When I was home last week, I had some time to kill, so I spent an hour or so in the Wayne County Register of Deeds office, flipping through Delayed Birth registers. North Carolina did not mandate vital records until 1913, but people born before that year could obtain a “delayed” certificate if they could provide certain proof of their birthdate.
What struck me:
- Certificate after certificate relied upon an entry in a family Bible to substantiate a birth date. Where have all these Good Books gone??? Who’s got them now?
- The evidence of family midwives. For example, Major Wesley Budd’s delayed birth certificate cites my great-great-great-grandmother Margaret Henderson as the midwife for his 1905 birth; my great-great-grandmother Vicey Aldridge delivered her brother-in-law Joseph Aldridge‘s daughter Mary Eliza in 1906; and Frances Aldridge (which one?) delivered Joseph’s son William B. Aldridge in 1911.
- My great-grandfather’s sister Catherine Aldridge Davis obtained two delayed birth certificates. The first, issued 10 February 1943, was based on affidavits from her sister Lenora Henderson and a family friend named W.N. Anderson. (She was described as “colored” in this document.) The second, issued 30 November 1943, was based on the affidavits of her sisters Frances Newsome and Lenora Henderson and of a New York Justice of the Peace who swore that he had examined her family Bible. (In that one, she was described as “American Indian.”)
- Mathew Aldridge‘s daughter Mamie Jael‘s delayed birth certificate was issued on the basis of affidavits provided by her cousins, Mary J. Simmons and Annie B. Hogans. (This isn’t Annie B. Watson Hogans, mother of Daniel Simmons‘ wife, Annie Irene Hogans — she died in 1906.) How were Hogans and Simmons related to Mamie Aldridge? And why is Mathew’s middle name listed as Augusta, when every other reference I’ve seen shows middle initial W.?
- Further evidence of the sway of my great-grandfather Thomas Aldrich over his siblings — his sister Christena Lenora used his preferred alternate name spelling rather than “Aldridge” when she applied for a delayed birth certificate. Nora offered as evidence the license for her marriage to Henry Henderson and affidavits from her brother Johnnie and cousin A.J. Carter. Who was A.J. Carter??