Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: My Maternal Grandfathers

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This is a pic of my maternal grandfathers, John Peter Pemberton (1928-1970) and Clifford Robert Drouillard (1932-2009). They were friends for several years before John Peter passed away at age 41 from cancer on 12 Oct 1970. Clifford met John Peter through my grandmother, whom he worked with at the Prestolite factory in Port Huron, Michigan, in the 1960s. Clifford and his wife began bowling with my grandmother and John Peter. After John Peter died, Clifford's marriage ended in divorce, and he and my grandmother married on 22 May 1972.

In this picture, they are in their bowling outfits, so this must have been taken after a bowling game. It looks like they are at someone's house celebrating. This was probably taken sometime between 1967 and 1969. John Peter is on the left, and Clifford is on the right.

Thanks to Alanna at A Twig in My Tree, who gave me this idea to post the pic of my two grandpas together. See her two grandpas here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: John Peter Pemberton's Death Certficate II

I know that I promised this post about two weeks ago, but I have been terribly busy studying for the CPA exam. I expect the CPA exam to consume most of my life between now and next spring. I will try to blog at least once or twice a week during the next six months or so.

Also, I've decided to change the format of my Treasure Chest Thursday posts a bit. Instead of focusing on record type for the series, I am going to focus on people. For instance, I will first display all the records from my "treasure chest" on John Peter Pemberton, my maternal grandfather. Then I will focus on all the records of my maternal grandmother, paternal grandfather, and so forth.

Last time, I posted about the death record of my maternal grandfather, John Peter Pemberton, that was recorded in St. Clair County, Michigan. This week I will post the death record that was recorded in the city of Detroit. Yes, the man had two death records, for which I haven't quite figured out the reason.

I found this death record one day in 2007 or 2008 when I was at my maternal grandmother's house. I mentioned that I was going to have my mom sign off on some paperwork so that I could get my maternal grandfather's service records from the military personnel office in St. Louis, MO. My grandmother said that she probably had his service records, and she pulled out lots of old papers from some files in her bedroom. Well, this death record happened to be one of the papers. I was very happy, as this saved me about $25 from having to order it from the city of Detroit. In fact, I wasn't even sure if there was a record in Detroit, since I had found the one in St. Clair County, so this did confirm for me that there were two death records in two separate jurisdictions. Below is a transcription of the record:

Detroit Department of Health
Vital Statistics Division
Local File Number 14318
Certificate of Death
Deceased Name: John Peter Pemberton
Sex: Male
Date of Death: Oct. 12, 1970
Race: White
Age: 41
Date of birth: Nov. 18, 1928
County of death: Wayne
City of death: Detroit
Inside city limits: Yes
Hospital or other institution: Henry Ford Hospital
State of birth: Michigan
Citizen of what country: U.S.A.
Married, never married, widowed, divorced: Married
Surviving Spouse: Violet Currie
Social Security Number: [blank - handwritten in top righthand corner as 368-24-1966]
Usual Occupation: Engineer
Kind of business or industry: Grand Trunk Railway
Residence State: Michigan
Residence County: St. Clair
Residence City: Port Huron
Inside city limits: Yes
Street and number: 1828 Stone St.
Father-Name: Jack B. Pemberton
Mother-Maiden Name: Mabel E. Beedon
Informant Name: Violet Pemberton
Mailing Address: 1828 Stone St., Port Huron, Mich. 48060
Immediate cause of death: Adenocarcinoma of lung
Approximate interval between onset and death: 8 months
Autopsy: No
Physician attended deceased from Mar. 7, 1970 to Oct. 12, 1970
Last saw deceased alive on Oct. 12, 1970
Physician did view body after death
Death occurred at 12:49 PM
Certifier: Robert M. O'Bryan, M.D.
Signed Oct. 12, 1970
Mailing address: Henry Ford Hospital, 2799 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, Michigan 48202
Burial, cremation, removal: Burial
Cemetery or crematory: Caswell
Location: St. Clair Co. Mich.
Date: Oct. 15, 1970
Funeral home: Pollock-Jowett Funeral Home, 910 Harper Ave., Pt. Huron
Received by registrar Oct. 18, 1970

This obviously was the first death record created. It was received by the registrar in the city of his death only 6 days after his death. The one in St. Clair County was not recorded until 3 months after his death. This one is so similar to the one in St. Clair County, with the exact same mistakes made on the parents' names, that I really think the one in St. Clair County was merely copied from this one.

