Sunday, November 22, 2015

Additional version of life events: Midwife's Records

Family Search digitized microfilm containing the records of Anna Weyel, a midwife in Bayonne, New Jersey.  (Thanks to the JC Geney blog for bringing attention to this latest addition.)

The records are a log of births for the years 1884 through 1917.

This midwife signed her name as the attendant on the birth certificates of my great grandfather, Frank ODonnel (1888-1959) and his six siblings.  (Or maybe just five of them.)  Frank was the oldest, born in 1888.  Katharine was the youngest, born in 1904.  Parents were Patrick ODonnell (1856-1931) and Delia Joyce (1862-1929).

The records of the midwife coincide with the information on the birth certificates except for James, born in 1892.  James' birth certificate gives a date of June 3, while the midwifery records list him as June 14.  James wrote June 3 as his birthdate on his World War I draft registration.

The main person of interest was the fourth child of Patrick ODonnell and Delia Joyce, Marguerite, born in October of 1894.  I found a birth certificate for Maggie ODonnell, born 18 October 1894 in Bayonne, but her parents were listed as James ODonnell and Ellen Gallagher.  Back at the New Jersey State Archives, I carefully searched for a birth certificate in the indexes for a child of Patrick and Delia, born in  between James born in 1892 and Joseph ("William" in birth records) born in 1897.  I found no such record.  I also searched the births filed under "O" in Bayonne for this time period.

The midwife's records are consistent with the birth certificate for Maggie ODonnell:  born 18 October 1894 to James ODonnell and Ellen Gallagher at 16 RR Av [Railroad Avenue].  Two years earlier, James ODonnell, son of Patrick and Delia, was born at 14 Railroad Avenue.

Was Maggie the biological daughter of a relative, given to Patrick and Delia to raise as Marguerite?  I doubt it.  Marguerite's children tested their DNA.  They share the anticipated amount of identical DNA for first cousins, once removed, with my mother and her brother, including a long segment on their X chromosomes.

Maybe the midwife mixed up the records.  She had been busy.  Two days earlier, she delivered a set of twins and a single.  She delivered another baby the same day Maggie was born.

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