Finally a Contemporary Marriage Record for Texas Great-Grandparents Andrew Jackson Pace and Laura Mae Fields

If you haven’t read my recent series of posts the past couple of weeks, I have been focusing my current research efforts on my husband Jeff’s Pace and Fields line, in preparation for a trip I am taking to Texas next month. His great-grandparents were Andrew Jackson “A.J.” Pace (d. 1961) and Laura Mae (Fields) Pace (1896-1933). Little is known about Laura Mae because she died from meningitis at the age of 36, leaving behind a husband and ten children ranging from 19 years old to just a few months old.

The Research Question

One of the key questions in this current phase of research was simply, when and where did my husband’s great-grandparents marry?

When and where did Andrew Jackson “A.J.” Pace (likely born in Alabama, lived in Texas, died 1961 in New Mexico) and Laura Mae Fields (born around 1896 likely in Texas, died early 1930s in Texas) marry?

The Evidence

I have been unable to locate an actual marriage certificate or even a marriage index entry for the couple in the collections available online through Ancestry and FamilySearch. Since, according to the FamilySearch Wiki, duplicate copies of marriage records are/were not sent to the state archives like is done for birth and death records, I will not be able to find a copy of the marriage record at the state archives when I visit Austin next month.1

My only choice is to go it old school, and request the marriage record from the county clerk in Dallas County. But thanks to these newfound documents, I now know a specific marriage date and place, which will make the county clerk’s work easier.

The 1930 U.S. Census

Prior to one week ago, the only piece of evidence I had that referenced a marriage date for Andrew Jackson Pace and Laura Mae Fields was the 1930 federal census.

Andrew Jackson Pace Household 1930 US Census

I wrote a little while back that the ages for Andrew Jackson and Laura Mae at the time of the census and and ages at time of first marriage do not jive. Andrew Jackson is noted as age 52 (born about 1878),  and first married at age 38. Laura Mae is noted as age 34 (born about 1896), and first married at age 16. This would make the husband and wife about 18 years apart in age at the time of the census, yet 22 years apart when each was first married.2

So either the two sets of ages for Andrew Jackson and Laura Mae were mis-reported (wrong info or bad math) to the census taker, or Laura Mae had a prior marriage. I have not yet exhausted the search for a possible earlier marriage for Laura Mae, but based on documents I have have since found pertaining to Laura Mae, I am leaning towards this census information discrepancy simply being a case of wrong information or bad math.

I have not found the family on the 1920 U.S. census.

Laura Mae’s Obituary

I blogged this past Sunday about just discovering the first document I have come across that references a specific marriage date and place for my husband’s great-grandparents,

This big discovery was the the 23 February 1933 obituary for great-grandmother Laura Mae, published in their local newspaper, the Lamb County Leader. The obituary–for which husband A.J. Pace likely served as the informant, since he did so for her certificate of death–reports that the two were married on 24 November 1912 in Mesquite, Dallas County, Texas.3, 4

Laura Mae Fields 1933 Obituary
Courtesy of the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library.5

Marriage Announcement

Within hours of publishing Wednesday night’s blog post tracking and mapping Laura Mae’s life events across the state of Texas, I scored again. A big time score…from a tiny little reference in the tiny little newspaper in the then-tiny little rural farming city Mesquite, Dallas County, Texas. The first contemporaneously created record I have found documenting the marriage of Andrew Jackson Pace and Laura Mae Fields–a newspaper announcing their marriage. Sitting right there in one of my favorite digital archives, The Portal to Texas History, which I visit almost weekly (see the first segment in a series I am writing about the Portal on my professional blog).

The Record

On 29 November 1912, The Texas Mesquiter (Mesquite, Texas) published a small brief on its front page, which reports that “A.J. Pace and Miss May Field were married Sunday [the 24th] morning at 10:00 o’clock, at the home of the groom’s uncle, J.A. Pace.” It also reports that the couple “will probably make their home after the first of the year in Bell county.”6

1912 Marriage Announcement for Pace-Fields
Marriage announcement in The Texas Mesquiter.5

Analyzing the Record

As with the obituary, this newspaper announcement provides direct evidence since it directly answers the research question…”When and where were Andrew Jackson Pace and Laura Mae Fields married?”, whereas the 1930 census record only provides indirect evidence because it does not specifically answer the research question.

