Thursday, February 14, 2008

The birth of Alta Corene Martin

When my mother approached retirement age, she sent off for a copy of her birth certificate so that she could apply for Social Security benefits. The resulting certificate provided a few surprises:
  1. Her "real" birth name was Alta Corene Martin (not Altha Corinne Martin, the name she actually went by her entire life). The "Alta" part was not as surprising as it might seem, given that the story was that Mom's cousin was the person given the honor of naming Mom, and the cousin had a mother named "Alta".
  2. Mom was born in "Moons Township" in Newberry County. This township was named for a family by the name of "Moon", who lived in the southwestern corner of Newberry County, in the area where Chappells and Silverstreet are.
  3. Mom's mother, my grandmother Elizabeth Estelle King, was listed as "Lizzie" King. Not much of a surprise, as she always went by the name "Lizzie".
  4. Lizzie King wasn't really born in "Lawrence", as there is no such place in South Carolina. The place is actually spelled "Laurens".
  5. Mom was born in the P.M., and was delivered by a midwife named "Bulah Coleman". I will have to look for Ms. Coleman in the 1920 census to learn more about her.
  6. The certificate was not filed until 8 days after Mom was born.
I'm fortunate to have this document at all, given that South Carolina had only been requiring birth certificates for a few years prior to 1920!