Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History & Culture Enduring Connections: Exploring Delmarva's Black History

Source Information

Birth Register of Dr. Jesse Wanner, 1914-1922 (Wicomico County, MD)

Vital Information • 662 Records • Uploaded January 6, 2023

This 1914 to 1922 birth registry from the office of Dr. Jesse Rosenberger Wanner includes the dates of birth and the physicians or midwives carrying out the births. Dr Wanner’s practice covered the Nanticoke and Tyaskin district of western Wicomico County, Maryland. Both White and Black births are listed in the original register, however many of the entries do not include a race notation. If the original entry is noted with a “C” or “Col”, they are included in this database. This abstract does not include any births that are noted as White (W) in the original. If there is no notation, then the entry is included in this abstract, but a question mark (?) is shown. Therefore, those births with a question mark are not all Black children, but some could probably are. A few do not state a date of birth, but do include a “date received” that was in the original, that being the closest estimate in this record as to date of birth. Dr. D. Allen Fields took over Dr. Wanner’s practice in Nanticoke in 1925. In later years, Wanner became the head of pediatrics of Peninsula General Hospital and transferred his practice to Salisbury. On December 19, 1947, Dr. J. R. Wanner died at the hospital in Salisbury. He was buried in his hometown of Kutztown, Pennsylvania. The birth register was donated to the Wicomico Historical Society, whose collection now resides at the Nabb Research Center. It was transcribed by Jane Burt, a Nabb Center volunteer. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Church held responsibility of birth certification and baptism documentation. Problematically, Maryland citizens were not all affiliated with the church which resulted in individuals being absent from birth records. Consequently, the Maryland General Assembly sought to make birth certification a civil issue by the enactment of a state law (Chapter 130, Acts of 1865). The County Circuit Court was granted birth certificate responsibility from 1865-1880s, but many citizens failed to submit certification with the courts. Finally, the General Assembly passed a law in 1898 (Chapter 312, Acts of 1898) stating that birth records must be kept by the Boards of Health in the counties. According to the Maryland State Archives website: At first, compliance with the law on the local level was incomplete. As the State Board of Health gradually increased its control over local boards, registration became more reliable. Researchers should keep in mind, however, that as late as 1914 the Board of Health was still working to increase compliance with the law, and some births went unrecorded.”

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Fields Included

The list below shows the data fields included in this source. If a field is marked as Indexed, it is searchable.

  • Name Indexed
  • Race (C or Col. = colored; ? when race is not specified)
  • Physician or Midwife Attending Indexed
  • Date of Birth
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