Delayed Birth Certificate update — sealed records?

I wrote a post here a few days ago regarding my great grandmother’s delayed birth certificate. Mary Elizabeth Elliott was born in 1909, and the State of Kansas did not record birth certificates until 1911. She filed for a delayed birth certificate, which requires affidavits to be submitted as evidence to prove the birth facts stated on the delayed birth certificate.

I was curious if those affidavits are available to me, as part of my genealogy research, and sent an email to the State of Kansas.

Here is their official reply:

Kansas is a closed record state, so those are now sealed records. It would take a court order for us to release any documents we have relating to the filing of the Delayed Birth Certificate.

Wow. This is unbelievably frustrating. I do not understand why the government people are making it more difficult to do genealogy research. This is my great grandmother, and I cannot find out more about her?

I understand the concern for identity theft. I also understand, to a certain extent, privacy for cases of adoption. This is not an adoption.

Let’s look closer at this particular case. The child in question was born in 1909. She filed for a delayed birth certificate in 1944. Her mother died in 1939, so no affidavit could be filed by the mother. Her father, born in 1881, who she was likely not in contact with, could have been deceased at that time, but certainly is deceased by now. The affidavits were submitted by the child’s grandparents (Albert William Jones, 1862-1946 & Josephine Rebekah Wilson, 1876-1951) who are certainly deceased by now as well. We are talking about my great grandmother, and my 3rd great grandparents. Everyone involved is now dead. Why are the records sealed if everyone is dead? It makes no sense to me.

Adoption (not this case) and identity theft is one thing, but this is unbelievably frustrating. What is the logic behind the law of sealing the documents?

Well, consider the complaint filed. I can’t do anything about it now. I urge anyone who works in a government office to consider the laws they pass and the effect those laws will have on people. There are documents available, sources that have information that may help me identify and learn more about my 2nd great grandfather, but I have no access to those records. Because those records are sealed. It takes a court order to get access to those records.

Wow. That’s a brick wall.

Mary Ann French, Research Report by a professional

I attended the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) 2018. One of the sessions was taught by Diana Elder, AG and she used an example with a case study of Mary Ann French. The surname French is very familiar to me, as the French family are my ancestors! It turns out Mary Ann French is my 6th great aunt on my father’s side. She is the daughter of James French. Diana Elder’s husband is descended from Mary Ann French, and I am descended from Mary Ann’s brother, Thomas French. This makes James French, father of both Mary Ann and Thomas, my 6th great grandfather.

French leads down to Mary Ellen French, who married John David Ray; these are the parents of Sarah Catherine Ray, who is the mother of Virginia Vessels. The French family is one of many of the Catholic clans who moved from Maryland to Kentucky in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

Diana Elder, AG is an Accredited Genealogist. She did a full research report to prove the father of Mary Ann French. Her research report was the example in her class session of how to write a research report, which I attended at SLIG 2018.

A research report is something a professional genealogist will write up for their client. In Diana’s case, it was a report she wrote for her husband’s ancestors, and if I remember correctly she used it as part of her Accreditation to become an Accredited Genealogist. Many also recommend writing a research report for many research questions that come up in one’s own family tree. In other words, to prove my logic and reasoning on why I say this person is the child of that person, a research report is recommended, so that future generations do not repeat my research, and also have access to the sources I cite in my family tree and in my research reports.

I got permission from Diana Elder to provide a link to her website, so that you can also view her professional Research Report.

Her home page on her website is at family locket.  Her services as a Professional Genealogist are at the link here. And if you scroll on down, you will see a link to the Mary Ann French Bryan Atwood research report as a PDF file.

If you are curious about what a research report looks like, read this PDF report. She provides sources that back up her research. Of course, she’s already done some excellent research, and I can use those same sources for my own research, which proves some facts I did not already have. I am grateful for Diana Elder’s research, and with her permission I provide a link to her research report in this post.

I have not yet really written a full research report for any of my ancestors. I will most definitely do so in the future. When I work through the ProGen online study group, mentioned earlier in this blog, I will do at least one research report. Also, should I choose to become a Certified Genealogist in the future, I will need to write more than one research report to achieve that accreditation.

If anyone is confused by some of the alphabet soup, let me clarify that an AG is an Accredited Genealogist, and a CG is a Certified Genealogist, two of the common ways to become “licensed” as it were to be a Professional in the field of Genealogy.

