Saturday, March 24, 2012

Part VI: Arthur CHAMBERLIN in the Census

Previous post in this series:
Part V: My Research on Arthur Guy CHAMBERLIN

Now that I had Arthur Chamberlin's parents' names (Martin William CHAMBERLAIN and Gertrude DEVERS), I could look for them in the census records. I had already looked for Arthur in the 1930 census (the first one he would have appeared in, since he was born in 1923) before my research trip to Michigan and couldn't find him. After my research trip, I decided to look for his parents in 1930. Maybe his name was indexed incorrectly, and I could find the family under his father's or mother's name.

Interestingly, the second time around, I did find part of Arthur's family in 1930. Remember how the death record of Arthur's father, Martin, said he was divorced at the time of his death in 1942? Well, I found Martin and two sons named Edward and Thomas living with Martin's widowed father, Edward F. Chambelain, at 206 Bruce St. in Marine City, St. Clair, Michigan.

 1930 U.S. census, St. Clair County, Michigan, population schedule, Marine City (Ward 3), enumeration district (ED) 24, sheet 13A, dwelling 315, family 317, Edward F. Chambelain household; digital images, ( : accessed 29 March 2008); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1024.

Where was Arthur and his mother, Gertrude? Were there any other missing siblings? Martin's marital status said that he was married, but we all know census records may not be accurate. Martin was age 46 (about two years off from the age at the time of his marriage) and worked as a caretaker of a summer resort. Edward was age 18 (born about 1912) and worked as a laborer in a creamery; Thomas was age 17 (born about 1913) and worked as an auto mechanic. Now we know that Arthur had at least two older brothers. Martin's father, Edward, was listed as age 75 (born about 1855 - about a year off from the age on his death record) and a janitor at the Masonic Hall. It's interesting to note that Edward (the younger) and Thomas were actually listed as sons of Edward (the older), but other records have confirmed they were sons of Martin and Gertrude.

I then searched for Martin and Gertrude in the 1920 census (prior to Arthur's birth in 1923), and this time, I found them together, once again in Marine City. 

1920 U.S. census, St. Clair County, Michigan, population schedule, Marine City (Ward 3), enumeration district (ED) 111, sheet 14B, dwelling 303, family 310, Phelix Chamberlain household; digital images, ( : accessed 24 March 2008); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 795.

This time the family lived at 206 Scott St. with Martin's widowed father, enumerated under his middle name as Phelix Chamberlain. Phelix was age 65 and a ship carpenter. Martin was age 37 and a salt block foreman. Also in the household were Gertrude, age 32; Edward, age 8; Thomas, age 6; Alice, age 4; and Albert, age 2. So now we know that Arthur had two additional siblings, Alice (born about 1915) and Albert (born about 1917). So where were Albert and Alice in 1930? With Arthur and Gertrude? Did Martin and Gertrude separate with him taking the older two children and her taking the younger three children?

Since Martin and Gertrude were married in 1908, I decided to go back another ten years and find them in 1910. This time, I found them living alone on Bruce St in Marine City. This was prior to Martin's mother passing away in 1914, so I imagine that Martin and Gertrude didn't move in with Martin's father until sometime after her death.

1910 U.S. census, St. Clair County, Michigan, population schedule, Marine City (Ward 3), enumeration district (ED) 104, sheet 11B, dwelling 242, family 246, Martin Chamberlain household; digital images, ( : accessed 28 March 2008); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 673.

Martin was age 27 and an oiler at a salt block. Gertrude was age 22. They had not had any children yet.

OK, so it looked like I still had some work to do to find Gertrude and the younger children in 1930. It would take several months, but I would eventually find them....

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Part V: My Research on Arthur Guy CHAMBERLIN

Previous post in this series:
Part IV:  My Research on Arthur Guy CHAMBERLIN
Next post in this series:
Part VI: Arthur CHAMBERLIN in the Census

