Friday, April 20, 2012

Dear Randy - Help Me Find Donna's Father's Name

I received an email today from one of my geneablogging colleagues, asking for help on a San Diego person.  I have substituted for the names and available data, but I want to demonstrate how I go about finding possible living persons using the resources that I have available.  If readers have additional suggestions, I would appreciate hearing them.

A)  The known information:  Donna Jean Logan was born 1 November 1950 in San Diego County, with a  mother's maiden name of Reagan (per the California Birth Index, 1905-1995 on Ancestry.   Her mother's first name was probably Betty Jo.

B)  I checked these resources online:

1)  Search San Diego Union newspapers from 1895 to about 1980 (search for articles or obituaries for Donna and/or Betty) on GenealogyBank:

*  Searched for [Donna Logan] and did not find a record that fits.
*  Searched for [Betty Reagan] and [Betty Logan] and did not find a record that fits.

2)  San Diego Union-Tribune newspapers from 1983 to 2012 (search for articles or obituaries for Donna and/or Betty).  These records are on Newsbank (, accessed using SD U-T subscription):

*  Searched for [donna + logan + betty] and received 87 matches.  Searched all of them for [donna] and did not find an article or obituary that fit.

3)  Search All newspapers on GenealogyBank :

*  Search for [betty + reagan + logan] and got three matches, none fit.

4)  Search California Marriage Index 1960-1985 on

*  Donna A Logan (age 17) married Frederick L Ruiz (age 19) on 6 Oct 1968 in San Diego City.
*  No other obvious Donna J Logan or Donna J Ruiz noted.

5)  Search California Divorce Index 1966-1984 on

*  Donna A. Logan and Frederick Ruiz divorced in June 1969.
*  Betty Logan - no divorce listed in San Diego County

6) Search Social Security Death Index on

*  Searched for a Donna born 1 Nov 1950.  7 matches, hard to tell which one might be her.
*  Searched for a Betty Logan born 1915-1935.  244 matches, 28 died in California.  2 in San Diego County.  Impossible to tell if any are her.

7)  Search California Death Index, 1940-1997 on Rootsweb:

*  Searched for [Donna] born 1950 in CA with mother's maiden name of [Reagan] - no matches
*  Searched for [Betty Logan] with father's name of [Reagan] - no matches.

8)  Searched San Diego City Directories on for San Diego (any Logan with Betty as a wife]:

*  1950 San Diego City Directory:   no Logans with Betty as a wife

*  1953 San Diego City Directory:  Jas M Logan (Betty) r Palm City

*  1956  San Diego City Directory:  Donald L Logan (Betty M) h 3924 Newton Ave
*  1956 San Diego City Directory:  Jas Logan (Bettye N) r Palm City
*  1956 San Diego City Directory:  John L Logan (Betty) firefighter h3950 Baker

*  1959 San Diego City Directory:  John L Logan (Betty M) aircraft worker h 3950 Baker

*  No San Diego City Directories are available on between 1960 and 1975.

*  1975 San Diego Phone Directory:  Mrs Betty Logan 3950 Baker
*  1975 San Diego Phone Directory:  no Donna Logan or Donna Ruiz listed

10)  Look for John Logan on all of the above databases.  Nothing really fit.

From all of the above, done in about one hour, I developed a hypothesis:

Since Donna J. Logan who married Ruiz in 1968 in San Diego County is probably the one born in 1950, it is likely that Donna's parents resided in San Diego during the period 1950-1968, and probably longer.  Based on that, Donna Logan's father may be John L. Logan, husband of Betty Logan.  He may have died between 1959 and 1975 since Betty is listed as Mrs. Betty Logan in the 1975 directory.  A check of the California Death Index shows: 7 John Logan entries, but none died between 1959 and 1975.  Perhaps Betty was divorced... There was no divorce for John and Betty in the California Divorce Index, 1966-1984; perhaps it was before 1966.  A caveat:  If Donna's mother's name was not Betty, then the above does not apply!

NOTE:  I changed names, dates and street names on all of the above, so please don't spend time looking using the names I used above.

What other online resources would you use to find records for the father of Donna and the husband of Betty?  Please make suggestions in Comments and I'll check them out and add information to this post as time permits.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Sharon said...

What about a birth announcement for Donna in 1950? The notice might just say "girl" so searching by the name Donna might not find her.

Anonymous said... might have burial information for the parents; if so, you might find family information posted, perhaps even an obituary, that could help. B Larson

Anonymous said...

Randy, I've had good luck searching real estate records -- deeds, powers of attorney, etc. I found San Diego County has on-line records from 1/4/1982 to 4/19/2012.

Hope this helps!

--Barbara in Raleigh, NC

Anonymous said...

How about doing just a basic google search "Full Name Here", or searching facebook or other social media?

Anonymous said...

Find A Grave

Unknown said...

without directories, I would have not known when my gr-gr-grandparents got married. They are a wealth of information. As you tie the clues such as: when someone new is in the house, some leaves, the family is no longer at that address, and much more, you can start to find other documents that help piece family history together.