Government records can appear, on their face, sterile, statistical and indifferent to the human lives they document. Last evening, I was looking through Michigan Births, 1867-1902 on the beta records site for FamilySearch.org and located some original birth records for several people on my “hit list.” In the process, I came across a record for a person not on my list. Well, the newborn’s parents are my second-great-grandparents, Isaac Burdett Cook and Sarah Ann (Prichard) Cook. On 26 August 1881, Sarah had a baby girl in Ohio, apparently while away from their Michigan home. As one can see from the attached scan of the original pages, the birth of “not known Cook” has been struck from the record. Of course, I do not have an 1890 Census record to determine how many children Sarah birthed compared to how many survived. I am assuming this strike-through means that the child did not live long and was not even named. Why was the baby girl entered into the Michigan record? Would the baby have been full term? Under what circumstances would miscarriages be entered into government birth records? Can it be assumed Sarah needed to see a doctor upon her return to Michigan from Ohio and the doctor was obligated to make a record of the birth? Isaac was listed as “widowed” in the 1900 Census, indicating Sarah was dead before June 1, 1900 (after June 7, 1888 with the birth of their last known child). The marks on this page raise a number of procedural questions about records of births in Michigan. But there are a number of other questions that are raised about family grief and losing a newborn while away from home.