Saturday, October 10, 2009

Just What Is It???

It has become apparent in my research, that county clerks were not always as accurate as what they were cracked up to be! For instance, names were often misspelled, or wrong dates placed on documents, that could affect a person's personal outcome in life.

Below I will discuss just two of such cases in my own family.

The first is the birth record for my Dad's sister, Rita [pronounced "Rye-tah"]. We all know that Rita was born on November 11, 1896. However, Rita's birth was recorded twice in the Monroe County Clerk's registry. And it would depend upon which book the current clerk looked in to confirm the name in which her name was spelled, neither of which is correct.

In this first record, recorded in the 1896 birth registry, page 231, dated 11 Nov. 1896, in Waiteville, WV to J.M. Bean, farmer, and Blanche Bean was born a daughter, R. TeRee Bean.

In the next, in the 1897 registry, but dated, Nov. 11, 1896, # 915, a female, born in Waiteville, WV to John M. Bean, farmer and Blanche Crosier Bean, delivered by Dr. D.C. Pharr, R.Terel Bean.

Rita actually spelled her name Rita Teree Bean.

The next, is a total misspelling, within the same family. Below is my uncle's birth record. The record is found in the 1899 birth registry for Monroe Co., WV, page 247, line 12. It lists the male child's name as Lauck W. Bean, born July 13, 1899 in Waiteville, WV to J.M. Bean, merchant and Blanche Bean.

The following record, however, was found for the same child listed as Bean, Male, born on 28 April 1899 in Waiteville, WV to Blanche U. Crosier Bean and John M. Bean, farmer and merchant, delivered by Dr. D.C. Pharr.

The correct date, at least by his social security record, was for 28 April 1899. And his correct name was Lama Wellington Bean.

All of the Bean children who reached adulthood, and there were 15 children total, changed the spelling of their last names to Beane. Although the names were never legally changed, all legal documents contain the spelling with the "e" on the end of Beane. Yes, that includes military records as well as social security records. [No one knows how they all slid by that way!]

My point of this exercise was to point out that individual records may have to be literally "searched" out. If I had gone looking for my Uncle Lama's birth record, just by sending in a request looking for such, I would have received notification back that no such record could be found. The same might have been done for my Aunt Rita's.

When researching your family's birth records, it always pays to make a trip to the repository where those records are found to look yourself. You can search through entire years of records, and perhaps find something a clerk would overlook. Such as in the two cases above.

A good researcher will be happy to tell you that all of the work cannot be performed on the Internet alone. It takes repositories of every kind to hold the records you are looking for. I don't downplay the excellence of ease the Internet has afforded us in getting our hands on many records that we might otherwise be unable to obtain, but you still won't find it all on the Internet.

Get out there into those musty, dusty file rooms of local county clerks offices, and uncover your family history today!

It's a trip you'll never regret!

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