Genealogists can learn a lot about an ancestor from his or her baby book. It is a resource that can easily be overlooked because it is not a vital record. There has been at least one instance where a baby book helped reunite long, lost, siblings.
Baby books started being used at the end of the nineteenth century. Each baby book consists of forms that a mother can fill out to record her baby’s “firsts”, the baby’s health information, and more. Some baby books have a place for a family tree or a list of close family members.
In the nineteenth century, published baby books were aimed at mothers from the upper class. Part of the purpose of the baby book was to lecture mothers about the best ways to care for their child.
Another reason was that the book encouraged mothers to write down details about their baby’s health. It was considered to be a medical reference of sorts. If, years later, a child developed an illness, a mother could look at his or her baby book and potentially trace where and when the illness began.
Information In Baby Books:
* The baby’s full name
* The baby’s birth date
* The mother’s name (and her maiden name)
* The father’s name
* The father’s occupation
* The father’s birthplace
* The mother’s birthplace
* Modern baby books may include the mother’s occupation
* Names of the baby’s siblings
* Address where the family lived
* Baby’s “firsts” (first word, date of first steps, first time trying baby food)
* Health and medical information about the baby (illnesses, height and weight)
* Noteworthy events of religious significance the baby experienced (baptism)
* Names of the baby’s godparents
* Photos of the baby
For many genealogists and family historians, a baby book provides a unique insight into what a relative or ancestor was like when they were a baby or toddler. There could be some photos in the baby book that you have never seen before. You might be lucky enough to find a family tree somewhere in the baby book.
A baby book once helped two siblings, who had lost track of each other, to reconnect. Millicent Smith had her brother’s baby book. Her parents separated when she was four years old, and when her brother, Jake Robinson, was a baby. He lived with their father.
Millicent set out to look for her brother. The baby book gave her just enough information to start looking for him (with help from others). After 65 years apart, the siblings reunited. Jake Robinson had one memory of his sister. He remembered her pushing him in a stroller when he was a baby. Millicent Smith remembered she had a brother because she had his baby book.
Related Articles on FamilyTree.com:< Return To Blog