Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Nuggets in a Delayed Birth Certificate

Tip of the Week:

Online databases for delayed birth certificates rarely index every name on the certificate. Always examine the evidence provided at the time of application - it might just have information you need to answer your research question!

This weekend I decided to spend time doing focused research on my Adkins family. My earliest couple in this line is William Adkins and Elizabeth Jane "Betsy" Disney, my 3rd-great grandparents. They were born in the 1820's, and were married before 1850, so they are not enumerated with their parents on any census records. They lived in Anderson County, Tennessee in 1850 and 1860, and in Campbell County in 1870. In 1880 and 1900 Elizabeth is a widow, living in Campbell County. Finding information about either of them, especially their lives before 1850, has been pretty much a fruitless effort to this point. Of their eight children, I had information about 3 of them, but had not been able to find a trace of the others after they left home, and so it is that these other five siblings (James, Sarah, John, Minerva, and Joseph) were the focus of my research last weekend.

Near the beginning of my search, I found an application for a Tennessee delayed birth certificate for Condy Huston Dabney, filed from Saline County, Illinois in 1942.1 Among the items listed as proof for his date of birth was an affidavit from Samuel Disney. Fortunately, this affidavit was on the back of the document. Samuel gave sworn testimony that he was 73 years old, that he had known the parents of Condy (German B. & Sarah Adkins) his entire life, and that he was a cousin and neighbor to the family. This affidavit proved to be the key in unraveling the family of Elizabeth Jane Disney, which I'll share more about in a later post.

Affidavit of Samuel Disney, 1942


  1. Tennessee State Registrar of Vital Statistics, delayed birth certificate 161658 (issued 1942), Condy Huston Dabney; digital image, "Tennessee, Delayed Birth Records, 1869-1909," ( : accessed 3 Apr 2016); citing Tennessee Delayed Birth Records, 1869-1909. Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee State Library and Archives.

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