Two Birth Certificates: More Mystery Around Babe’s Name

The 1924 version of Babe’s birth certificate.

In more than two years since I last posted to this blog, a lot has happened. There was a pandemic, of course. And my younger brother died July 16, 2020, two months after that last post. This is the obituary I wrote just before members of my family finally met this month to bury his ashes in Mount Kisco, New York. He’s laid to rest beside my mother, about a mile from her childhood home on Lexington Avenue, the home referenced often on this blog.

One happy occasion during the trip was reuniting for lunch with my Aunt Terry, the widow of my Uncle Bob. That’s Babe’s younger brother, whom he references as “Bib” in his letters home. Terry had two thin manila folders my uncle had saved with more documents, many of which I had never seen. Some are related to Babe, others to my parents, still more to my grandmother Florence, Babe’s mother.

Among them: two copies of Babe’s birth certificate, which I’d never seen before. One was issued Oct. 11, 1924, two days after Babe was born. The other, obviously a certified copy, was issued July 19, 1945, nearly two and a half months after Babe was killed.

The 1945 version.

Now, I’ve mused in this space before about the mystery of Babe’s name. He’s referenced as Frank David Mauro on numerous documents—particularly military documents, including his dog tags. But there are also documents that refer to him as Frank Vito Mauro. Hilariously, the birth certificates don’t shed any light on the subject because—get this—one uses Vito and the other uses David.

On the 1924 birth certificate, on the line “full name of child,” is written Vito Frank Mauro. A handwritten arrow on the document indicates “Vito” should move to the middle between “Frank” and “Mauro.” Meanwhile, on the 1945 version of the birth certificate, the corresponding line says Frank David Mauro. The folder Terry gave me also included Babe’s baptismal certificate, which refers to him as Francis Vito Mauro, which I assume is aligned with Catholic tradition.

I assume there was a reason my grandparents needed another copy of Babe’s birth certificate. Maybe it had something to do with securing military benefits in the wake of his death.

And I’m just going to get comfortable with the fact that Babe had two names, which perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise. His grandfather was named Vito Martinelli.

2 thoughts on “Two Birth Certificates: More Mystery Around Babe’s Name

  1. What a pleasure to see you posting again! It can be frustrating to try to nail down family history. If you haven’t read it, I will recommend a book I just finished reading: “The Almost Legendary Morris Sisters: A True Story of Family Fiction,” by Julie Klam (, in which the author sets out to confirm family legends about these four maiden sisters who lived together all their lives and became fabulously wealthy. Almost everything she’s heard turns out not to be true, but much of what she learns is even more interesting.


    1. Thanks, Suzanne. Good to hear from my one-and-only fan! 🙂 And thanks for the recommendation. My wife keeps asking me what I’ll do when I finally make it to retirement. Digging into this sort of thing is likely high on the list.


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