s death certificate:
Difficult to read, but here are the pertinent details: Born 7 May 1892 (actually, some years before, but okay); in Dudley NC (check!); to Hillary Simmons (check!); and Ludie Henderson — SCREEEEEECH!
My grandmother spent considerable time with Minnie, who wanted to adopt her after her mother Bessie died. (Minnie’s two children, boys, did not survive childhood.) Bessie‘s mother was Loudie (or Ludie) Henderson. Minnie’s mother, on the other hand, was Loudie’s much older sister Ann Elizabeth Henderson.
Could I be mistaken? (“I” really meaning my grandmother.) Was Minnie some sort of secret love child of Loudie Henderson and her sister’s husband Hillary? And, if so, why would Minnie’s husband Jesse Budd blow up this fallacy in her death certificate? (Jesse was also from Dudley and presumably not only knew his mother-in-law’s name, but knew her personally in his youth.)
The answer, with as much certainty as I can muster absent DNA tests, is no. The biggest stumbling block to Loudie-as-Minnie’s mother is Minnie’s birth year. As noted above, Minnie was not actually born in 1892. The 1900 and 1910 censuses would be most helpful for pinpointing her age, but I can’t find her in either. Still, she married Jesse Budd in 1904 and most certainly was not a 12 year-old bride. In fact, their license lists her age as 17 (and her mother as Annie Simmons.) That would push her birth year back to 1887. The 1920 census yields 1884. Whether 1884 or 1887 or between, Loudie is unlikely to have been Minnie’s mother as Loudie was not born until 1874.
As ever with misinformation enshrined in vital records, there is no ready explanation for Jesse’s provision of Loudie’s name as Minnie’s mother. The confusion occasioned by grief is as good a guess as any. Moreover, Jesse was an elderly man himself and would live just six more years after his wife’s death.