The marriage date and place mentioned in the newspaper announcement are in agreement with the evidence provided in Laura Mae’s death certificate and obituary; these records do not conflict. The marriage date from the newspaper announcement and the obituary are also in agreement with what the 1930 federal census reports for Laura Mae’s age at first marriage, age 16. They are not, however, in agreement with (meaning they conflict with) what the 1930 census reported as A.J.’s age at this marriage, but since I have not yet analyzed his life records, I cannot yet resolve that particular conflict. My hunch is still that the information reported for A.J. on the 1930 U.S. census is just wrong info and bad math, likely reported by wife Laura Mae who would not have had firsthand knowledge of Andrew Jackson’s birth and age.

What new clues does this new record yield?

  • The couple was married in a private home, not in a church, so it is unlikely that there is a church marriage record for them, which could function as a vital records substitute for a marriage certificate if a certificate does not exist.
  • Great-grandfather Andrew Jackson Pace had an uncle who went by J.A. Pace, and who lived in Mesquite.
  • The couple was planning to move to nearby Bell County in early 1913, which helps me narrow down the geographical scope in which to search for a record of birth (which I have not yet found) for their oldest child, my husband’s grandfather Roy Delmar Pace, who was born 19 October 1913. I have not been able to identify a place of birth for Roy, only that it was in Texas.

The Discovery Process

Why couldn’t I locate this record before?

I have spent months scouring The Portal to Texas History for information pertaining to my husband’s Pace and Fields lines. How have I never come across this newspaper brief until last night? That is the topic of a future tutorial on my professional blog. A lesson I have learned twice this past week, and which I now need to incorporate into my regular search tactics for online records and repositories.

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Next Steps?

Tasks to formally prove my answer to this current research question, and to formulate and answer new research questions.

  • Continue looking for an actual marriage certificate for Andrew Jackson Pace and Laura Mae Fields. This requires contacting or visiting the Dallas County Clerk’s Office.
  • Look for Dallas County records referencing Andrew Jacksons’s uncle J.A. Pace. This may help me locate where Andrew Jackson was living in Texas prior to marriage, and provide additional kinship clues to begin documenting the history of Andrew Jackson’s parents, siblings, and grandparents.


Tracking Great-Grandmother Laura Mae (Fields) Pace across Texas

Laura Mae Fields Migration Map
Texas counties in which Laura Mae (Fields) Pace lived. Adapted from a public domain United States Census Bureau Image.1
This past Sunday, I wrote about last week’s big research find…the discovery of an obituary and death certificate for my husband Jeff’s great-grandmother Laura Mae Fields (1896-1933).

Laura Mae was the mother of Jeff’s paternal grandfather and nine younger children. She was married to great-grandfather Andrew Jackson “A.J.” Pace (d. 1961). Laura Mae died tragically young, leaving her husband to raise eight minor-age children ranging from 17 years old to just a few months old. The oldest child (my husband’s grandfather) was of adult age at the time of his mother’s death, and another child died shortly after her mother.


Laura Mae’s descendants know very little about her life and childhood. I am piecing together something of a life story for them, one research question at a time, using methodology that follows the Genealogical Proof Standard.


According to her death certificate and obituary, Laura Mae Fields was born 8 October 1896 in Van Zandt County, Texas.2, 3 Husband A.J. Pace is identified as the informant on the death certificate, and likely served the same role for the obituary, so these documents only provide secondary (yet direct) evidence of Laura Mae’s birth since it is highly doubtful that husband A.J. was an eyewitness to her birth.

I do not yet have an actual birth certificate or even index birth record for my husband’s great-grandmother, which would provide primary and direct evidence of her birth. I am not even sure if an official birth certificate exists. According to the FamilySearch Wiki, although birth registrations in some Texas counties began as early as the 1840s, most did not actually begin this practice until statewide registration of births became mandatory in 1903.4 I will have to check at the county or town level for a possible birth registration, or for alternative documentation such as a baptism record.

