08 July 2016

Clara Viola Dixon : Birth Registration

The Midwife Strikes Again!

We've seen the creative writing style of Therese M. Leyerer before. She is the midwife who writes with an Austrian accent, and who declared that my great-grandfather was a fish killer: a "Carp Ender." She appeared in that post on the birth registration for Hazel Dixon, the youngest child of William A. and Mary E. (Klein) Dixon. In this entry we see her delivering what she claims to be the couple's fifth child. *

Birth register entry for Clara Viola "Toots" Dixon, 1 November 1892. New Jersey State Archives: Trenton, N.J.

The Birth Record (1)

1 Full Name of Child (if any): [blank].  Color: [blank]
2. Date of Birth: November 1 1892.  Sex: Girl
3. Place of Birth: No. 63 Little Schmid Street
4. Name of Father: Willie Dixon
5. Maiden Name of Mother: Luisa Dixon
6. Country of Father's Birth: Elisabethport.   Age: 30.  Occupation: Oystermann
7. Country of Mother's Birth: Oho [Ohio].  Age: 26
8. Number of Children in all by this Marriage: 5.  How many living: 4
9. Name and P.O. address of Medical Attendant, in own handwriting, with date:
      T M Leyerer Midwife [no address or date given]


I am reasonably sure that this is the birth register entry for Clara Viola Dixon.

I have two other sources that support at least the month and year of birth. The 1900 U.S. Census records Viola Dixon's birth as November 1892. (2) In addition her marriage record from 1912 gives her age as 20 years, which infers a birth year of 1892.

Midwife Leyerer claims in this birth register that the unnamed child's parents were Willie Dixon and Luisa Dixon. I believe she was in error. As the registration forms were generally not filled out at the time of the birth errors are possible. We have seen this on other documents authored by this midwife. It is possible that she kept sketchy records and relied on memory to fill out the rest. She may have delivered so many babies that it was easy to loose track.

The 1900 census and her marriage record also list Clara Viola's parents as William A. and Mary E. Dixon, or William Dixon and Mary Kline [Klein]. Viola Dixon appears on the 1895 (4) and 1905 (5) NJ State Census with this couple as her parents. The parent's birthplace, age, and occupation also agree or come very close to the same items appearing in other sources related to William and Mary E. (Klein) Dixon as individuals and as a married couple.

As to "Little Schmid" Street, I have found William Dixon, laborer, at 63 Little Smith Street in the Elizabeth City Directory for 1895-96. (6) While the occupation doesn't match the birth record, it is possible that William had quit oystering for other work.

* At the time of Clara Viola's birth, my records indicate that William and Mary had four children: Minerva "Minnie" b. 1884; William b. 1885; Harry, b. 1887; followed by Clara Viola in 1892. Given the five year gap between Harry and Clara Viola, it is possible that another child was born and died young. Indeed, Harry would die in 1894 at the age of six. I only found him by chance in a birth index.


(1) [Clara Viola Dixon], birth certificate D13 (1 November 1892), Elizabeth New Jersey State Archives, Trenton.

(2) 1900 Federal Census, Union County, New Jersey, population schedule, Elizabeth Ward 5, Union, New Jersey; Roll: 996; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0102; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2015 ); FHL microfilm: 1240996.

(3) New Jersey, Certificate and Record of Marriage, 478, O'Hare and Dixon, 21 November 1912; New Jersey State Archives, Trenton.

(4) Ancestry.com. New Jersey, State Census, 1895 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Family number 220, page 38, line 11. Original data: New Jersey Department of State. 1895 State Census of New Jersey. Trenton, NJ, USA: New Jersey State Archives. 54 reels. Roll V227_105.

(5) "New Jersey State Census, 1905," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KMHK-VXD : accessed 15 February 2016), William A Dixon, , Union, New Jersey, United States; citing p. 6, line 44, Department of State, Trenton; FHL microfilm 1,688,625.

(6) Cook & Hall's Elizabeth City Directory for 1895-96 (Elizabeth, N. J.: Cook & Halln.d.), 127, Dixon William, laborer, h 63 Little Smith; digital image, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : downloaded 3 July 2016).

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