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Individuals born at sea

Individuals born at sea

Posted: 21 Sep 2007 6:08PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Hughes
Where would be the most best place to look for a birth record for a person born at sea?

The family story is that my great-grandfather, Richard Hughes, was born on the boat coming over from Ireland. Some Census records show birthplace as "Pennsylvania" but the 1920 Census shows "at sea Nova Scotia" and and I saw another that showed "Newfoundland". I'm a bit at a loss as to where to look first or where to concentrate my efforts.

Suggestions on where to search appreciated.

Re: Individuals born at sea

Posted: 23 Sep 2007 8:04PM GMT
Classification: Query
For the birth record itself, I'm 98% sure that you should look at the first port of call the ship made after the birth [for US births anyway; no clue how other countries handled this].

Depending on the law(s) at the time of birth and the crossing, I'm going to guess that the ship's registration played some part. For example, a US ship, Ireland-US via Canada, may have not "counted" the Canadian port for purposes of birth registration/record. I'm sure the law is quite specific but complicated by many factors [so what else is new, lol].

If you're lucky enough to locate the ship's manifest, it should show any births/deaths that took place at sea.

Someone familiar with maritime law [in the appropriate time frame] could probably answer this for you. Perhaps an email to a law library could be helpful. If you go that route, be sure to give them the date as the laws change constantly.

Best of luck. Post your findings if you get lucky!!

Re: Individuals born at sea

Posted: 24 Sep 2007 2:58PM GMT
Classification: Query
I have not yet found the ship info, so the manifest is out of reach for now. I'll keep the maritime law route in mind. Thanks very much for the suggestions, they are greatly appreciated!
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