ALESANDRA MATERA MIDWIFE RECORDS
TROY, NY – 1909-1923
Official records of births in New York State were not required until after 1881. Fires, floods and other disasters have also reduced the number of vital records available for legal as well as genealogical research. One form of record that may be helpful in the search for information has been rarely found or used: the Report of Birth required by the New York State Department of Health for each birth assisted by a midwife.
Alesandra Matera, a nurse, lived at 259 4th Street in the neighborhood now known as Little Italy in Troy. Mrs. Matera was a midwife for several years in her largely Italian-American neighborhood. The midwife records contain the following information: Name of child, sex, color, date of birth, place of birth, name of father, residence and birthplace of father and mother, their ages, occupation, maiden name of mother, residence of mother if different than the father, number of previous children of mother, how many living in all and the date of the report.
The records through approximately 1916 largely contain infants born of Italian immigrants. However a number of records after 1916 include names of Syrian immigrants as well that had settled near the collar district closer to Hoosick Street. Mrs. Matera also traveled as far as Cohoes to assist in deliveries. The original records are in the archives of the Rensselaer County Historical Society, 57 2nd Street, Troy, NY
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