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Delayed Certificate of Birth

After reading my previous post about my father's Certificate of Birth and subsequent Amendment to Certificate of Birth 52 years later, a friend of mine made some very interesting points pertaining to the way birth records were recorded during the early and mid-1900s.

Jo Ann Kendrick Robinson wrote "Due to the infant mortality rate of the time, many families did not formally name newborns for a year or more. Since the birth records were to be reported by the hospitals, doctors, etc. as soon as the child was born there were many children who were reported with the first name of 'Baby'. My mother's original birth certificate was for Baby Byrd. When social security numbers and Medicare times came around many Americans were shocked to learn they had inadequate proof of birth. The state of Texas devised the 'Delayed' certificate. In order to get one you had to provide sworn statements from people who knew you were the Baby listed in the records. Older siblings, aunts, uncles, etc. -- all were escorted to the county clerks office to swear you were who you thought you were. Family bibles sometimes provided entirely new names. The census records are littered with name changes for individuals as the decades pass. Lots of them with no relationship to the names that are listed on the delayed certificates."

You see this kind of thing all the time when researching. Another friend's father who, along with his three brothers, had "Baby Boy" put on their certificates, had his amended when he went into the service in WWII. My mother and her twin's Certificates of Birth were the same way. Of course, neither of them were expected to live but a few hours. I knew about theirs, but was surprised when I found daddy's online, and just wondered about the reason that prompted the amended certificate. I need to go to the Erath County records and see if I can solve this mystery.

Leon F. Richards 1916 - 1985
Iwanda Richards 1915 - 1921 

My father was the second born of eleven children born to my grandparents, John Robert "Bob" and Willie Homsley Richards in Texas between the years 1915-1939. The first child was a little girl, Iwanda, born in 1915; but she died suddenly in 1921 at the age of six. I can imagine grandma and grandpa were devastated. My aunts say that she died in grandma's arms while she was rocking her after having suffered only a short while. 

Daddy was five years old when Iwanda died.

Richards, Leon Fremont and Richards, Iwanda, Digital Format 2005, Original owned by family of Leon Fremont Richards.  


Jim Richards said…
Hello! I recently caught the genealogy bug and stumbled across your blog. Thank you for all the time and effort researching the Richards and Sapp families. I find the articles just amazing.

I am Stratford Wade Hampton Richards' great-great-great-grandson. Our line follows his son Philip Wade Hampton Richards, to Hardon Gideon Richards. My grandfather was his son Alton Richards, who had a twin brother Afton. Their sister, my great-aunt Ima Dora Hale (Richards) was also a genealogy buff and she did quite a bit of her own research back in the 1990s. My father, Harvey Lynn received several framed pieces from 'Aunt Dode' including framed portraits going back to at least P.W.H. I'll have to take a closer look again at Thanksgiving.


James Alton Richards
Hello, Jim,

It is so good to hear from one of Stratford Wade Hampton's descendants! How wonderful to have access to the photos you mentioned. When I first started reaching out to the internet to add to my knowledge of the Richards and Sapp lines, I immediately came across your great-aunt, Ima Dora Hale's work. I also corresponded with Don Richards and Sharon Wilson, both descendants of Stratford Wade Hampton Richards. I would love to have you contact me at


Judith Richards Shubert
FindersUK said…
It is a good case study and would like to know more about such incidences. This will help in tracing relatives and kin and give satisfaction to family members.

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