The death certificate provides no information about the mother of Laura Mae, and only notes the surname for her father (Fields, no given name).5 The only other clues about her childhood nuclear family unit are references in the obituary to a surviving brother and sister.6

1910 U.S. Census

Knowing from both the death certificate and her obituary that Laura Mae Fields married Andrew Jackson Pace on 24 November 1912 (she was 16 years old) in Mesquite, Dallas County, Texas, I looked for Laura Mae on the 1910 U.S. census, where I assumed she would be living with her parents and two siblings.5, 6

In this census, I find three possible candidates, with the same name and same approximate birth year, residing in Texas in 1910. Only one candidate is identified as “Laura May” [Mae] versus just “Laura” and only one candidate is living in Dallas County–the same county in which our great-grandmother was married two years later.

Laura Mae Fields 1910 US Census Search

Great-grandmother Laura Mae Fields was enumerated in the U.S. census on 25 April 1910, in Justice Precinct 4, Dallas County, Texas, living with her brother and sister-in-law.9

Fields Family 1910 US Census Texas

The family is living in a rented home, not on a farm.

  • Julius E. Fields is identified as the head of household, age 19 (born about 1891). Married, in his first marriage, currently married for less than one year. He is noted as born in Texas, with a father born in Texas, and a mother born in Georgia. Julius is “working as a farm worker out w [west?],” not unemployed, able to read, able to write, and did not attend school the past year.
  • Essay F. Fields is identified as the wife of Julius, age 23 (born about 1887). Married, in her second marriage, currently married for less than one year. She and her parents are noted as born in Texas. Essay does not work, is able to read, and is able to write.
  • Laura May Fields is identified as the sister of Julius, age 13 (born about 1897). She is single, and is noted as born in Texas, with a father born in Texas, and a mother born in Georgia. Like her brother Julius, Laura Mae is “working as a farm worker out w [west?],” not unemployed, able to read, able to write, but did attend school the past year.

Sister-in-law Essay is the likely information who spoke with the census taker, since she did not work, and it would appear that Julius and Laura Mae were working away from the area.

Without any corroborating records identifyng a brother named Julius, what makes me think this is the right Laura May Fields?

  • She is the only Laura Fields living in Dallas County, in the couple years prior to her marriage in that county.
  • She is the only Laura Fields recorded with the middle name of May/Mae.

At this point in the research process, we do not have sufficient evidence that this is indeed our Laura Mae Fields.

1900 U.S. Census

Armed with a brother’s name of Julius, I next looked for great-grandmother Laura Mae Fields on the 1900 federal census, the first census on which she would appear if born in 1896. Laura Mae Fields was enumerated in the 1900 census on 4 June 1900 in Justice Precinct 1, McLennan County, Texas. She is living with her mother, brother, and sister.10

Fields Family 1900 US Census Texas

This is the first document I have found identifying the name of Laura Mae’s mother and sister. Her mother shares the same given name as Laura Mae’s oldest daughter, Dollie Eleanor Fields, which makes it very likely that Great-Aunt Dollie is named after Laura Mae’s mother.

  • Dollie Fields is identified as the head of household, age 25 (born August 1874), and widowed [this is not true, but that is the topic for a later post]. She gave birth to four children, three of whom are still living in 1900. Dollie is noted as born in Georgia, with both parents born in Georgia. She is able to read and write.
  • Julius Fields is identified as Dollie’s son, 9 years old, born in July 1890. He is noted as born in Texas, with both parents born in Georgia. Julius is attending school.
  • Clara B. Fields is identified as Dollie’s daughter, 5 years old, born in January 1896. She is noted as born in Texas, with both parents born in Georgia, and not yet in school.
  • Laura M. Fields is identified as Dollie’s daughter, 3 years old, born in October 1896. This birth month and year are in agreement with what husband Andrew Jackson Pace reported in her 1933 death certificate and obituary.5, 6 She is noted as born in Texas, with both parents born in Georgia.

