Saturday, March 14, 2009

Archie's Siblings: Alexander Currie

This is a continuance in my series about my great-grandfather, Archie Currie, and his siblings. Previously, I have blogged about Ervin and Bertha, Archie's older brother and sister. This blog is about another older brother, Alexander Currie. Alexander is the only sibling of Archie that my grandmother, Violet Mae Currie, remembered. Violet was Archie's only surviving child. She told me that she remembered her Uncle Alex and Aunt Minnie, who lived on a farm in Melvin, Sanilac, Michigan. They had a son named Donald, who was signifcantly older than Violet. Alex died around 1940-1945. My grandmother remembered attending the funeral and that Donald had been drunk during the funeral. She said her dad had to leave the funeral home for a little while and told her and her friend to watch over things and make sure Donald didn't cause a scene.

The earliest evidence I have of Alexander is his birth record, which I found at's "Ontario, Canada Births 1869-1909." Alexander Curry was born 11 Sep 1879 in South Dorchester, Elgin, Ontario, Canada to Alexander Curry, farmer, and his wife, Mary Raymond.

Ontario Registrar General, birth certificate 4710 (1879), Alexander Curry; digital image, "Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1909," ( : accessed 14 Mar 2009); citing microfilm publication MS 929, roll 37, Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

I do not have any other record of Alexander until his marriage to Minnie Land in 1909. Alexander Curry and Minnie Land married on 24 May 1909 in Sandusky, Sanilac, Michigan. Alexander was a 29-year-old farmer from Maple Valley, Sanilac, Michigan. Minnie was 24 years old (born abt 1885) and also from Maple Valley. Alexander's age supports the birth date given in his birth record. Alexander's birth place was given as Canada, and his parents as Sandy Curry and Mary Brown (should have been Mary Raymond). Minnie's birth place was given as Romeo, Michigan, and her parents as Channcy Land and Blonney Van Schriber. Neither Alexander nor Minnie had been previously married.

Michigan Department of Vital Records, Marriage Registrations, 1909, 5: 9, no. 630, Curry-Land; digital image, "Michigan Marriages 1868-1925," FamilySearch Labs ( : accessed 14 Mar 2009).

About a year after their marriage, Alex and Minnie Currie appear in the 1910 U.S. Census in Maple Valley, Sanilac, Michigan, with son Theodore. They were living with the family of David E. Laidlaw, and Alexander was working as a farm laborer. Minnie was working as a servant, probably a housekeeper for the Laidlaw family. Alex was age 31 and Minnie was age 34, which seems in conflict with her age of 24 on her marriage record just one year prior. Alex's birth place was given as Canada, as were his parents' birth places. Minnie's birth place was given as Michigan, while her father's birth place is given only as U.S. and her mother's as Canada. Theodore's age was given as 0, so I'm assuming this means he was born in 1910. His birthplace is given as Michigan.

1910 U.S. census, Sanilac County, Michigan population schedule, Maple Valley, enumeration district (ED) 146, sheet 3B, dwelling 61, family 66, Alex Currie; digital images, ( : accessed 14 Mar 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 674.

Alex is next found 8 years later on his WWI draft registration card. His name was given as Sandy Alexander Currie, but I know Sandy is a nickname for Alexander. He was now living in Melvin, Sanilac, Michigan, which is where my grandmother had remembered him living. His birthday was given as 11 Sep 1918 on the record, but obviously the year of birth is incorrect, as the draft card is dated 12 Sep 1918. The day and month match that found on his birth record. His age was also given incorrectly as age 45 because he was only 39 years old in 1918. He worked as a railroad section man for the Pere Marquette Railroad Company in Melvin. His nearest relative was Minnie Currie of Melvin.

"World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," database and images, ( : accessed 14 Mar 2009), Sandy Alexander Currie, Sandusky, Sanilac County, Michigan; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, NARA microfilm publication M1509, roll 1682814.

In January 1920, Elick and Minnie Curry were still living in Melvin with son, Donald. Elick was a 46-year-old farm laborer born in Canada. His age is again given incorrectly, as he was only 40 years old in January 1920. His father's birthplace was given as Canada and his mother tongue as Scotch, and his mother's birthplace was given as Canada and her mother tongue as English. Elick immigrated in 1885 and was naturalized in 1890. Minnie's age also seems incorrect at age 51, as she would have been about 34-44 years old. Her birthplace was given as Michigan, as were her parents' birthplaces. Donald was age 10 and was born in Michigan.

1920 U.S. census, Sanilac County, Michigan population schedule, Melvin, enumeration district (ED) 164, sheet 11A, dwelling 33, family 33, Elick Curry; digital images, ( : accessed 14 Mar 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T625, roll 797.

