Not long ago, I used this column to offer a suggestion about preparing a family cookbook.

In giving it additional thought, it occurred to me that this project does not have to be restricted to submissions by family members. Friends or members of clubs or organizations can contribute their favorite recipes or household hints and distribute the finished product to their family members or friends.

One prepared by friends could include some information about themselves and/or significant events in their lives. Club or organization members can add details about the history of their association and its membership. Such a cookbook would make a thoughtful gift or it could be sold as a fund-raiser project. It might also contribute some tidbits about Lawton’s history.

Publishing and selling such an item certainly is not a new thought — it’s been done for years. For instance, in July 2011, seven members of the Museum of the Great Plains formed a committee to put together a cookbook to celebrate the first 50 years of the museum. The unique results of their work provides an excellent example of Lawton’s ethnic diversity. Copies are available in the museum’s gift shop.

New and updated ancestry collections

Ancestry.com had added a few new collections to its records and updated others.

New ones include:

•Census records from Rhone, France, 1836-1911;

•Norway census, 1875;

•Death index for Mississippi, 1912-1943;

•South Carolina births, 1915-1917;

•Pennsylvania US veterans card files, 1775-1916;

•US Confederate Army payrolls for enslaved labor, 1840-1883;

•New Hampshire marriage records, 1770-1961.

Updated ones:

•Obituary index from US newspapers, 1800s-current

•US school yearbooks, 1900-1999;

•Marriage index from US newspaper, 1800s-1999;

•US Atlantic ports arriving and departing passenger and crew lists, 1820-1959

•Vilnius City, Lithuania, city directory, 1915.

Although Ancestry.com is a subscription site, you can get free access to it in the Family History Room at the Lawton Public Library.

Pennsylvania “Dutch”

Most of us have heard of or used the term “Pennsylvania Dutch.” But probably have mixed thoughts about these people.

First, the Pennsylvania Dutch are not from the Netherlands. They descend from 17th and 18th century German-speaking immigrants to Pennsylvania. Their language gradually evolved into a unique dialect. In some cases, the word Dutch may have come from the word Deutsch, meaning German. At the time of the American Revolution, the Pennsylvania Dutch made up nearly half the population of Pennsylvania.

Delayed birth certificate

No doubt you have reached an ancestor who was born in a state (or territory) before it routinely issued birth certificates. In that case, he/she may have applied for what is known as a delayed birth certificate.

Like us, our ancestors needed proof of birth date and place in order to receive a passport, a military pension and, more recently, Social Security benefits.

When our fellow Oklahoman, Will Rogers, was hired by a Wild West show heading to South Africa and he needed a passport. He went to the Passport Office in New York City to apply for one. When asked for his birth certificate to prove he was born in the United States, he said he did not have one and added that he thought just being here was proof enough! It didn’t work then and it won’t work now.

Americans born before states issued birth certificates could get a delayed birth certificate in order to have official documentation as to when and where they were born in the United States.

To apply for one, an individual submitted a signed and notarized form to the state government along with multiple pieces of supporting evidence such as US census record, family Bible record, church birth or christening record, school enrollment record, voter registration form and/or sworn affidavits by someone present at the birth (parent, sibling, midwife, doctor or an individual who had first-hand knowledge of the birth).

Government documents had to be issued by an agency and certified by an official. Affidavits had to be witnessed and notarized. And those supporting documents had to remain in the issuing agency’s files.

This means that delayed certificates can benefit family history researchers (e.g., reveal a maiden name).

Phyllis Young lives in Lawton.