Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bonnie Lee Radcliff and Lenia Pearl Radcliff

One of my 2011 genealogy goals was to solve the mystery of Bonnie Lee Radcliff and Lenia Pearl Radcliff. While searching for Radcliff birth records on the West Virginia archives website, I came across a birth record for Bonnie Lee Radcliff. She was born in Linn, WV on 26 Feb 1913 to my paternal 2nd great grandparents, Merch and Bessie Radcliff. The informant was listed as Dr. John E Corkrean.

Upon scrolling farther down the image, I came across Lenia Pearl Radcliff. She was also born in Linn, WV on 26 Feb 1913 to Murch and Bessie Radcliff. Murch Radcliff, father, was listed as the informant on this entry.

 Image from WV Archives

The same parents, birth date and birth location would seem to indicate that these two girls were twins. However, I'm not so sure that this is the case. I suspect that these two entries are actually the same child.

In my experience looking at the birth records available on the website, twins are usually marked as such. In the case of these two girls, they are both marked as single births.

I also have to wonder about the different informants for the births. If the girls were twins, why would the doctor only report one of their births while their father reported the other child's birth?

Other than the birth record, I have found no other record of Bonnie Lee Radcliff. The 1920 and 1930 censuses list only Lenia Pearl Radcliff. I haven't found a death or marriage record for Bonnie. A search of all available cemetery transcriptions for the area did not find mention of her.

I even considered the possibility that there was another couple in the area with the same names as my 2nd great grandparents. A search of the census did not reveal a couple with these names. A search of marriage records reveals a March Radcliff who married a Floda M Shoales. However, the marriage date is 1915, 2 years after the birth and the female's name is wrong.

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