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Workers Correct Errors In County Birth Records

Workers Correct Errors In County Birth Records image
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A complicated job of checking and rechecking is under way at the county clerk’s office to correct mistakes made in Washtenaw birth records as far back as 1867 and make it easier for persons born in the county to get birth certificates.

The job, being done on a part-time basis by former Ann Arbor Librarian Frances A. Hannum, involves the re-indexing of all birth records in the county between 1867 and now.

Miss Hannum points out the project will help particularly those seeking birth records to be used in obtaining Social Security and old age insurance benefits. She notes that many of these records, as the index now stands, cannot be found.

So far, records between 1941 and the present have been completed. The work took six months.

Now, Miss Hannum and another part-time worker, Mrs. Esther Veliquette, are going over the earlier records. With three months already put in on that project, Miss Hannum estimates the work will take another six months.

The work included is the triple-checking of the present mistake-riddled index with original birth records and an earlier index.

The former head librarian reports she has not only found names missing in the index, but that many of those properly recorded have been found to be misspelled.

County Clerk Luella M. Smith, noting that the 470-page type-written index was compiled in 1933 by WPA workers not familiar with indexing, said that the investigation of errors in the index on a number of occasions has included calling the person involved. Other misspellings have been checked by Lansing records or those of the governmental units in which the person was born.

IMAGE TEXT: Shown at work on the job of checking and re-indexing Washtenaw county birth records are Miss Frances A. Hannum, former chief librarian in the Ann Arbor Public Library, and Mrs. Esther Veliquette.