I noticed that the social security number was missing from the death record. I checked the social security death index at, searching by his name and then by his social security number handwritten by my grandmother on the death certificate. I can't find anything. Was his death never reported to the social security office? It seems odd that it wouldn't have been reported because he left behind six minor children. My mom was only 11 years old. Wouldn't my grandmother have received survivors' benefits from social security for his dependents? Or, is he just missing from the online social security death index? This definitely calls for some investigation. Why have I never noticed this before? I guess I never thought to look for his SS-5, since I have so much other info and sources for him. I wonder if his work for the railroad complicated things because prior to 1951, railroad workers had their own retirement insurance system. But, in 1951, railroad workers with less than 10 years of experience became eligible for social security. He started working for the railroad in 1950. aunt from Michigan is in town for a month visiting (I do have one cousin here in North Carolina, coincidentally). She is my mom's oldest sister and was 18 and already married when their dad died. She may remember if my grandmother ever received survivor benefits for the younger children. I'm going to have to pick her brain this weekend.

I'm sure glad I started participating in the Treasure Chest Thursday series. It's making me see holes I never noticed before.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Report on FGS 2010 in Knoxville - Part III

Ok, so I know everyone has moved past the FGS Conference last month and are now blogging about other things. I'm trying to savor the moments I had there by dragging out my posts. Actually, the truth is that as of two weeks ago, I have started studying for the CPA exam. That has taken up the majority of my time, which is why I haven't blogged in about two weeks. Now, if I could only remember what I did on the last day of the conference....

Well, lucky for you guys, I have a pretty good memory. This is the only day of the conference where I made it to an 8 AM session. I attended the War of 1812 session by Christine Rose. Missy Corley of Bayside Blog was in attendance. I really wanted to see Christine Rose, which is the only reason I woke up so early. I love her book on courthouse records, so I figured her lecture would be great as well. She did not disappoint. She described the causes of the War and also informed us about bounty land records, including unindexed bounty land warrant applications based on service between 1812 and 1855, which are available at the National Archives.

I really wanted to attend the 9:30 AM session on North Carolina and Tennessee land grant processes, but I had to skip breakfast in order to make it in time for the 8 AM session. I was so hungry that I had to leave the conference and walk to Pete's for breakfast, so I had to miss the 9:30 session. I arrived back at the convention center around 10 AM, so I had an hour to browse the exhibit hall. I spoke with Louise St. Denis, the director of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. I had been eying their 40 course certificate program for awhile, so I talked to her about the cost of this program. She told me that she would be raising prices around September 1, and that there was a 10% discount and one free course for conference attendees. She also told me that I could take as long as I wanted to complete the certificate program. Hmmm...something to think about.

Next, I attended the 11 AM session on organizing materials electronically by Josh Taylor of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. The most important concept I learned in this session was about metadata. Metadata is data about data. Josh showed us a spreadsheet that he keeps about the kinds of documents he has found on an individual or family. The spreadsheet has the name of the digital file, format of the digital file, the document name/type, individuals referenced in the document, repository, source citation, date created/found, and date edited. I need to do an analysis to determine whether my Clooz software is sufficient for storing metadata, or if I need to create spreadsheets as well. I have an inkling that Clooz is sufficient, but the accountant in me loves spreadsheets.

After the 11 AM session, all the geneabloggers ate lunch down in Market Square. This was our last day together :(.

I decided to skip the 2 PM session to further contemplate and calculate the cost of signing up for the 40 course certificate program at the National Institute. I finally decided that it would be a great deal financially to at least sign up now and receive the 10% discount plus the free course, especially since prices were on the rise. I knew I would be studying for the CPA exam soon and that I wouldn't have much time for anything else, but if I could take ten years to complete the certificate, I might as well sign up now to receive the special discounts. So I returned to the exhibit hall and signed up for the certificate program in American Records.

