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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

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Born prior to 1915 in SC? Try Delayed Birth Records

1900 Census showing Lewis and Arie Anna Vance and family1

Two sets of my 2nd great grandparents lived near each other in Abbeville County, South Carolina between 1870 and 1880, and their children intermarried leaving me with several double cousins.  Lewis, the son of Andrew and Jane Smith Johnson married Arie Anna Vance, the daughter of Beverley and Matilda Dunlap Vance. Most of their children were born before 1900. Lewis Johnson died young, and Arie Anna moved her family to Asheville, North Carolina.

Birth and death certificates can be used to learn where the parents were living when the children were born.  I try to determine the place of birth for each child knowing that there may exist the possibility of finding other types of documentation on ancestors among local records. The Johnson children were all born before birth certificates were recorded in South Carolina, so I was happy to have the option of searching delayed birth certificates.

Delayed birth certificate of Walter Reed Johnson2

I actually found one of their children, Walter Reed Johnson, whose delayed birth certificate was filed 21 February 1944.  He was living in Piedmont, West Virginia.  This is the first family member I have documented in West Virginia. So this opens up a new area to research.

The information on a delayed birth record is only as accurate as the memory of the person providing the information.  It does help that there are other sworn witnesses.  According to this record, Walter was born in Cokesbury, Abbeville, South Carolina in 1893.  Four years later, Cokesbury became part of Greenwood County.  I have several branches of the family who would actually have lived in both counties, so there is no way around me having to research both counties. Timelines help me to know which county to research during any particular event.

An extensive study of census records has helped me to be able to recognize people on records that I would otherwise overlook.  The sworn witnesses on this record were Mason and George Goggins, and while it says they were friends of the family, a Samuel Goggins married into the Johnson family.  These witnesses were actually extended family adding credibility to the details given.

Another great discovery from this record is the age at death for both Lewis and Arie Anna.  I have never been able to find death records or cemetery information for them. Assuming the age at death is accurate, I can add the year of birth given on the 1900 US Census to approximate the year of death for both. Perhaps this will help me determine the location where they are buried.

Lewis and Arie Anna Johnson
NameBirth (1900 Census)Age at DeathApprox. Year of Death
Lewis Johnson1865431908
Arie Anna Vance Johnson1865651930
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1.                  "United States Census, 1900," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 17 Dec 2013), South Carolina > Greenwood > ED 72 Cokesbury Township Cokesbury town; citing NARA microfilm publication T623.

2.                  "South Carolina Delayed Births, 1766-1900 and City of Charleston, South Carolina Births, 1877-1901," images,  [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina. ( : accessed 11 Dec 2013).


  1. Robin, thank you for writing about delay birth certificates. I didn't know about them. Great tip!


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