The Case of the Missing Birth Certificate

Records are funny things. There are many caveats we must keep in mind when requesting and searching for birth certificates. My grandmother Carrie requested her birth certificate some time after she married my grandfather. Well that did not go well. She ended up having to provide sworn affidavits by people who were knowledgeable about her birth. Among my grandparents papers I found a copy of just such an affidavit.

It was sometime later I requested her birth certificate and it was NOT FOUND. I later discovered why it had not been found originally. I suspect it is not entered in the INDEX. Now that the records are online a search for any variation of the father’s name in the index yields “NO RESULTS FOUND.”

However even though it comes up with no results if you search manually by year you can find this:

An odd result. Who is J Iney? We are looking for a Carrie Henager born in 27 September 1893 daughter of John L. Henager and Lucy Jane Franklin. This child has no name.

The original Birth Certificate

So although she does not have a name on this birth certificate and although spelled properly the record does not show up in the index. Father’s name is correct as John L. Henager and mother’s name is right but incomplete and transcribed incorrectly. The index lists her as “J Iney” but this reads Lucy J which is correct but does not give her full maiden name. Her full maiden name is Lucy Jane Franklin.

What is the moral of this story? Records are funny things.

  • If you know a thing should exist try, try again.
  • Do not rely on indexes alone.
  • Always try to review the original record.

Kelly Wheaton Copyright 2021. All Rights Reserved

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