My final two sessions I attended were on finding Kentucky Civil War ancestors and on finding records for ancestors that worked on the railroad.

That evening, I attended a party at the home of Missy Corley's sister, who conveniently lives in Knoxville. I picked up Amy Coffin of The We Tree Genealogy Blog from her hotel, and we headed to Missy's sister's house. (Most of the other geneabloggers had left to head back home after lunch). We had some of Missy's yummy taco recipe that was passed down from her grandmother. The party was really fun, and we got to meet some of her sister's community theatre friends. We also met up with Madaleine Laird of kInfolit at the party. This was a great way to end a great weekend.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: John Peter Pemberton's Death Certificate

This is my first Treasure Chest Thursday post. I've decided to first display the death records of my grandparents who are deceased (three of four), and then work backwards each week to display the death records of my great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, etc. This exercise will also help me see where I have holes in my research. Once I finish with the death records, I will move on to marriage records, birth records, etc.

The first post here showcases the death record of my maternal grandfather, John Peter Pemberton. I chose him first because a) he died first of all my grandparents and b) I'm too lazy to scan the other death records right now. This series of posts will also inspire me to scan more documents.

I ordered this death record from the St. Clair County Clerk in Port Huron, Michigan, in 2006. He did not die in St. Clair County, but he was a resident of St. Clair County at the time of death. I was actually surprised to find a death record here. I knew from his obituary that he died in Detroit, so I assumed I would find the death record in Wayne County. One day while searching online, I found the death index for St. Clair County, with his name included. This is when I decided to order the record from St. Clair County to see what it contained.

Full name of deceased: John Peter Pemberton
Record No.: 12-557
Date of death: October 12 1970
Date of birth: November 18 1928
Age of deceased: 41 years
Male or female: Male
White, black, mulatto, etc: White
Marital status: Married - Violet Currie
Name of informant: Violet Pemberton
Address: Port Huron, Mich.
Place of death: Wayne Co.
Birth place of deceased: Michigan
Occupation of deceased: Engineer
Father's name: Jack B. Pemberton
Birthplace or residency: --
Mother's name: Mabel E. Beedon
Birthplace or residency: --
Cause of death: Adenocarcinoma of lung
Recorded: January 11, 1971

The names of my grandfather's parents are not quite correct. His father was John Vital "Jack" Pemberton, but I guess "V" for Vital could be confused with a middle initial of "B." His mother was Mabel Ellen Crysler. Her second husband's surname was Beedon, not her maiden name. She was married to Daniel Robert Beedon at the time of her son's death, so perhaps my grandmother, the informant, didn't realize that she was supposed to give the maiden name of her mother-in-law instead of the current name. In her defense, I do have to say that this record just says "mother's name" and not "mother's maiden name." Perhaps it wasn't asking for maiden name.

As I was transcribing this death record here, I noticed for the first time the lag time between when he died and when the death record was recorded. It was about 3 months. As stated in the death record, he died in Wayne County (Detroit). I have a hunch that this was recorded in St. Clair County because this is where he resided and where the property he owned was located. Since it took three months from the time of his death to record it in St. Clair County, perhaps this death record was recorded for purposes of a probate. This reminds me that I need to search the probate records in St. Clair County for his probate.

I also noticed that his parents' birthplaces are missing. Perhaps my grandmother didn't know where they were born. I would say that maybe she was too distraught to remember, but since this was recorded three months after the death, I would think that the initial stress of losing a loved one would have subsided. I know that when she died in 2008, of course they called me into the meeting room at the funeral home to answer the questions about her parents' birthplaces, and any other day I could have told you the exact town of her mother's birthplace in Canada, but at that moment, I could only remember the county because my mind went blank with the stress that had ensued after learning of her death at 3 AM that morning.

Already, this exercise has proved useful. Stay tuned next week for the Wayne County death record of John Peter Pemberton that I found in my grandmother's papers after I had already ordered this one.