Since I began researching my family history, I've been looking for birth records for my paternal grandparents. They were born in the 1890s, before vital records were required to be kept. Yet later in life they would need to present proof of birth in order to collect Social Security. What I discovered in the safe were letters written by both of my Roos grandparents. They were attempting to obtain acceptable proofs of their births for Social Security purposes.
My original research objective was to obtain an original copy of their birth records. The question wasn't so much one of when and where they were born, I wanted an original birth record to back up the information I already had.
Using my grandfather, Richard Roos, as an example, the research process I’ve been through for the past 15+ years looks something like this:
Numerous sources indicate Richard was born 7 August 1895 in Los Angeles, California. Here is a sampling:
- World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.
- Roos family Bible lists Richard’s DOB as 7 August 1895.
- Application for Equalized Compensation-State of Washington [WWI Veteran’s Bonus]. This document is in Richard’s handwriting.
- Richard’s death certificate (his wife, my grandmother, was the informant).
Research Steps Taken:
- Wrote to Los Angeles County Recorder, in 1994, requesting copy of Richard's birth certificate. Result: Issued a “Certificate of Search” stating they searched from January 1895 to December 1895 and were unable to locate a birth certificate.
- Wrote to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1994 and again several years later, requesting a copy of Richard's baptism. Result: I never received a response from them.
- Examined FHL Film 1033120, Index to Delayed Certificates of Births, only to discover that all of the surnames beginning with the letter R were missing from the film!
Stay tuned for part 2…
© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum