Tuesday, May 28, 2019

"A Mother's Love ..... or Something Else" by Peter E. Small: Prologue

Genea-Musings reader Peter E. Small solved a genealogical mystery and wrote a report about it, and I offered to publish his work on my blog.  This will be a multi-part series posted over several weeks - probably on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


A Mother’s Love…..or something else?
 A True Genealogical Mystery Solved

 Copyright © 2019 Peter E. Small All Rights Reserved


 While researching my family history I came upon a person, Paul C. Small, who was recorded in the 1910 and 1920 Census of Oakland, California as being a son of my grandfather’s eldest brother Austin Manford Small. After exhaustive searches using every source and technique available to me I was not able to find hide nor hair of this purported son.

(1920 U.S. Census, Oakland, Alameda County, California)

 There were two other sons, Lester A. ("Leslie" in 1920 census) and Frederick B. ("Brewer" in 1920 census), recorded as living with Austin and his self described “wife” Carrie in those same two censuses. I had researched and verified that they were indeed the sons of Austin Manford Small by two different wives. Austin’s first wife and mother to Lester had died in Seattle, Washington. Frederick was Austin and Carrie’s son. After researching Frederick, I learned Carrie’s maiden name was Mason.

Search technologies had improved and new records were becoming available almost daily by the time I learned Carrie’s maiden name.

A search for Carrie A. Mason with an approximate birth year produced an entry in a Washington State Birth Register. She had given birth to a son, Paul C. Dormitzer. Through the years I was able to verify the information Carrie had submitted for the register entries. She was born in Indiana, this was her fourth child and he was “legitimate”. Her husband’s information has also been verified with the exception of a documented marriage. This birth record explains why I could not find a Paul C. Small.

Documenting Paul C. Dormitzer’s life should have been an easy endeavor. But something strange happened. This Paul C. just like his nom de plume, Paul C. Small, vanished from the face of the earth.

 And this is where the mystery begins. Solving this mystery required unraveling the assumed identity of a very prominent man.

 Parts I, II and III of this tale should be considered something of a genealogical primer. They are only tangential to the main character of this mystery who became entwined with a member of my family.  Tangential but also integral to understanding how one could assume a fraudulent identity. I would also like these Parts to serve as a lesson to aspiring Family Historians not to make the same Genealogy 101 mistakes I made.

 Using my own Family History, as an example, proves how common and easy it was, during the first half of the twentieth century, to live your life using an assumed name of your choosing.

This expose is divided into eight parts. Each part deals with a specific person or subject and the facts or events surrounding them. For this reason the chronology of my research findings, etc. will seem out of “sync”. As an example, Part V deals with the life of one Carrie Mason. Her marriages, liaisons and children are discussed in detail. But, Part VII also deals with some of those same persons, but for a different reason.

I accept that a reader may think my revelations in Part VII should have been discovered in Part V and that is, of course, technically correct. But, the arrangement of each section serves a specific purpose which I hope the reader will appreciate.

The next part is published in Part I.


Randy's NOTE:  Stay tuned for the next installment of this multi-chapter report.  I will add all of the chapters to this post, and the other chapter posts, as they are published. 

*  Part III: https://www.geneamusings.com/2019/06/a-mothers-love-or-something-else-by_6.html
*  Part IV:  https://www.geneamusings.com/2019/06/a-mothers-love-or-something-else-by_11.html

My thanks to Peter for sharing this mystery and its' solution with me and the Genea-Musings readers.

The URL for this post is:  https://www.geneamusings.com/2019/05/a-mothers-love-or-something-else-by.html

Copyright (c) 2019, Peter E. Small

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