52 Documents in 52 Weeks #33 – Jeffrey Lesoine’s Birth Announcement

Person of Interest: Jeff Lesoine
Relationship: 3rd cousin to me, grandson of Jennie (Repsher) and Andrew Mery


Source Citation: “Jeffrey Lynn Lesoine,” birth announcement, the Pocono Record (East Stroudsburg), 1964; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com : accessed 06 April 2017), Historical Newspapers Collection.


Document Description: Digital image of a birth announcement provided to public online at Newspapers.com. Article was clipped from the available full page. Specific birth day for the two people in the clipping are redacted for privacy.


Document Scan/Transcription:

The Baby’s Named
Jeffrey Lynn Lesoine
Mr. and Mrs. Lynn Lesoine of East Stroudsburg RD 2 announce the birth of their first child, a son, on [date withheld for privacy purposes] at the General Hospital. He weighed 9 pounds 3 1/2 ounces and has been named Jeffrey Lynn. Mrs. Lesoine is the former Susan Merry [sic], daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John A. Merry [sic] of 30 Elm St., East Stroudsburg. Paternal grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Ross R. Lesoine of East Stroudsburg, RD 2.


Analysis: Birth announcements can come in all sorts of formats. Among other things they can be party favors kept on a shelf, pictures tucked into scrapbooks, clippings in vertical files at historical societies, Christmas ornaments, social media posts (platforms like FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram), refrigerator magnets, snail-mail cards and photos sent to relatives and friends, and newspaper articles both print and online.

United States Infant Mortality Rates. Source: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4838a2.htm

This one happens to be a traditional newspaper (print edition) announcement. Announcements of births began to appear in newspapers more regularly in the 20th century and really gained in popularity after the end of World War II. As advances in medicine reduced the infant mortality rates steadily from the 1900s forward and children became more of the central focus of a family, the birth of a child was announced with greater fanfare as the century progressed.

Example of simple birth announcements. [1]

Birth announcements can run from simple listings (date, sex of baby, parent or parents) to fairly elaborate listings giving the baby’s name and birthdate, birthplace including town and/or hospital, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, addresses of various people, birth weight, and length.

I struggled with whether to post this particular newspaper snippet. I looked for people in my family files that were deceased to focus on and came up empty. As far as I know, Jeffery is still alive which goes against posting anything here about living individuals. It is, however, an article that just about anyone with a computer can find very quickly online and is already in the public domain. His parent’s did publicly chose to announce his specific birthdate in the newspaper for all to see. They were proud parents and wanted people to know. In a compromise, and in order to show you the entire newspaper article, I have redacted his specific birth date along with the birth date of the other individual captured in the clipping.

Jeffrey’s birth announcement on the Newspaper.com website is an original source. It is a true copy of the original paper; it’s just been digitized for online consumption. My clipping is a secondary source; it’s been tampered with by the addition of black boxes for redaction. The original may be considered primary information as the parents were providing, to the newspaper, information of which they had firsthand knowledge, the birth of their son. The evidence in the article is direct (explicit) which regards to the research question, “When was Jeffrey Lesoine, of Pennsylvania, born?” It is indirect with regards to the research question,”Who was the mother of Jeffrey Lesoine, of Pennsylvania, whose father was Lynn Lesoine?” We can determine that his mother is Mrs. Lynn Lesoine but the article gives us no evidence as to her given or maiden name. This article must be combined with another document (e.g. a marriage record, Jeff’s birth certificate, etc.) in order to determine the full names of both of Jeff’s parents.

CONCLUSION

Check for birth announcements in as many places as you can think. Home, online, historical societies, archives, and scrapbooks can all hold genealogical treasures to fill out your family tree. Happy searching!


[1] “J.M. Leibert, local registrar of vital statistics,” birth announcements, the Allentown Morning Call (Pennsylvania), 14 December 1916, p. 3, col. 5; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/274607372/ : accessed 03 October 2017), Historical Newspapers Collection.

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