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Ask A. Schuyler Your Own Question

A. Schuyler
A. Schuyler, Genealogist
Category: Genealogy
Satisfied Customers: 16049
Experience:  Researcher and genealogist for past 30 years
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What do you do when you absolutely cannot find birth records

Customer Question

What do you do when you absolutely cannot find birth records of where an ancestor (in this case, a paternal grandparent) was born? I have a date of birth and year, but cannot find where she was born - all the Censuses I found have different cities of birth.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Genealogy
Expert:  A. Schuyler replied 11 months ago.

Hi, Ginger,

Can you share some more information? Was she born in the United States?

Do you know the names of her parents?

Do you know the names of her siblings?

What censuses did you find her in, and where was she living at the time?

Was your father a Reid from her first marriage or from a second marriage? (Names, dates, places).

Thanks for the additional information.



Customer: replied 11 months ago.
We are not sure of her father's name - we think it was Robert Gor***** *****. Her mother's name was Julia Ann Brennon Thompson - Scotland. She is the only name on my grandmother's wedding certificate as a witness, not my grandmother's father, to Theodore Wieting.Not sure if she ever had siblings
US Federal Census - 1910 - shows first husband - Theodore Wieting - Verona Wieting
New York State Census - 1915 - Verona M. Reid
New York State Census - 1915 - Harry G Reid married to Verona M Reid
US Federal Census - 1920 - same as above - Mamaroneck, Westchester County - NY
US Federal Census - 1930 - same as above - Ramapo, Rockland, NY
US Federal Census - 1940 - same as above - Inferred residence - Westport Ct - and also owned a home in Miami, Dade County, FL
Florida State Population Census - 1945 - same as aboveMy father, named ***** *****ncoln Reid was born on 7/4/1918 in upstate New York (possibly Mamaroneck). He had a half sister from my grandmother's first marriage, Florence Wieting Cohn, and a half brother, Theodore Wieting, Jr. My father then changed his name to Lincoln Harry Reid. Both of them are deceased also.Have not found marriage records anywhere, or Family Search of Harry G Reid and Verona M. Reid.
Expert:  A. Schuyler replied 11 months ago.

Thanks so much for the additional information. I will look around and see what I can find. There is a LOT of information that isn't online, particularly from New York, New Jersey, and California.

It may take me a day or so, but you will get an email when I've found something (or if I cannot find anything in spite of turning all the rocks over :-)

Best regards,



Customer: replied 10 months ago.
To: ***** ***** checking to see if you found any info. The question was marked "closed" on site, but I called today and they reopened the original question. Please advise. Thanks.
Expert:  A. Schuyler replied 10 months ago.


I'm so sorry, I was called away just before the holidays for a death in the family and didn't get home until last weekend.

I found no birth record for Mary Agatha Verona Thompson. However, ***** ***** and Julia Brennan had a second child a year later in Manhattan, New York, on 11 May 1879. It was a son, and they hadn't named him yet.

Since the second child was born in New York, it would make sense that Mary Agatha Verona was as well. New York birth records aren't all online. The New York State Birth Index 1878-1909 does not list a birth for a Thompson in April 1878, but then they don't list the son born in 1879 either.

You can use this online form to order a copy of her birth record. The charge is only $15.

I'm so sorry there isn't a record online.

Best regards,



Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thanks for your answer. Had no idea grandmother had a brother. Can you really request a bc fr NY without a first name? Not sure grmother was born in NY. My sister remembers her saying they rode in a horse-drawn wagon to NY. I still can't access any records of Robert and Julia in Ancestry or Fam.Search. So frustrating. 😖
Expert:  A. Schuyler replied 10 months ago.


It isn't that you "can't access" records in ancestry or LDS. It's that there aren't any. New York is one of those states that doesn't make information readily available, so NO one has access to it without going through them and paying their fee. The good thing is that they will search the records for you, even when you don't have every piece of information on their certificate request form.

Some foreign countries are just as bad, with birth records not available to the general public until 110 years after the birth.

Best regards,



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