Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Leon's Birth and Amendment ~ 1916 and 1972

Our daddy was born on this day 97 years ago. His mother and dad, Bob and Willie, obviously weren't ready with a name, since the birth record found on FamilySearch recorded none.

Knowing that August 26, 1916 was my father's birthday, and that his parents were John Robert Richards and Willie Laura Homsley, AND that he was born in Peaster, Texas, it was not a stretch to believe that this digital file found on FamilySearch is indeed a copy of his Certificate of Birth from the Texas State Board of Health. It gives us only a few more pieces of information: the child was a white, legitimate, male American child; a J. A. Williams, M. D., of Peaster, Texas reported the birth and possibly delivered him; the father was a farmer; and the certificate was numbered 33682. Aside from that, there isn't any other new information here.

But then I ran across this piece of information that none of us children can figure out ~ a case of "why didn't we talk to them more when they were still alive?"

Remember that Birth Certificate that did not list daddy's name? I was so glad when I located this Amendment to Certificate of Birth. I thought, Well, of course, grandma and grandpa finally got around to going to the Parker County courthouse and making daddy's name official.

But then, I did a double take ~ What! Why would grandpa have waited until daddy was 52 years old to sign an affidavit stating that his son's name was Leon Freemont Richards? Not until August 29, 1972 was it entered into the County Clerk's office of Erath County, Texas, where they both were living at the time.

I have tried to think of why it might have been necessary for daddy to have a birth certificate at the age of 52 years: was this close to the time he got divorced, was this near the time he remarried, was it time to file for Social Security benefits, was this when he went to work for Tarleton University, did he need it for insurance purposes or a land transfer or some other unknown reason to us? Most of these reasons do not seem to "fit".

If any of you have a suggestion or if you know, I would love to have you contact me. I'm sure it is a very simple thing. It just surprised us.

Leon Fremont Richards
April 4, 1964

Happy 97th Birthday, daddy!


Private Collection of Judith Richards Shubert, Digital Format

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mary M. Childers Smith

Happy Birthday to my step-great-grandmother, 
Mary M. Childers,
who would have been 116 today!

Born on 25 August 1897 she was the
Mother of Cleo, Mildred and Paul Smith.

Married to Murray Cord Smith, of DeWitt, Arkansas,
a Methodist minister.

A quick look at FamilySearch.org this morning turned up this beautiful digital page in the Arkansas County, Arkansas, marriage license ledger. On page 250 is recorded the Bond for Marriage License and the Marriage License and Certificate of Marriage.

Murray, was 24 years old, but Mary was only a very young 18 at the time they married on 9 April 1916.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Skeleton Swing

Photo by Amy V. Miller

A year and a half has gone by;
Now the swing is gone,
As are the stepping stones and I.
Hot rain has replaced the frigid air;
Here in Caroline I remember the skeleton swing
Waiting for new swingers which never came.


Photo Source: Flickr AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Amy V. Miller

Homsley Reunion, Seymour, Texas

Homsley Reunion, Seymour, Texas
Copyright (c) 2015 by Judith Richards Shubert