This is an in-depth look at the birth certificate for my great-aunt Erma Adena Kelly, née Watts.

1. Place of birth: Watts, Red River Township, Searcy County, Arkansas. Though Watts was entered on the line meant for incorporated town, it wasn’t a town at all, but rather an unincorporated populated place.

2. Full Name of Child: Erma Adena Watts.

Erma’s full name.

That middle name was news to me. We’d always call her “Aunt Dean” and thought that her given name was Ermadean, one word. After cross-referencing this certificate against other records, I see now that she was enumerated as Erma A. Watts on the 1930 census. Later records did blend her names together: Ermidine Watts on the 1940 census; Erma Dean Watts when she registered for Social Security in 1943; Irmadean Watts on her 1947 marriage license; Ermadean Kelley when she updated her Social Security registration in 1952; Ermadean Kelley on her 2007 obituary. All that time her middle name was really Adena.

3. Sex of Child: Blank, but she was female.

4 & 5: Blank, to be answered only with multiple births.

6. Legitimate? Blank, but yes, her parents were married at the time of her birth.

Erma’s date of birth.

7. Date of birth: 12 July 1926. The form used had 191 pre-printed for the year, so it takes a close look to see the two written over the one to make that 1926.

8. Father’s Full Name: William M. Watts.

9. Residence: Watts, Ark.

10. Color: White.

11. Age at last birthday: 38 years. There’s conflicting records about William’s birth year, placing it anywhere between 1886 to 1888. So, he could’ve been 38 here. Or not.

12. Birthplace: Watts, Ark.

13. Occupation: Farmer.

14. Mother’s Full Maiden Name: Cordellia M. Kimbrell.

15. Residence: Watts, Ark.

16. Color: White.

17. Age at last birthday: It’s hard to read, but looks like it could be 33 years. That would be consistent with other records.

18. Birthplace: Watts, Ark.

19. Occupation: Housewife.

20. Number of children born to this mother including present birth: Five.

William and Cordelia’s children were, in order: Mary Watts, Verdie Watts, Blanche Bamma Watts, Charles Alexander Watts, and Erma Adena Watts.

21. Number of children of this mother now living: Three.

Both Mary and Verdie died in infancy.

22. Certificate of Attending Physician or Midwife: Doctor W. W. Heard of Watts attested that he attended the birth of this child, who was born alive at 2:31 p. m. on the day above stated. Notice that rather than write in the phrase “born alive” on the blank line, Dr. Heard instead struck out the phrase “or stillborn” underneath it.

Signature of Doctor W. W. Heard.

The certificate was signed by registrar M. E. Griffin and filed on 16 August 1926. He was probably Morris Ellis Griffin, who was married to Cordelia’s sister Emma Kimbrell.

Bibliography, Arkansas, Birth Certificates, 1914-1917 (Lehi, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2019),,, Arkansas Department of Vital Records; Little Rock, Arkansas; Birth Certificates. Record for Erma Adena Watts.

3 thoughts on “Birth Certificate for Erma Adena Watts

  1. Byron, Adena is a beautiful, seldom heard, name. My mom’s middle name as well: Dora Adena Graham (McClung). b. March 10, 1928, d. January 25, 2019.

    Michael Graham

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