Tuesday, June 21, 2016

This story always makes me smile--a repeat

My dad wasn't the warm, fuzzy type, but when he died in 2002, the library of old family stories closed. This one he passed along--my grandmother who was the library of family stories before him, didn't like this story at all.

My father's name was Howard William, and most of my life I thought he'd been named for his maternal grandfather, William, but late in his life Dad told me he'd been named for William Howard Taft, who was president until 1913. Taft would have just recently left office when Dad was born (inauguration was March 4 in 1913 and Dad was born later that March), but maybe my grandparents didn't like Woodrow Wilson. The doctor forgot to register Dad's birth name at the county courthouse in 1913, so when he went to file for Social Security at age 65, Dad discovered his birth certificate said, "Baby Boy" instead of Howard William. But both of his parents were still living, and when the clerk asked if anyone could confirm it, he said, "My mother and father."  So the county accepted their affidavit that he was what he'd been called his whole life. He wouldn't even crack a smile when we called him, "Baby Boy."

Mom's story isn't as funny, but is an example of the problems with birth registries.  The Lee County, Illinois, there was a court house fire when she was a child, which destroyed her birth record.  She had to have her brother Leslie , who was 10 years older, provide an affidavit of her birth.

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