Monday, September 23, 2013

Delayed Birth Certificate: Viva Pickett

     Delayed birth certificates are needed when a birth was not registered at the time of birth. Birth records in Ohio were kept at the county level starting in 1867 although some counties started earlier.  Records were kept sporadically until state registration started in 1908.  
     Around the time of the birth of my grandmother, Viva Mabel Pickett Hugus, births were recorded in a ledger.  Part of the page showing her birth is shown below1.  Two things should stand out.  First, the entry shows quite different handwriting and ink  as well as a blank line before the entry. Secondly, how in 1887 when she was born, did people know her married name?

     Obviously, this was recorded much later.  The second image is shows when the entry was really recorded.  In 1940 two people who claimed to have known Viva and her parents at the time of her birth, came to court and testified when and where she was born.

     The result of the testimony was a birth certificate created in 1940. This explains why her married name was entered in the record.  Viva was 53 years old. She was already a grandmother.       
     So why did Viva need a birth certificate in 1940?   I think the answer is located in the packet of papers where I originally found the certificate.  Viva's husband worked for the railroad and this was found in his retirement records.  This was about the time when Social Security was created.   Railroad employees were eligible for the Railroad Retirement System instead of Social Security.   I imagine that Viva and Lloyd Hugus were getting their papers in order and proof of age was needed.
     The documents also gave us other information even though that wasn't the purpose of the document.  Viva's father's middle name is identified as Robert.  Other document that I have uncovered only use the 'R'.
     Of course we can't discover a document without coming across a new question.  Why didn't she have her middle name, Mabel, included in her birth record?  Her signature in the same packet of papers includes the 'M'.  Her nice handwriting probably came from the fact that she was an elementary school teacher.  Does anybody remember getting a grade in 'Penmanship'? 

1. "Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 Sep 2013), Viva Pickett, 1887 Delaware County, Ohio, Vol. 3, p 313

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