Long ago I tried to find my great-grandmother’s birth certificate. Naomi Bliss Soren was born 26 February 1912. According to my grandmother, Naomi’s daughter, she was born in Salem, Utah County, Utah. Without any documentation I just trusted my grandmother. After all, I know when and where my mom was born so why shouldn’t she know when and where her mom was born?
Well, the more I began doing research on Naomi’s parents, Alvin LeRoy Soren and Lilly Laversa Barney, I began to question whether or not Naomi was really born in Salem. To understand why I began to question this, some history of Alvin and Lilly needs to be explained.
Alvin and Lilly were married 21 January 1908 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah. Both Alvin and Lilly were originally from Utah County. Alvin was born in Salem and Lilly was born in Lake Shore. After their marriage in 1908, they lived in Salt Lake City for the rest of their lives. I have census records, city directories, vital records, and newspaper articles that show the family in Salt Lake City.
Alvin and Lilly had nine children, including their daughter Naomi. I found vital records and/or obituaries for all the children, which showed the children were born in Salt Lake City. So, when my grandmother told me her mother, Naomi, was born in Salem, not Salt Lake City, I was really confused.
As I searched for Naomi’s birth certificate, I could not find it anywhere online. Several websites have indexes and even digital images of birth certificates in Utah, but I could not find and index or image of Naomi’s birth certificate. One thing I have learned over the years is that even though an index or database online says something like “Utah Birth Certificates” does not mean that database includes all certificates for that location. In fact, in many databases I have searched, there are many cities and counties that are not included in the database. There are several reasons why this database may not include every record for that location. Most databases have specific time periods, so the record you might be looking for might be outside that range included. Sometimes there are restrictions on what records can be included because of privacy laws. Other times the records simply have not been digitized and/or indexed. This last one was the case with Naomi’s birth certificate.
Although I had searched several databases over the last couple of years for her birth certificate, none of them had it. Finally, one of those databases was updated and included more records, including Naomi’s birth certificate. Just as my grandmother had said, Naomi was in fact born in Salem, Utah County, Utah.
Naomi was the third child born to Alvin and Lilly. Although the family was living in Salt Lake City, Alvin and Lilly’s parents were still living in Utah County. I asked my grandma why her mother would have been born there and not Salt Lake City. She does not know. The only thing I can think of is that Lilly was visiting her family in Salem when she went into labor. She may have also purposely went down to Salem to have the child and get help from her mother and other family members. Unfortunately, this is just one of those things that I may never know for sure since there is no one left alive to ask and would know.
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A.C. Ivory is a professional genealogist, blogger, product manager, ux designer, computer geek, and traveler.
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