Sorting Saturday ~ Who’s My Daddy?

Posted: July 28, 2012 in cornett, Family, research
Tags: , ,

information hydrant

information hydrant (Photo credit: Will Lion)

Sorting through documents, scanning, saving them to my hard drive on my laptop, and importing them into Family Tree Maker 2012 has helped me keep track of what I have and don’t have. Also, I have created a back up disc just in case my laptop decides it doesn’t want to operate anymore. This is very important to me because I had another laptop two years ago where the motherboard fried. All information was lost! Photos, college papers I had written, my resumé, my artwork, and many other important documents that I had saved over time. All GONE! Irretrievable.

Lately, I have been seeking information on my father, Billy Edward Cornett, and have discovered that he has become a brick wall of sorts. Not knowing him as a daughter should, my parents divorced when I was very young, I am finding that I don’t even know the details as to where he was born! After creating a research plan for my father, I hadn’t realized that I was lacking this particular information. Granted, I know that he was born in the state of Virginia in 1944 but that is all I know. I am lacking the information of the county, city and even the hospital in which he was born at. How do I request a birth record based only on this little bit of information I have of him? Where is his paper trail?


I have all the other documents I need, except this one little piece of paper that could tell me so much more! Frustrated doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings on this lack of data on my own father, no less. I am a family historian and genealogy buff, I should be able to find this piece of evidence at least. I have written emails to family members and no one seems to have a copy of his birth certificate or even know where this document could be; they don’t know who might even have it, if anyone even does. Dead end #1. I have searched for him on the Family Search web site. Dead end #2. I have searched and nothing but census records and an SSDI reference. Dead end #3. I feel like I am overlooking something that is staring me right in the face!


My next step would be to contact the Virginia Vital Records office to see what information I can get about his birth. Since I am his next of kin I should have no problem ordering his birth certificate through them. This will have to wait until Monday morning as they are closed right now. Being on Hawaii time, I am 6 hours behind the east coast.


These are the documents I have on him to date:


  1. Death Record
  2. Obituary
  3. Marriage Certificate
  4. Marriage Certificate Receipt (Ha! My parents only paid $5 back in 1971)

So today, I ask myself, “Who’s My Daddy?”




  1. Jim Jarvis says:

    One other thing I have been trying to find the 1940 census for Billy’s parents to find out what count or area they were in around the time he was born. From census reports they were in Wythe County Virginia so maybe this can help.

  2. Jim Jarvis says:

    Hi Kelly, The info I have on Billy’s birth is from his Social Security Death Index. Thanks for adding the pictures they are great. Did your mom and dad Divorce in the state of Florida? You are one census away to a clue or he needed to be born no later than 1940. I thing you are on the right track with contacting Virginia vital statics. Another option is did he serve in the military as you might be able to find out something that way. Good luck and if I find anything I will let you know.

    • kellyvial says:

      Thanks for trying to help! I seen that you had the SSDI source; my mother filed for divorce in Marion County FL I believe and since my father was born in 1944 he isn’t on the 1940 census, and I couldn’t find his parents either. At least not yet. I am wondering if maybe they went somewhere else in VA or maybe in another state but they would have had to return for Lucia to give birth to my father in 1944 in VA. Many questions and not enough answers 🙂 But I thank you for looking and hope we can find something soon.

  3. Sandy says:

    Here is a link to a family tree on Ancestry. Is this your dad?

  4. Kim von Aspern-Parker says:

    I’ll see your lack of knowledge about your father and raise you one….I have no idea as to the name of my father. My birth mother died and took the information with her. She told her first husband nothing about my existence (she was married to him at the time of my conception) and she told her second husband I was the first husband’s child. (DNA proves I’m not). Be thankful you can send for records. I have to wait till I die to talk to the one person who knows…and believe me…we are going to talk.

    • kellyvial says:

      I am so sorry to hear that. Isn’t there another family member that you can talk to, just to find out what your father’s name was? Maybe an aunt or uncle, or any grandparents that may be able to help? I wish you all the luck in finding this information out even if it’s just for a peace of mind.

  5. Kelly, wow! This is a tough one. I only know my mother’s family through genealogy, so I can empathize a bit with your problem. Let me know if I can help. I do a bit of Virginia genealogy.

    • kellyvial says:

      Thank you Anne! I never would have thought that my father would be the brick wall I was trying to break through. Hopefully with some luck, I will be able to get the information I am seeking through Vital Records office of Virginia. 🙂 Keeping my fingers crossed. I will definitely keep you in mind if I find that I cannot obtain the birth record. My main objective is getting in with the DAR as I have a Revolutionary War patriot in my paternal line. Looking forward to many months of research!

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