You Never Know What You’ll Find If You Look Again!

I have learned this lesson more than once, and can still be surprised when I look again for a record I don’t have and – to my delight! – I discover what I have been doggedly searching for is now found.  The last time I made a focused search for my grandfather Lyle’s birth record was probably two years ago.  When Judy and I went to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in September 2015 I searched (before online and again while there looking at microfilms) for Lyle’s record with no success.

It just happened to me again, although truth be told I wasn’t even actually looking for the record.  I was adding some of my Denman family to the tree on Family Search for an English cousin to be able to see.  When I added my grandfather, Lyle Minor Denman, the rest of the tree was already there and I was connected to it.  As I looked at my grandfather and then his father’s information on this tree, I saw that my great grandfather, F.A. Denman, was listed on a record for Lyle’s birth.  (I had focused on F.A. because he has been listed on the tree as Frank A. or F.A. and the Frank always bothers me because I never heard that as a name for him.)

Seeing this listing of F.A.’s son’s birth, I looked on famlysearch.org for the birth records, using the full name of Lyle Minor Denman (not sure this made any difference).  It turns out that the collection of records and images (presumably including the indexing) was only updated in October, 2016, so a full year after I was there and after my searching.

What I discovered was that Lyle had applied to have his birth registered as a delayed registration, in 1942 although he was born in 1896, making him 46 years old at the time.  His older sister Helen whose birth is also nowhere to be found did not apparently ever apply for a delayed registration.  This makes some sense as she died in 1926 at age 31, so likely never had a need.

There are actually two different records, both of which now have images available, that show Lyle applied for and was granted the delayed birth registration, as of March 11, 1942.  Grandpa Lyle had to be examined in open court as to the facts, which were found to be supported by the affidavits of two credible witnesses.  With this done, his birth was duly ordered to be registered.  The information was sent to the Ohio Department of Health.

Aside from now having evidence of Lyle’s birth, the first thing of interest to me on these images was who the witnesses were.  One was indeed Lyle’s father F.A. Denman and the other was his aunt Nellie Minor Shelton (Lyle’s mother’s sister).  Since I’m pretty certain that F.A. Denman was present in the house for his birth (if not the room, and I don’t know about that), this seems like usable primary evidence.  I don’t know whether Nellie was present for the birth, but she was living nearby.

I am amused to see that both witnesses’ affidavits were notarized by one Doris Graves who just happened to be the younger daughter of F.A. Denman and thus also the niece of Nellie Shelton.  They were all living in Wakeman, Ohio so that was certainly convenient.

What remains to try to discover is just why Lyle went to the trouble of registering his birth at this time.  The first idea that comes to me is that the required “Old Man’s” or Fourth Registration for the Selective Service for World War II happened in April of 1942.  Would Lyle have needed to be sure his birth was registered in order to prove his age for that registration?   He apparently didn’t need to for the first World War which he registered for and then served in the Army for briefly.

The other thought I have had is that he was preparing to apply for a Social Security number (which went into effect in 1936 but he might not have been covered until later; depending on his employer and what his job was there were many exclusions).  The Social Security Death Index notes he applied in Ohio before 1951, so it seems that if I want to find out I will need to request his application (SS-5).  I’ll think about it.  In the meantime, my itch to have evidence for his birth has been satisfied.

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