Roberta Berman <danber@...>
Pamela Weisberger asks some intriguing questions about the recording of
births in New York City:
"On several birth certificates >from that era I've found that the birth
was reported by a woman, with a Jewish (but unfamiliar to me) surname,
indicating that she might have been a midwife (or neighbor?) but not a
relative. Who usually did this reporting? Was a NYC birth certificate
filled out in the hand of the person doing the reporting, or by a city
official taking down verbal information? Did most Jewish women avail
themselves of midwives at that time? And if the person witnessing the
birth was requred to report it, is this why the husbands (fathers of
the chidren) were not the ones usually doing the reporting?"
My grandmother had a sister Chaya who was a midwife. My aunt Ruth told
me that when she was eight years old (about 1910), she accompanied her
aunt Chaya to several births. Since Chaya did not write English,
eight-year old Ruth would fill out the form. When Chaya returned home
she put the forms in a drawer. Ruth didn't know if or when Chaya
brought the forms to a city office.
I found a birth record for a family member with someone who appears to
be Chaya's daughter as the midwife, but it may be that she just signed
the form as the person filling out the record.
San Diego, CA