There can be a handful of family stories told by just one individual, possibly to hurt or for revenge on that person. One story such tale communicated to other relatives was by a younger sister about her older, more popular sister.
Sibling rivalry has existed since Cain and Abel with each trying to prove they were better than the other. This can last well into adulthood as when younger sister, Clare told other family members that her older sister, Rachel was not really a full-blooded sister, but rather a half-sister.
Her version was that their father’s former first wife, was pregnant at the time of their divorce and that his new second wife, Annie, had agreed to pass the baby off as her own when the child was born. This baby was supposedly, Rachel, the older sister. The story further stated that the birth certificate had been written with the second wife’s name so no one would question the parentage.
The parents, younger sister or any other direct relatives were no longer alive to question about this story which had been relayed for years. So to trust solely on a state birth certificate was not the answer to seek the truth. The handwritten church records in Pennsylvania, where the second wife’s family had been church members for decades, finally revealed the correct birth and baptism dates.
Also written in the church records were the full names of the parents as Annie and Walter. It confirmed Rachel, was indeed the natural birth daughter of Annie (the second wife of Walter). For further documentation there were written notes by Annie of her two-week stay in the Harrisburg hospital for the birth and recuperation. Finally, in checking the marriage records for when Annie and Walter married, it was in February 1921. Baby Rachel was born December 14, 1921, a full ten months after their wedding.
The lesson learned is that there are numerous sources of records which are dependable and by checking several documents, generally the actual facts can be acquired.< Return To Blog