Sunday, January 22, 2012

Part I: My Research on Arthur Guy CHAMBERLIN

Other posts in this series:
Part II: My Research on Arthur Guy CHAMBERLIN
Part III: My Research on Arthur Guy CHAMBERLIN
Part IV: My Research on Arthur Guy CHAMBERLIN

Back in 2006, while talking to my cousin on the phone, she mentioned that she wanted to know more about her biological paternal grandfather, Arthur Guy CHAMBERLIN. She had dabbled in genealogy with me in the late 1990s or early 2000s, but she hadn't really researched her dad's biological paternal side of the family. Her mother and my mother are sisters, and she had mostly focused on that side of the family, as well as her father's mother's family. By 2006, my cousin had stopped doing genealogy research and had started focusing on her interest in scrapbooking, which is why she asked me if I could find anything more about Arthur for her.

Of course, the first thing I asked her was what she already knew about Arthur. I knew from my aunt and uncle's wedding announcement that my uncle's parents' were named as Mr. and Mrs. George E. MASON, so I knew that his mother had remarried. My cousin said that Arthur had married her grandmother, Christine Elizabeth CHATTERSON, but left the family when my uncle was very young. Based on my uncle's age, we figured that Arthur and Christine must have married sometime in the 1940s in Michigan, possibly St. Clair County, where my uncle was born and raised. After Arthur left, Christine remarried to George E. MASON, who raised my uncle as his own son. The only other info my cousin had was a funeral card from Arthur's funeral which stated that he was born 08 Feb 1923 and died 03 Nov 1984. It also stated that he was buried at White Chapel Cemetery in Troy, Oakland, Michigan.

The first thing I decided to do was look at the database "Michigan Deaths, 1971-1996" at
Name: Arthur G Chamberlin
Birth Date: 8 Feb 1923
Death Date: 3 Nov 1984
Gender: Male
Residence: East Point, Macomb, Michigan
Place of Death: East Point, Macomb, Michigan
As this database is only an index, it had very limited information. The only new pieces of information learned from the index was that he had lived and died in East Point, Macomb, Michigan, about 23 miles from where he was buried and 40 miles from where my uncle was born. East Point is now called "Eastpointe" and was formerly called "East Detroit." Another thing I found interesting about the index entry was that his name was spelled as CHAMBERLIN, while my uncle spells his name as CHAMBERLAIN.

I tried searching for Arthur in the 1930 census at, but I had no luck. There were a few Arthur Chamberlain/Chamberlin's living in Michigan, but none that were born around 1923.

Since I could find no other information about Arthur at, I decided to start searching on Google. There I found a website devoted to the descendants of Leo A. CHATTERSON, the father of Christine Elizabeth CHATTERSON, Arthur's ex-wife. This website had no information about Arthur other than his name and that he married Christine, but it did mention the names of Arthur and Christine's children, including a daughter named Alma that died 25 Sep 1996. It also mentioned a son named Tommy, which triggered a memory. I remembered my cousin telling me years earlier that Tommy had died when he was young in an accident of some sort. There was no death date listed for Tommy at the website. The other children mentioned were my uncle, James, and a second daughter, Betty. So, now I knew that Arthur and Christine had four children: Alma (d. 25 Sep 1996), Tommy, James, and Betty.

Since I was at a dead-end with Arthur until I could do some onsite research in Michigan, I decided to see what I could find out online about his associates, namely his ex-wife and children. I decided to check for his daughter, Alma, in the "Michigan Deaths, 1971-1996" database. I did not know her married name, but I knew her first name and date of death and had a hunch that she probably died in St. Clair County. Sure enough, I found an entry for Alma Pauline YOUNG who died 25 Sep 1996 in Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan.
Name: Alma Pauline Young
Birth Date: 17 Feb 1942
Death Date: 25 Sep 1996
Gender: Female
Residence: Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan
Place of Death: Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan
Based on my uncle's age, the age also seemed to match with the Alma I was looking for. I made a mental note to confirm with my cousin that this was her aunt.

I also searched for Arthur's son, Tommy/Thomas, in the Michigan deaths database at, but I couldn't find him. I wasn't sure if I would find him or not, as I had a hunch that he died prior to 1971. I seemed to remember my cousin saying that he was a teenager when he died, which would have put his death closer to the 1960s, assuming he was born in the 1940s. I also made a mental note to ask my cousin more about Tommy's death.

The CHATTERSON website had given Christine's date of birth as 23 Nov 1922 and her date of death as 12 Oct 1979 in Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan. I confirmed this with the Michigan deaths database at
Name: Christine E Mason
Birth Date: 23 Nov 1922
Death Date: 12 Oct 1979
Gender: Female
Residence: Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan
Place of Death: Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan
I also found George E. MASON's entry in the Michigan deaths database.
Name: George E Mason
Birth Date: 19 Apr 1920
Death Date: 2 May 1989
Gender: Male
Residence: Burtchville, St. Clair, Michigan
Place of Death: Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan
At this point, I felt that I had exhausted all of my online resources. Keep in mind that this was 2007 and FamilySearch had not yet released all of its wonderful Michigan databases. Some of you may be wondering why I didn't order a copy of Arthur's death record back in 2006. That would have likely given his parents' names. Well, to be honest, I wasn't that interested at the time and was mostly just doing this as a favor to my cousin. Also, I was trying to exhaust, which I had already paid for, and was waiting until I was able to take a trip to Michigan to do onsite research before pursuing the extra expense for a death record of a collateral relative. Usually, I would order a death record before doing onsite research, but I was going to Michigan regardless of whether I got any research done or not. Since I have family still living there, genealogy research is not my primary reason for going. So, in this case, travel to do onsite research was not really an extra expense.

Stay tuned to find out what I found during my research trip in August gets juicier....I promise.

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