In April 1930, Alexander and Arminda A. Currie are found again in Melvin with son, T. Donald. Donald's first name must have been Theodore, the child's name enumerated with Alex and Minnie in 1910. Alexander was a 62-year-old laborer at odd jobs. Again, his age is given incorrectly, as he was only 50 years old in April 1930. His birthplace, as well as his parents' birthplaces, was given as Canada. Minnie's age was given as 51 years old and her birth place, as well as her parents' birthplaces, as Michigan. Alex's age at first marriage was given incorrectly as 41 and Minnie's incorrectly as 30. This time Alexander's immigration year was given as 1873 and his status as naturalized. However, he was not even born in 1873. T. Donald's age was given as 19 and his occupation as farm laborer.

1930 U.S. census, Sanilac County, Michigan population schedule, Melvin, enumeration district (ED) 33, sheet 1A, dwelling 5, family 5, Alexander Currie; digital images, ( : accessed 14 Mar 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 1028.

I have not yet found Alexander's death record, but I haven't tried very hard to find it. I need to search the index of deaths on the FHL microfilm from Sanilac County. His correct immigration year is probably 1885, as the last known sibling I can find born in Canada was Bertha, born about 1884 (according to her marriage and census records), and the first known sibling I can find born in Michigan is Ervin, born about 1885 (according to his birth record). Alex likely immigrated with his parents in 1885 as a young boy. I would also like to find Alex's obituary, which was probably published in the Brown City Banner, which is housed at the Library of Michigan in Lansing. But first I will have to find the death record before I can look for an obituary.

Seeking more information on Donald, I've found a death record and obituary for him in St. Clair County, Michigan, just south of Sanilac County. His death record is transcribed here (St. Clair County, Michigan, Death Book 14: 313, Theodore T. Currie; County Clerk, Port Huron):

Decedent: Theodore T. Currie
Date of death: 12 Aug 1980
Place of death: Port Huron
SS#: 383-10-6914
DOB: 13 Apr 1910
Birthplace: Michigan
Sex: M
Race: W
Marital Status: Widowed
Cause of death: Metastic carcinoma of prostate
Age: 70
Occupation: Sweeper
Father: Alex Currie
Mother: Minnie Lamb
Informant: Robert Benjamin of Marlette, Mi.

His obituary is also transcribed below ("Donald T. Currie," obituary, The Times Herald (Port Huron, Michigan), 13 August 1980, p. 10C.):

Flynn Township -- Donald T. Currie, 70, of 4126 Montgomery Road, died Tuesday, Aug. 12, 1980, in Mercy Hospital, Port Huron, after a short illness.

He was born April 13, 1910, in Melvin, and lived in Sanilac County all of his life.

Mr. Currie was a retired employee of the Yale Rubber Co.

He is survived by cousins.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday in the Carman Funeral Home, Brown City. Elder John Murray, pastor of the Valley Center Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, will officiate. Burial will be in Melvin Cemetery.

Funeral home visiting hours are from 7 to 9 p.m. today and 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday.

It seems somewhat sad to me that Donald had no survivors except some unnamed cousins. From the birth date given in the obituary, it appears that the 1910 census was taken only 9 days after Donald's birth, which must be why his age is listed as 0.

In summary:

11 Sep 1879 - Alexander Curry is born in South Dorchester, Elgin, Ontario, to Alexander Curry, a farmer, and his wife, Mary Raymond

24 May 1909 - Alexander Curry marries Minnie Land in Sandusky, Sanilac, Michigan. Alexander was a 29-year-old farmer living in Maple Valley, Sanilac, Michigan.

13 Apr 1910 - Alexander's son, Theodore Donald Currie, is born in Sanilac County, Michigan. Alexander is 30 years old.

Apr 1910 - Alex and Minnie Curry, with their son, Theodore, appear in the census in Maple Valley in the home of David E. Laidlaw. Alex is a 30-year-old farm laborer.

12 Sep 1918 - Alexander "Sandy" Currie registers for the WWI draft. He was a 39-year-old section man for the Pere Marquette Railroad living in Melvin, Sanilac, Michigan.

Jan 1920 - Elick and Minnie Curry appear in the census in Melvin, Sanilac, Michigan, with their son, Donald. Elick is a 40-year-old farm laborer.

Apr 1930 - Alexander and Arminda A. Currie appear in the census with their son, T. Donald Currie, in Melvin. Alexander is a 50-year-old laborer at odd jobs.

Abt 1940-1942 - Alexander dies. He is about 60-62 years old. My grandmother remembers the funeral being when she was about 10-12 years old. The funeral was in Sanilac County.

12 Aug 1980 - Alexander's son, Theodore "Donald" Currie, dies in Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan.

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