Read Diana’s report, and enjoy! I endeavor to write some reports myself in the future.

The father of Mary Elliott

My great grandmother was Mary Elizabeth Elliott. A research goal is to discover and identify her father.

She was born in 1909, and the State of Kansas did not require Birth Certificates until 1911. So I look at other documents for clues and piece them together.

Mary Elizabeth Elliott was married to Howard Wilcox Reed on 5 March 1925 in Chautauqua County, Kansas.

Marriage license for Mary Elliot and Howard Reed is below.

Howard Reed marriage license LDS film 2404387 page 490

Chautauqua, Kansas, Marriage Affidavit and License Record, Book L, p. 490; LDS, FHL; Marriage licenses, and other marriage records, Chatauqua County, Kansas, 1870-1913., Family History Library, 35 NW Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, Marriage License of Howard W. Reed and Mary E. Elliott, LDS microfilm 2404387.

Their first child was my grandmother, Thelma Reed, also born in Chautauqua County, Kansas. Mary and Howard later divorced, after a few more children. The divorce record has not yet been located. The marriage license does not state her location of birth for either bride or groom. The marriage license does name the mother, as the bride was 16 years of age at the time of the wedding. The father is not named.

After the divorce from Howard Reed, Mary  remarried a J. H. Boyd, called Jim Boyd in other documents, in New Mexico, on 17 July 1936. That document does state the place of birth for bride and groom. The bride was born in Inka, Kansas in 1909. This date of birth is consistent with other documents. There is no Inka, Kansas, but there is a town called Iuka in Pratt County. This document was typed, so a county clerk of some sort may have mistyped. I have been going on the idea of Iuka, Kansas for a long time, but finding no records.

The Boyd-Mary Reed marriage license is below.


New Mexico, Union, Marriage Certificate, Union County Clerk, New Mexico, PO Box 430 Clayton NM 88415, Marriage License
# 4511, J. H. Boyd and Mary E. Reed, County of Union, New Mexico.

Jim Boyd died in January 1939. Mary later remarried, this time to a Howard Clark, in August 1939, in Colorado. Marriage license for Mary and Howard Clark below.


Prowers County, Colorado; Prowers County Clerk, 301 S. Main St., Ste. 210, Lamar, CO 81052., Prowers County Clerk, 301 S. Main St., Ste. 210, Lamar, CO 81052, Marriage License of Howard Clark and Mary Boyd, Book 5, p. 256.

This marriage license does not name the parents of either bride or groom, and does not name the birth place either.

Joseph Elliot does exist in the 1910 US Census with his family in Baca, Colorado., 1910 United States Federal Census ( Operations Inc),, Year: 1910; Census Place: Precinct 2, Baca, Colorado; Roll: T624_112; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0201; FHL microfilm: 1374125.

I have done several searches for the father, Joseph Elliott, and cannot locate him with surety. Iuka, Kansas does have a local historical society, and they have done a search for me, and found nothing. Iuka does not have a Birth Register than I can find. Birth Certificates were not filed in Kansas until 1911, two years after Mary’s birth. I have a couple of records to indicate the father of Mary Elizabeth Elliott was Joseph D. Elliott, but I cannot locate him alone in other documents.

My next step was to locate the Social Security Application for Mary, which was filed in 1939. This application was completed in Del Norte, Colorado, the place of death for her second husband Jim Boyd. It was completed in July 1939, and Jim Boyd died in January of that year. This would have been after her second husband died and before she married her third husband, and was likely looking for work to support her children.

Social Security record below.


She still lists her father as Joseph D. Elliott, and her mother as Cora Jane Jones, and states her birth date as 2 Feb 1909, which is consistent with other records. However, the new information on this document is important; she states her birthplace as Eureka, Kansas. While Iuka and Eureka may sound similar, they are completely different towns. Iuka is in Pratt County, west of Wichita, and Eureka is in Greenwood County, east of Wichita.

Greenwood County does have a Birth Register online; this is like a large ledger book that lists the births of children, with the date and the names of the parents.

With a precursory quick look at the Register, I found no birth record for Mary Elizabeth Elliott, or a listing for either of her parents in the birth or marriage registers. I next need to do a longer, deeper search that takes more time, and looking at other dates both before and after the reported birth date.

I have a new location to continue the search! When something is found, I will post news here.