Vital records, property deeds, minutes of county commission meetings, military discharges—all pass through the clerk’s office at 200 North Main, some on screen and some over the counter. Adult adoptees come to track down their biological parents, and vice versa.
Occasionally people become emotional. Kestenbaum recalls a situation when
a baby was born at home and no birth certificate was issued. To receive one, the baby needed to be brought into the clerk’s office.
For reasons Kestenbaum never learned, the state had taken custody of the child. So it was a very tense group that showed up.
“The lawyers were there, including Geoffrey Fieger,” recalls Kestenbaum. “The baby was there, the parents . . . Our staff people were terrified. They thought they’d be on the front page of the paper.” Kestenbaum eased the “very sticky situation” by opening up a conference room, to give the parties privacy and time to cool off. He never learned what happened to the baby—but at least the child now has a valid birth certificate.