Official Record With a Joke on the Inside

Alan Barnett History

Usually you wouldn’t expect to find humor in official records, but when it comes to a small town where everyone knows everyone else, a few inside jokes are bound to slip in. This birth certificate documents the birth of Albert Bonelli in Tooele in 1906.  The form was filled out by the local registrar, John Tate, who obviously had a sense of humor and must have been a friend of the Bonellis. Maybe he thought Mrs. Bonelli could use a little humor after delivering her seventh child at age 35. He noted that the father, Edwin Albert Bonelli, was a “Jack of All Trades” by profession, which actually fit pretty well.  E. A. Bonelli ran his own barbershop, was a justice of the peace, federal census enumerator, a city councilman, practiced law, and was the Tooele City attorney for many years. Over the years he was also involved in numerous other ventures, including being a streetcar conductor, a jeweler, an amateur photographer, operating a weather monitoring station, and running an ice cream parlor. Despite having seven children to care for, Emeline Bonelli apparently occupied most of her time “Looking for the Old Man.” As for little Albert, was he legitimate? “You Bet.”