Corroboration that Certificate Numbers were Given by State Registrar
Janna’s birth certificate shows that certificate numbers were given by the Hawaii State Registrar
Janna’s birth certificate shows she was born on Tuesday, Dec 21, 1971, at Kapiolani Hospital. The certificate was signed by the attending doctor 9 days later, on Dec 29, 1971, and was accepted by both the local and state registrar the day after that – Thursday, Dec 30.
This certificate gives us the key to understand a lot about the process. We know from “Public Health Regulations” Chapter 8, Section 4, that local registrars were required to collect certificates for a week and then deliver them to the state registrar’s office. This requirement makes sense because births were required to be reported to a registrar within a week of the birth. The exception to the weekly transmittal of certificates was the outlying islands, which were to instead collect certificates until the 4th day of the month and then mail all the certificates for the month to the state registrar.
Once at the state registrar’s office the certificates were given certificate numbers – according to Janice Okubo (Hawaii Dept of Health Communications Director), whose claim is also corroborated by National Vital Statistics Reports.
Janna’s birth certificate also corroborates Okubo’s claim that certificates were given a number at the state registrar’s office, as you will see below.
Every Kapiolani birth certificate I’ve seen thus far from the statehood era shows that the state registrar received the certificates on Fridays.
Except this one. On this one the registrars accepted the birth certificate on a Thursday. And not the Thursday after the Tuesday birth; this wasn’t received in the state registrar’s office until the FOLLOWING Thursday.
To understand that, you have to see from the 1971 calendar that the Friday when the certificates would normally have been delivered to the state registrar fell on Christmas Eve, which was a federal holiday. So the certificates weren’t delivered that week. Midway through the next week, someone apparently realized that the office was going to be closed the following Friday as well, for New Year’s Eve, which was also a federal holiday. So they delivered 2 weeks’ worth of certificates on Thursday, Dec 30th.
When Janna’s birth certificate was received at the state registrar’s office there were 2 weeks’ worth of certificates from Kapiolani in the pile. There was possibly a similar 2-week pile from Queens – the other hospital which, together with Kapiolani, delivered most of the babies in Honolulu. And there was a month’s worth of birth certificates from the outlying islands that wouldn’t be sent to the state registrar’s office until Jan 4, 1972. In 1971 (see page 59) we see that there were 1,332 births in Hawaii in December. If about half those births were in the pile at the state registrar’s office or from outlying islands and not yet sent in, that would mean there were about 650 birth certificates that would have been numbered after Janna’s if hers was at the top of the pile. If hers was in the middle of the pile there would be 300-400 certificates numbered after hers.
What is her certificate number? 15,396. How many 1971 births were recorded in Hawaii? According to the CDC’s Vital Stats Report, 15,838. That means that there were 442 people who received a number after Janna’s in 1971. Exactly what we would expect if Janna’s birth certificate was in the middle of the pile at the registrar’s office.
Comparisons of other birth certificates also show that the number was given by the state registrar.
There has been speculation that the hospitals either had pre-numbered birth certificates within a range of numbers or that the hospitals were even given mechanical stamps that would only allow them to stamp the certificates within a certain range of numbers. If this were the case we would expect to see a range of numbers that was only used by Kapiolani, or by Queens (Kaiser), or by Army Tripler, or other hospitals.
In fact, however, below is a list of birth certificate numbers and hospitals I’ve compiled from birth certificates posted online or by personal communications from people willing to give just this information about their certificates. I’ve listed them according to their order in the calendar year (albeit different years, so this is just a general comparison) – which is the order that the numbers would be given if the state registrar numbered the certificates as they were received in the state office:
Date received Cert# Hospital
Jan, 1978 974 Kapiolani
June 1962 8,498 Wahiawa
Aug 1969 9,351 Kaiser (Queens)
Aug 1961 10,637 Kapiolani
Sept 1968 10,170 Army Tripler
Dec 1971 15,396 Kapiolani
Dec 1988 18,644 Army Tripler
The certificate numbers for Kapiolani range from 974 in January of 1978, to 15,396 in Dec of 1971. If Kapiolani was given a mechanical stamp that would only stamp certain numbers, the stamp would have to go from 0 to 15,400.
And there would have been at least 3 other hospitals which encroached on Kapiolani’s numbers. If blocks of numbers were assigned, the numbers could go as high as necessary, up to 999,999. There would be no need for other hospitals to use the ones assigned to Kapiolani.
To summarize: Janice Okubo’s statement that the certificate number was given by the state registrar matches what the CDC has said AND what the birth certificates we can observe actually show.