Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Researching My Father's Life


embeddable family tree updated live from WikiTree





I've been reading lots of genealogy how-to books lately, and I'm learning more every day. I now know that ancestors need to be connected to their descendants by primary documents that record the events of their lives at the time of those events--birth, marriage, census records, and so on. Just because "Aunt Sally said so" isn't enough.

The beginning of the family tree for my father, Daniel L. Harris, appeared on this blog a couple of weeks ago. After much searching through U.S. Federal Census indexes, and some careful examination of the actual census pages, birth and death records, and family documents in my files, I have been able to officially add my father's grandparents--my great grandparents, at last!--to his tree.

As you can see, any changes I make on my WikiTree pages are automatically shown on the family trees here on the Remember blog. 

Using the information from all the documents, I was able to piece together a biographical timeline for my father's life. It's a dry outline, and really gives no idea of the personality of the man--his funny grin and the twinkle in his eye--but it does give a framework for his life that is a perfect start to further genealogical research. It also gives me a sense of how old he was when these events took place.

Here it is, complete with sources. Yes, I've learned to always cite my sources.

The twinkle in his eye...

My Aunt Faith; my mother, Elva; and my father, Dan Harris
Long Beach, California, some time in the 1960s

Biographical Outline:

Dan is born to Albert and Eva Ellis Harris, Aug. 2, 1907 in Worcester, Massachusetts. (2,3,4)

Albert, Eva, and Dan are shown as residing in Boston, Massachusetts in the 1910 U.S. Census. Dan is 2 years old. (5)

Albert, Eva, and Dan are shown as residing in Boston, Massachusetts in the 1920 U.S. Census. Dan is 12 years old. (6)

1928: Dan marries Marion Emily Foley in Boston, Massachusetts. Dan is 21. (7)

1932: Dan and Marion's daughter, Joan Patricia Harris, is born in Boston, Massachusetts. Dan is about 25 years old. (7)

Nov. 27, 1936: Dan applies for a Social Security Card [The Social Security Act was signed into law just the year before by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on Aug. 14, 1935]. He gives his address as 37 Snow St., Brighton, Massachusetts. He is 29 years old and working at the Copley Square Hotel, Huntington Ave., Boston, Massachusetts. (9)

April 15, 1937, Dan's occupation is Cabin Steward, according to his Continuous Discharge Book. Address is still 37 Snow St., Brighton, Massachusetts. Dan is 30 years old. (8)

Some time before 1940, Dan and Marion divorce. (7)

Dec. 21, 1940, Dan marries Elva Crabtree in Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada. He is 33 years old. (1)

Daniel appears as Head of Household, age 32, in Boston, Ward 4 in the 1940 U.S. Census. He gives "Waterville, Maine" as his last place of residence. His occupation is "waiter." Note: Only head of household was named in this census, not every name in the household. (10)

Dan and Elva live in Massachusetts from 1940 to 1942 (see citation for Marital Property Declaration form). (12)

Dan and Elva move to Maine, where they live from 1942 to 1945 (see citation for Marital Property Declaration form). (12)

Nov. 11, 1944, Dan and Elva's first daughter, Clair Harris Zarges, is born in Biddeford, Maine. The family resides 25 Sea View Ave., Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Dan is 37 years old. (11)

In 1945, Dan and Elva move to California, where they will reside for the rest of their lives (see citation for Marital Property Declaration form). They live first in Hunter's Point (1945-1949), at 1323 48th Ave., San Francisco (1949-1955), in an apartment in San Rafael for a year (1955-1956), then at 2733 Heatherstone Dr., Marinwood, San Rafael (1956 until Dan's death). (12)

Aug. 19, 1949, Dan and Elva's second daughter, Jean Lee Harris is born in San Francisco. Dan is 42 years old. (1)

Sept. 22, 1972, Dan dies of heart disease at age 65. The death certificate shows him as retired, after 36 years working at Geary Auto Parts in San Francisco [incorrect--see occupational history below]. He died at his home at 2733 Heatherstone Dr., San Rafael, California, where he had resided for 17 years, having lived in San Francisco before that for 11 years. (12)

Oct. 24, 1972: On a Marital Property Declaration form (see source citation below), Elva gives the following brief history of Dan's occupational career: 
1940-1942: Waiter 
1942-1945: Shipyard 
1945-1947: U.S. Naval Shipyard 
1947-1949: Shell Oil [running a gas station in San Francisco, California] 
1949-1957: Carpenter 
1957-1964: Geary Auto Parts 
1964- 1972: Retired (12)


Dan is buried at Mount Tamalpais Cemetery, 2500 West Fifth Street, San Rafael, California, U.S. The plot is located in the Garden of Devotion, Lot 96, Grave 6. (14)

Sources:

1. Family interviews.

2. "Massachusetts, Births, 1841-1915," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FXJ9-P8W : accessed 04 Dec 2013), Eva Ellis in entry for Daniel Harris, 1907.

3. Copy of record of birth from City Clerk Dept. City of Worcester, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, No. 1215, copy dated Jan. 15, 1969.

4. True copy of record of birth, C82253, issued Apr. 30, 1999, from the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Reg. no. 1622, Vol. 568, Page 497.

5. "United States Census, 1910," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M22S-ZHH : accessed 30 Nov 2013), Daniel L Harris in household of Albert Harris, Boston Ward 19, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States; citing sheet , family 48, NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1374634

6. "United States Census, 1920," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MFMT-GRR : accessed 30 Nov 2013), Daniel L Harris in household of Albert Harris, Boston Ward 14, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States; citing sheet , family 162, NARA microfilm publication T625, FHL microfilm 1820736.

7. Information about Dan's marriage to Marion Foley, and the birth of their daughter: Correspondence with their daughter (my half-sister) Joan Harris Foynes.

8. Dan's Continuous Discharge Book #168249, Issued by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Machine Inspection and Navigation, dated Apr. 15, 1937.

9. U.S. Social Security Act Application for Account Number 028-10-5567, dated Nov. 27, 1936.

10. "United States Census, 1940," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K4JV-H8N : accessed 30 Nov 2013), Daniel Harris, Ward 4, Boston, Boston City, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 15-163, sheet 14A, family 288, NARA digital publication of T627, roll 1662.

11. Birth certificate for Clair Marie Harris, Biddeford, Maine, Nov. 11, 1944.

12. Certificate of Death, Certified True Copy, State of California, Dept. of Health 2100-1057/275. Copy issued Dec. 18, 1984.

13. Marital Property Declaration Form, State of California. Information on the form was provided by Elva Crabtree Harris Rodriguez after Dan's death. Dated Oct. 24, 1972. The form lists, among other things, real property, the states in which they resided, and occupations for both Dan and Elva.

14. Mt. Tamalpais Cemetery sales agreement, Sept. 23, 1972.



2 comments:

  1. Thank you for taking on this massive project - this is invaluable information to have documented.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for taking on this massive project - this is invaluable information to have documented.

    ReplyDelete

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