Thursday, May 31, 2007

Finding JRH - another piece of the puzzle

I'm helping one of my colleagues find data online to try to find what happened to her John Robinson Hall (born 1886). I posted "what we knew" here. The last known record was in September 1918 in Los Angeles CA (his World War I draft registration card).

At the library on Wednesday, we went methodically through the California Death Records - at There are three databases there - for 1905 to 1929, 1930 to 1939, and 1940-2000. The first two are images of alphabetical lists and are not searchable, except by surname. The 1940 to 2000 database is searchable. Unfortunately, we did not find a likely John Robinson Hall (or John R., or J. Robinson, etc.) in the listings. Perhaps he left California?

Then we methodically searched looking for "John Robinson Hall" or "J. Robinson Hall" or "Robinson Hall." There were some entries in the census records, newspaper records and vital records, but they were not the correct person.

However, there was an entry in the "World War II Draft Registrations" for a John Robinson Hall residing in Philadelphia PA in 1942. The image is below:

Of course, this is one of those images where the back of the card doesn't match the person on the front of the card. But we learned a lot from JRH's card, including:

1) He resided in Philadelphia PA at 214 West Mt. Pleasant Avenue in 1942.

2) The birth date is consistent with the birth date on his World War I draft registration - 21 March 1886 in Philadelphia PA.

3) His next of kin is "Mrs. Harry G. Pfaff" at the same address - who is she?

4) He is employed at F.W. Baer & Son in Philadelphia - I wonder what this company did?

5) The handprinting on the card (by JRH) and the signature of JRH are very similar to that on the World War I draft registration card.

Based on all the points of similarity, this is Joan's John Robinson Hall. So we have moved the "Last Known Record" date up to 1942, and JRH is residing in his home town - Philadelphia PA with the Harry G. Pfaff family. Is that a sister's family? We still don't know who his siblings are - but we will try to find out!

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