Well, I know it has been awhile since I posted on Arthur and his family. Sorry for killing the momentum. I left off on my visit to the courthouse during my trip to St. Clair County, Michigan, in 2007. I promised to post the story about Arthur's son, Tommy, who died in an accident at the age of 15 in 1962. The family story was that he died in a car-related accident, and the death record at the courthouse confirmed this, but there were few details on the death record. I returned to the St. Clair County Library to search the newspaper for an article about his death. Here is what I found:
"Youth, 15, Killed By Auto After Falling In Street," The Port Huron (Michigan) Times Herald, 13 October 1962, p. 1.
A 15-year-old Port Huron boy was killed shortly after 7 p.m. Friday when police said he ran into Pine Grove Avenue near Whipple Street while playing, slipped and fell and was struck by a car driven by Mrs. Amelia Gossman, 36, of 2119 Church Street.
Thomas Chamberlin, son of Mr. and Mrs. George E. Mason, 2811 Wright Street, was dead on arrival at Port Huron Hospital.
Coroner Arthur B. Smith said Thomas died of a fractured neck.
Thomas was the sixth traffic fatality in the City since January and the thirty-fourth in St. Clair County this year.
Patrolmen Ronald Peterson and Frank Kovach said that Mrs. Gossman told them she was driving north on Pine Grove and that oncoming traffic was heavy.
Mrs. Gossman said that as she approached Whipple Street she heard what she thought was metal striking the pavement and thought she had run over a piece of steel in the street.
She stopped, got out of the car and saw several boys standing around the body of another boy at the rear of her car.
Police said Mrs. Gossman told them she did not see the Chamberlin boy.
Officers said a witness, Neil Gross, 14, of 1515 Whipple Street, told them that Thomas and another boy, Steve Ferguson, 1505 Whipple Street, were playing and chasing each other around when Thomas ran into the street and was struck.
Police said another witness, Loren K. Bluska, 39, of 628 Court Street, told them he was driving south on Pine Grove when he saw a boy being chased by another boy.
Bluska told officers the boy ran into the street and fell down, sliding on his side in front of an oncoming car.
Bluska said that as the boy sat up and tried to get out of the way he was struck by the left front of the car.
Police said Thomas was dragged 78 feet from the point of impact.
After taking a statement from Mrs. Gossman she was released, Police said.
Thomas was a ninth grade pupil at Port Huron High School.
Thomas was born Jan. 16, 1947 in St. Clair, and had lived in Port Huron the last six years.
He was a member of the Royal Neighbors of America.
Thomas is survived by his parents, three sisters, Mrs. Edward Young, Miss Christine Chamberlin, and Miss Patricia Mason, and a brother, James Chamberlin, all of Port Huron.
The remains are in the Arthur Smith Funeral Home where funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Friday.
Rev. Arthur Rock, pastor of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, will officiate.
Burial will be in Lakeside Cemetery.

Finally Visited the Old Homestead

March is flying by! I just realized I haven't posted anything since the March goals post at the beginning of the month. I just returned from a trip to Las Vegas to help my little brother move. He worked in the IT department at a casino here in Louisiana, and they recently promoted him to work at the corporate office in Vegas. The trip was a lot of fun because I had never been there before, but it sure feels good to be home again (my husband couldn't make the trip, so I greatly missed him!).

Why do I mention this and what does this have to do with my trip to the family homestead? Well, my brother lived with my parents two hours away from me in Louisiana, so my dad agreed to meet my husband and me halfway between their home and our home the night before we began our trip. It didn't make sense for my brother to drive east to get me because that would be in the opposite direction of our route. The halfway point just happens to be near the land my great-great-grandparents lived on in Scott, Louisiana, which my grandmother still owns. The land was owned by my great-great grandparents, Maurice BONEAUX and Marie Alice SONNIER, and it's possible that the land was previously owned by Maurice's parents, Dominique BONEAUX and Alida MOUTON. I need to research the land records at the Lafayette Parish Courthouse to verify this. There is currently a house and a barn located on the property. The house belonged to Maurice and Marie. The property was never sold and was passed down to my great-grandparents and then to my grandparents.

Originally, we were going to meet my dad in Lafayette, but my dad was running behind, so we drove a little further west to Scott and decided to stop at the house, since it was still daylight. When I had previously visited the area, the house was occupied by tenants, so I wasn't able to go inside. In December, my grandmother ended the lease and the tenants had to move. My husband was scared to go inside at first because the side door was unlocked and he was worried about squatters with weapons. I told him we were in the middle of the country, but he said that's how all true crime begins (in an area where you least expect it). After peeking in the windows for awhile, we decided it was safe to go inside (I was more worried about rodents).

Other than the front porch falling apart and the side door missing steps, the house was in decent shape inside. You can tell it has been added on to over the years. There is a room with several windows that was added on to the south side of the house off the kitchen. I suppose it was intended to be a second bedroom, or possibly even a living area. This is the room that the side door opens into. The floor is this room is a white linoleum tile (the same floor that is in the neighboring kitchen). Here are some pics of this room (it looks like the children leasing the house had a fun time drawing on the walls):


The front door opened into the living room. The living room was fairly small and had a Disney Princess poster still hanging on the wall. Makes me wonder if the family used this as a bedroom, since it was smaller than the added-on room above. The floor in the living room was wood. It could have been laminate, but it appeared to be real wood. I have a feeling it might be the original floor. The blinds were really torn up, and the floor had lots of scratches and nicks on it. There was a coat closet in the living room.

