Saturday, May 21, 2016

But at Least We Know Who His Mother Is, Right?

Lest you think the Social Security Number application is the only frustrating document I've recently discovered for my great-grandfather, Steve Evans / Theodore Johnson, let me share with you another one.

Click Image to Enlarge. Snippet from first page of Steve's birth recording in Montgomery County Register of Births, 1913-1917. DOB April 15, 1913.

Click Image to Enlarge. Snippet from second page of Steve's birth recording in Montgomery County Register of Births, 1913-1917. DOB April 15, 1913.

This record actually predates the SSN one, both in terms of when it was created, and when I found it, and it was quite the happy discovery. See, this is my great-grandfather's entry in the Montgomery County Birth Register for April 1913. I found it on my first trip to Alabama, back in March, in the Montgomery County Probate Court's office. (Shout out to the super friendly and very helpful archivist and front desk staffer - they were both great!) If you waded through my series of posts trying to establish Steve / Theodore's identity, you know that I had been desperately hoping to find a birth certificate or other record of his birth. So, jackpot!


Who does it list as his mother? That doesn't say Laura Ann...

Close up of mother's name, age and race from Birth Register

Come on! His dad's name is what we would expect - Stephen Evens (sic) but now his mom's isn't! It appears to say Sarah Evens, and even the Sarah looks like there was some confusion when it was written down.

Now, I can pretty reasonably assume that this is a clerical or reporting error, as neither parent was the informant.

Millie Bedson, who reported Baby Steve's birth. She was probably a midwife.

We know from the 1910 Census and Steve (father)'s 1918 World War I Draft Registration Card that Steve is married to Laura Ann Evans. Since Steve (son)'s birth falls in 1913, meaning between these two other records, we can assume Steve (father) and Laura Ann are together at this time. Plus, Baby Steve is listed as their 7th child together, this is listed as the first marriage for both, and he is reported as a "legitimate" child, aka not born outside of wedlock.

Furthermore, this birth register gives "Sarah's" age as 30 years old, within two years of what Laura Ann would be according to her birth year of 1885 (estimated from her listing in the 1910 Census).

And while we do know of one actual Sarah Evans, she is the daughter of Steve and Laura Ann, and would have been about 10 years old when her brother Steve was born. There are other Sarah Evans in Montgomery County around this time, but they are not likely candidates, especially given all of the above.

So, I'm going to chalk this up to a reporting or clerical error, until and unless some future DNA test calls this conclusion into question.

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