Unique Visitors
Total Page Views

"View Teri Hjelmstad's profile on LinkedIn">
Recent Comments

Vital Records Begin to Arrive

For my application to the Mayflower Society, I must collect vital records, if they exist, for each ancestral couple and myself. I ordered several last month. Some have begun to arrive.

My Marriage Record

  1. The State of Wyoming was the most prompt in responding to my request. The record arrived almost by return mail.
  2. The record is on the same template as the Bride and Groom copies that we already had. The one I received from the State bears some official insignia that our personal copies do not carry.

My Mother’s Birth Certificate

  1. The State of Montana responded almost as quickly as Wyoming did. I was curious to see this document because my mom did not have an official copy of her birth certificate. Instead, she had a form from the census bureau acknowledging that her birth had been registered with the state.
  2. My mom was born in April, 1929, but I was surprised to see that her certificate was not filed until September the same year.
  3. Her father’s name and residence on the certificate were completed in a different hand than the rest of writing on the certificate. He is recorded only by his initials, B. K., not his full name.
  4. The family is listed as living at Redstone, Montana although my mom was born in a larger nearby town. Redstone is the closest place to where my grandfather’s family had homesteaded a couple of decades earlier. My grandparents met there when she arrived to teach at the local school in the mid-1920’s.
  5. My grandfather’s occupation was recorded as a switchman at an iron mine. I did not know he was working this way in 1929, and I know of no iron mines in northeastern Montana. He was working at this job in Hibbing, Minnesota the following year at the time the U.S. census was taken. After my mother was born in 1929, the family did move to Hibbing, the town where my grandmother had grown up. I wonder if he had gone ahead to Minnesota in 1929 to find a job and prepare a home before my mother and grandmother arrived.
  6. My grandmother’s occupation was recorded as schoolteacher with May, 1929 as her last month engaged in this work. This was a month after my mom was born. I am amazed that my grandmother finished out the school year with a newborn. Perhaps she was on leave with someone else filling in.

Two other vital records have not yet arrived. I ordered my parents’ marriage record from South Dakota, and I do not know how long that will take to come in the mail.

The guidelines from the Mayflower Society also say Michigan issued vital records beginning in 1867. I know compliance before 1897 was spotty. Still, I need the 1896 death record for my second great-grandfather, John Davis Riddle, if it exists. If not, the Society wants a letter from the State to that effect. The Michigan website says they take 5-6 weeks to respond, so I may be waiting a while for this information.

I already had all the other vital records I need. Once the South Dakota marriage record arrives, I will send my documents to the Colorado historian for the Mayflower Society. They, like me, can wait on the slow response time from Michigan while they review everything else.


2 Responses to “Vital Records Begin to Arrive”

  • Sarah Hatter:

    For Michigan records, it may be less expensive to get a copy of the record you need from the county where the even happened instead of from the State. I don’t know if it will be any faster, especially with the current pandemic, but it’s another avenue to try.

    • Teri:

      You are right that I could check to see if the county has a record of the John Davis Riddle death.

      Years ago, when I was doing a lot of research on this family, it was difficult to get records from this county. They would not reply to genealogical requests. Genealogists were required to hire a local researcher who was granted sole access to their records.

      I do not know if this is still their policy, but it might be worth trying again.

Leave a Reply