Public records on births confusing, asking for help.

+4 votes
91 views
This is my Gr Grandfather's family.  There was good documentation publically and in family bibles on the births of each of these children that I have recorded on Wiki Tree.  One stillbirth is known (1899) between the first and second siblings listed here, but the child was not named so I left him out.  My question is this:  I have 4 instances where different public records have births for this family but the birth dates are recorded as specific dates that are 1-3 weeks after the birth of one of these children.  For instance:  Jack Spangler, b 14 AUG 1911, has a brother Harry b 20 AUG 1911 to the same parents.  I know that this cannot possibly be true, but both of these births are recorded in the county records.  My thought was possibly Jack and Harry are the same person or twins, but why two different birth dates?  I found this on three other of the children of JB and Rachel.  Two of them had no first name for the second birth date and two had names.  Two were the same sex as the child who is known to be legit, and two were the opposite sex of the known child.  I am hoping that a more experienced genealogist might be able to shed light on this mystery of phantom children or insight into why the dates are listed so oddly.
WikiTree profile: John Benjamin Spangler
in Genealogy Help by Rebecca Lilly G2G Crew (440 points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
PS Now I look at it, it does say "Delayed" (1953).
I appreciate your reply and effort in helping me resolve the date disputes but I'm not sure what you are pointing out with this link?  My Aunt Nell who is cited in this link did apply for a delayed birth cert as did many born in this era.  Her birth date is not in question, If you look at the fourth entry on your link, you see "Neely"; this is one of the phantom children.  This is supposedly a male child born 20 SEP 1901, just 9 days after Nell was born.  We all know that this is impossible, but yet here it is hand written in a county record.  I can buy that the name is misspelled but the sex is wrong and also the date of birth is wrong.  This may be a mystery that we just will never figure out.  I do not believe this couple had 4 sets of twins and lost one in every instance; nor can a woman give birth twice in a month's time.  I guess it just bugs me that I cannot figure the dates out.... I just thought possibly other genealogists may have come up against a similar situation.  Thanks again.  rls

2 Answers

+3 votes
Are you sure you have the same family? Maybe there's another set of parents named John and Rachel in West Virginia at the same time. Or maybe there's a typo on the birth dates?

Looking at the 1920 and 1930 census, I don't see a Harry listed in that family.
by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (537k points)

Yes, it is definitely the same family: same county, same town (very small).   I am 100% sure this is the same parents for all the children listed here on Wiki Tree and the "phantom" ones too. I personally knew most of the children as they were my great aunts and uncles.  I thought of the typo theory, too, but I am not buying that yet as there are too many typos to chalk it up to that. Below is the image for Harry's birth, he is one of the "phantom" children.  This is clearly my Gr Grandparents who are the parents:  Rachel Davis Spangler and John; they lived in Cirtsville and JW Hunter was the local doctor.

Birth record for "Harry"

I don't know... that's a good mystery.

But this record is a compilation of other previous records, and there could have been a typo in making those entries. Maybe Harry was born in 1912 or 1917, and died young (so as not to appear on census data)?

Or, maybe as you suggest, they were twins and one's death (6 days later), was inadvertently recorded as his birth?

Sorry, I couldn't be of more help.
+5 votes
Depending on specific records, make sure you are reading the birth date and not the recording date. Another thing to check is whether the county record book is the original or a copy. Errors do creep in since the county books aren't the original but may be the best. Family Bibles vary considerably in quality and sometimes are written months or years after the event. Every piece of evidence must be individually evaluated for quality.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (424k points)
Thank you.  I will be visiting next month; I may take a trip to the courthouse to view the records there.  rls

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