Saturday, June 2, 2007

Finding JRH - looking for siblings in 1930 census

I'm helping one of my colleagues find data online to try to find what happened to her John Robinson Hall (JRH), born 1886 in Philadelphia PA). I posted "what we knew" here. The initial research summary is here, and the census search for him, his parents and siblings is here.

The next step in the search is to try to find JRH's siblings in the 1930 census - that would give us more names to find an obituary for and perhaps identify relatives of his that might still be living (and have information about him).

From the 1900 and 1910 census records, we know that his siblings are:

1. Edward Hall, born Feb 1884 in PA

2. William Robinson, born Jul 1888 in PA

3. Martha Robinson, born May 1890 in PA

4. Florence Robinson, born Oct 1895 in PA

5. Warren Robinson, born Mar 1897 in PA

6. Edith Robinson, born 1906 in PA

In the 1930 US census, we were able to find the following families:

In Ward 22 of Philadelphia, Philadelphia county, PA (NARA T626, Roll 2104, ED 628, Pg 12A):

* Warren Robinson - head, age 32, married, at age 24, born PA, parents born NIreland/PA
* Winifred Robinson - wife, age 30, married, at age 22, born PA, parents born NIreland/NIreland
* Mary J. Robinson - daughter, age 8, born PA, parents born PA/PA
* William Robinson - son, age 4, born PA, parents born PA/PA

In Ward 22 of Philadelphia, Philadelphia county, PA (NARA T626, Roll 2104, ED 622, Pg 49A):

* Harry Pfaff - head, age 36, married, at age 29, born PA, parents born Germany/Germany
* Florance Pfaff - wife, age 34, married, at age 28, born PA, parents born Ireland/PA
* Florence Hope Pfaff - daughter, age 3, born PA, parents born PA/PA
* William J. Robinson - bro-in-law, age 42, born PA, parents born Ireland/PA

Remember back in the second post, we found that Mrs. Harry G. Pfaff was the next-of-kin for John Robinson Hall in 1942 on the World War II draft registration card? And here we find his step-sister Florence married to Harry Pfaff (indexed on Ancestry as Harry Pfoff of course, just to throw us off the trail for a minute or two - a search using Flor* and her birth year was successful).

We looked for Edith Robinson in Philadelphia, with no results that fit the known information. We looked for Edith (no surname) in Philly Ward 22 and born 1906 +/- 2 years and had 5 hits, but none fit the known information. There were 313 women named Edith born 1906 +/- 2 years who were wives in Philadelphia in 1930!

We tried for Martha (no surname) too - with no positive results. There were 8 in Ward 22, and 585 in all of Philadelphia. It is too common a name!

That leaves Edward Hall, born in 1884. We couldn't find him in 1910 or 1920, but we tried 1930 anyway, assuming he could be anywhere in the USA. There were 10 Edward Hall's born 1884 +/- 2 years in PA, but none of them fit the known information.

In summary - we have at least three siblings living in 1930 in Philadelphia, and have identified at least 3 children of those siblings (although only one of them is male - the females are much harder to trace, as we all know!).

My recommendation for the next step in the search is to find newspaper obituaries for John Robinson Hall, or for his step-father William Robinson, mother Mary Robinson, sister Florence Pfaff, or brothers William J. Robinson and Warren Robinson to see if they list John Robinson Hall in a certain location.

The problem with this strategy is that it is going to take some time to find obituaries in the Philadelphia newspapers since we don't have any death dates for any of these people. It will be impossible if there is not an index for Philadelphia newspapers. I looked at the Philadelphia Free Library site and

An alternative plan is to search Philadelphia city directories for all of these people and note when they "disappear" from the directories. This might define an approximate death year, but they might have just moved away rather than died.

Another alternative is to request death records from Pennsylvania for John Robinson Hall, or his parents and siblings. They would give us a death date that might help find an obituary. The problem with this alternative is that it is costly to search PA death records when you don't know the death date.

Any comments on the search so far and the plan for further research?

No comments: