Hampton woman with no proof of birth fights to get driver's license


by Janet Roach


Posted on March 12, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 2:44 PM

HAMPTON -- Lenora Baggesen wants a Virginia driver's license but hasn't been able to get one. 57 years ago, she was born on a farm on an indian reservation in Olean, New York. She was delivered by her great-great grandmother and the information on her birth was entered into the family bible.  

Baggesen has made it to 57 years old without ever needing her birth certificate, until now. Four years ago, she moved from Florida to Hampton after being transferred by her employer. When she went to DMV, Baggeson says she was told she had to have a birth certificate to get her license.

She recently tried again, as she approached the expiration of her Florida license. Still, no luck, even after Baggesen took in a number of documents she thought would help prove her ID.

"So I took in my marriage license, took in my original Social Security card, which I had in my wallet. I took in tax papers, my W-2s," explains Baggeson.

Baggesen's only hope was to turn to Florida, after a co-worker, also without a birth certificate, was able to get her Florida license renewed as a dual resident of both Florida and Virginia.

Baggesen called Florida's DMV and it worked. She now has a Florida license with her Hampton address listed on it. She says the DMV worker helped her through the process.

"He says go to the Florida DMV website. He says fill everything out on it and where you see address, put in your Virginia address. That's exactly what I did and took me less then 3 minutes," says Baggesen as she concedes, she still would prefer a Virginia license.

The 13News Troubleshooters contacted the Virginia DMV office. Spokesperson Melanie Stokes says there is help for Baggesen, even if she doesn't have the right documents. Generally, you need two forms of ID, including a proof of legal presence. There's a long list of documents from which to choose. If that doesn't work, Stokes says there's a specialized unit to help people like Baggesen.

"That's when we refer them to the specialized work unit here at the headquarters that routinely works with people who don't have a birth certificate. In almost all cases, we successfully issue the person a license," says Stokes.

Since the inquiry from the 13News Troubleshooters, Baggesen says she's now received several calls from DMV officials and it looks like she will finally be able to get a license.