Just off the living room was the dining room. It appeared to be a little larger than the living room. It also had wood floors. The door in the picture below goes to the original bedroom.
The bedroom off the dining room had wood floors as well. The blinds in this room were torn up like the ones in the living room.
On the backside of the dining room was the kitchen. I'm beginning to wonder if the kitchen was added on later as well, especially since the bathroom is off the kitchen. I know kitchens have not always been attached to the house, and it has the same flooring as the second bedroom that was added on. There used to be a window unit above the sink, and now the window won't close. There is some insulation on the window that is stopping it from closing.
This is where the appliances used to be. My husband is standing in the doorway to the added-on bedroom.

The doorway on the back of the kitchen leads to the laundry area and a very small bathroom. There is also a back door that goes out to the attached carport. The carport is falling apart, so I didn't try this door.

My husband thinks I'm crazy, but I would like to fix this little house up. I don't want to live in it myself because it would be way too small for us, but I really like it and don't want it to fall apart. Next weekend I think I am going down there with a mop and a broom and some cleaners to see what I can do. Of course, there is probably lots more work that needs to be done than just cleaning, but it's a start. The house probably needs to be leveled. Someone probably needs to check it for termites too. We definitely need to paint. The porches obviously need to be fixed. We need to build a wheelchair ramp to help my grandmother get in the house. Overall, I think we probably need a home inspector to check it out and gives us his advice. My grandmother and sister are the only other two people even remotely interested in this house.

In the meantime, my grandmother is getting the whole property surveyed. She thinks it contains around 40 acres, but it has been so long since someone in the family familiar with the property was living, that we need a surveyor to help us. None of us live right in the area either, which makes it more difficult. I live about one hour east, and she lives about one hour west.

UPDATE: I previously mentioned a new blog on here about the land in Scott. For personal reasons, I've decided to make that blog private for now. Please email me at jtrahan81 at if you would like to be a follower.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bye, February! Hello, March!

I must say that I did much better with my February goals than my January goals. My only regret for February is that I only wrote three blog posts. However, blogging wasn't one of my goals, so I guess that won't count against me....LOL. Here is a recap of my goals and my updates in red.

February Goals:

  • Finish cleaning up the sources and events for the CHAMBERLAIN family and begin working on the CHATTERSON family. 
    • I finished this one right on time. I started the cleanup around the beginning of February or end of January, and just moved on to the Chatterson family this week. 
  • Look up my great-grandparents' and great-great-grandparents' siblings and their spouses and children in the SSDI, just in case access goes away at some point in the future. I really don't think that it will, but just in case...
    • Well, I got to the siblings of my great-grandparents (and even some of the siblings' descendants), but I didn't get to the siblings of my great-great-grandparents. My struggle with this is that my database in RootsMagic only includes part of my research. The rest is in my old Family Tree Maker database, and much of that did not include research on the siblings of my ancestors. To compensate, I've been using those "evil" unsourced online trees to obtain death dates for them.
  • Finish my posts on Arthur CHAMBERLIN and family.
    • This was an epic fail. On second thought, I guess blogging was included in my goals. I don't know what happened to February. Time got away from me. I guess I focused too much on the database cleanup process and the indexing (see below). 
  • Earn 300 points indexing at FamilySearch.
    • Did much better in this area compared to January. I actually got around 600 points total for the quarter, so I made up my slack in January. My goal is 900 points per quarter. I mostly indexed Texas death records. I noticed they had already been indexed, but then I saw a note somewhere that FamilySearch was trying to correct some problems with the initial indexing, so I assume this is why they were being re-indexed. I also indexed a few British census records, but I find these to be difficult because I'm not familiar with the place names and some of the occupations. 
  • Start my Organizing and Skillbuilding course through NIGS. 
    • I started this course. I need to catch up. I'm about a week or two behind. I think I'm okay, though, because it is an 8-week course with only 6 modules instead of 7. The main difference, however, between this and the previous course I took is that this course has more assignments per module. 
On a side note, I did accomplish part of my January goals. I managed to enter my marriage record into my database. I also managed to scan a few PERSI articles for a cousin, which I will enter into my database later. At least they are now scanned. I also wrote back the same cousin and even had lunch with my other cousin who lives near me. Better late than never to catch up on January goals.
March Goals:
  • Finish the database cleanup of sources and events for the CHATTERSON and related families. 
  • Visit the LSU Library to find a few obituaries and get back in the swing of Louisiana research in Baton Rouge. I haven't done any research here since I've been back.
  • Earn 300 more points in indexing.
  • Finish my posts on Arthur CHAMBERLIN and family.
  • Reply to at least three or four more cousins who have emailed me within the past few weeks.
  • Add at least three sources from my "to be entered" folder to my RootsMagic database.