Hopefully we'll get to meet some new attendees from those of you that are going to the Indiana Genealogical Society's Annual Conference this Saturday, April 27. I try to attend every year hoping that the great genealogy wizards that be are going to bestow some new knowledge on me. Maybe as in the Wizard of Oz they will give us some great gift of wisdom to help us become better researchers. This year it is close to my home of Brown County, Indiana so I am really excited to go. This year's featured speaker is D. Joshua Taylor from the NBC television series, "Who Do You Think You Are?" I always look forward to hearing from a new speaker, a new perspective.
I have heard a few comments from those that have decided not to attend. To them I always respond that "you can never stop learning." Some of the titles could be presented a little more interestly, and many times that has helped me pick which session to attend. If a session title sounds particularly interesting I almost always pick that one. I've even attended sessions that I didn't think I would ever use just so I could further my own education.
So my collegues and I hope to see you there. If you happen to be driving down to Bloomington by way of Brown County be sure to enjoy our beautiful scenery and our little historic town of Nashville.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
George A. Dunn and oldest child, Lucille ca. 1923
Another round of problems have surfaced with grandfather's records. For years I've tried to find a birth record for him. He was supposedly born in Hamilton County, Indiana on October 20, 1898. The neighboring counties were also checked: Boone and Tipton. The Dunn family was known to have lived in northwestern Hamilton County between Sheridan and Cicero so it was wise to check those two counties. If a doctor attended the birth he could have come from either of those areas too. The problem also came up with another one of his siblings so I'm assuming it was a home birth with no doctor attending.
Okay, so I don't have a birth record. What other records would be good to give a birth date and parents' names. There is the marriage record and the death record; these would be the next best alternatives. Going to get a copy of grandpa's death record was another big let down. It did give his birthdate so that would help. The problem was that the parents information was left blank. I thought in modern day America all information was required to be filled in on a death record. Grandpa died in 1978 in Bartholomew County. Isn't it required to have all this information on a death record?
The next record to try for was Grandpa's marriage record. He would have filled that in himself, and surely he would know who his parents were. So I made the trip to Johnson County, Indiana. On the marriage application it read George Allen Dunn to Goldie Edith Roberts. The birthdate was there. Okay, that's another piece of evidence for the birthdate. Reading on down Grandpa gave his father's name as George M. Dunn. Okay, that was right. Then he gave his mother as Rosa Woods. What! I well knew her last name was Ferguson. Where did he get Woods? I guess he could have been a little nervous before the nuptials and all of a sudden forgot his mother's name. Was it possible that the bride-to-be filled in the information and she just got it wrong. Grandpa, you're not helping!
Goldie Dunn and baby son, Vonda ca. 1923
Next let's try the obituary. Someone in the family most likely gave that information so maybe all the information I need will be there. So I trucked on over to the Johnson County library to look at newspaper microfilm. Looking for that ONE piece of information that I need maybe the obituary will be it. Reading on down the obituary it gave his birthdate and a birthplace, Boone County. Well, that will help. At last, a birthplace is stated in writing. Now for the parents - the father was stated as Mose Dunn. Mose was George M. Dunn's nickname, that will do. And, I do have his father's correct name on the marriage record. The mother's name was stated as Loretta Ferguson. Now what! Where did the name, Loretta, come from? Why is it so hard to find his mother's correct name? I've never came across so many errors and ommissions on any one person as Grandpa Dunn's records. You would think it would be harder to get information before the 1900s. I guess I'll have to treat this one the same way as Rose Etta Ferguson's records. I'll have to use all these records and try to explain the discrepancies on my application for the First Families of Jefferson County.
Then, I had another idea come to me. I do my best thinking in the morning it seems while I'm driving to work or cleaning house. What other documents could I find that would give me the information I needed? I need a document that Grandpa would have filled out himself. I need a document that requires complete information - a government document of some sort. Then it came to me - a document I have ordered only one time before, but it solved another big genealogy problem. I had gotten this document for another grandparent in the past that had a mysterious past and it helped to solve the mystery. I looked on-line. How can I order a Deceased Person's Social Security Application (form SSA-711)? I looked on Ancestry.com and got my Grandpa's social security death information. The link on Ancestry did not lead me directly to a place where I could order the application. So I clicked on Google and did the search. Now I just have to wait. I'm a little excited - please Grandpa I hope you got this one right! It may take a few weeks, but I need this document so I can wait patiently. I'll let you known how it turns out, keep your fingers crossed!