Nobody in the Fields household is identified as working. This makes me wonder how Dollie was able to financially provide for her three children.

Since Dollie was not working away from the home, and the children are nine years old or younger, it can be inferred that Dollie was the informant who talked to the census taker.

Following Her Footsteps

Great-grandmother Laura Mae’s life becomes easier to document and track after her marriage, at 16 years of age, to great-grandfather A.J. Pace, particularly through records that document where many of her ten children were born.

Laura Mae Fields Migration Map
Texas counties in which Laura Mae (Fields) Pace lived. Numbers correspond to the timeline.
Adapted from a public domain United States Census Bureau Image.13
I have discussed the movements by the family across Texas in depth, in recent posts:

  1. Tracking the Andrew Jackson Pace Family in Rural Depression Era Texas, 1930 and 1940 US Censuses,
  2. Great-Aunt Clara Irene Pace Tragically Taken by Meningitis at 15 Years Old,
  3. Finally Finding a Death Certificate and Obituary for Great-Grandmother Laura Mae (Fields) Pace.

From discoveries reviewed in the aforementioned posts, I am able to now expand upon my working timeline for Laura Mae Fields: what life event, on what date, where it happened, and how we know (which source, F = footnote/citation). The Key ID refers to the corresponding number on the above map.

Key When What Where How
1 8 October 1896 Born Van Zandt County F2, F3
2 4 June 1900 Residence Justice Precinct 1,
McLennan County
3 25 April 1910 Residence Justice Precinct 4, Dallas County F9
24 November 1912 Marriage Mesquite, Dallas County F2, F3
? 19 October 1913 Birth of son
Roy Delmar Pace
? F1414
4 1913 United with the
Baptist church
Donohoe, Bell County F3
? 16 September 1915 Birth of daughter
Dollie Eleanor Pace
Barlett, Bell or
Williamson County
5 24 September 1917 Birth of daughter
Clara Irene Pace
Mesquite, Dallas County F1616
6 12 September 1918 Residence Campbell, Hunt
? About 1920 Birth of son
Hulon Pace
? F1818
? About 1922 or 1926 Birth of daughter
Willie Mae Pace
? F18, F1919
6 About 1924 Birth of son
Leo Jackson Pace
Commerce, Hunt County F2020
? 3 March 1926 Birth of son
Ray Earl Pace
? F18
7 18 November 1928 Birth of son
Ladell Pace
Littlefield, Lamb
8 14 April 1930 Residence Justice Precinct 6,
Hockley County
7 January 1931 Birth of son
Charles Wayne Pace
Levelland, Hockley County F2222
8 11 November 1932 Birth of son
Jack Pace
Lamb County F2323
9 18 February 1933 Hospitalization at
Lubbock Sanitarium
Lubbock, Lubbock County F3
21 February 1933 Death Lubbock, Lubbock County F2, F3
10 21 February 1933 Burial at
Whitharral Cemetery
Hockley County F2, F3

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Next Steps

What new research questions do these two new census records raise?

  • What happened to Laura Mae’s mother between the 1900 and 1910 U.S. census? Family accounts have told me the answer, but I need documented evidence.
  • If Laura Mae’s mother Dollie was widowed by the 1900 federal census, who was her husband and when did he die? Again, I know that identifying herself as a widow was not correct, but that is a topic for future posts.

What new tasks do these new documents and questions warrant?

  • Locating documentation that provide’s mother Dollie’s maiden name.
  • Conducting a reasonably exhaustive search for possible birth records for Laura Mae Fields and her two siblings, even though all three were born prior to statewide birth registration became mandatory in 1903.
  • Locating documentation that identifies the father of Laura Mae Fields.


Tracking the Andrew Jackson Pace Family in Rural Depression Era Texas, 1930 and 1940 US Censuses

Ray Pace and Leo Pace, 1940s
Roy (left) and younger brother Leo, 1940s.1
I wrote a couple days ago about trying to identify the birth place of my husband’s grandfather Roy Delmar Pace (1913-2000) before I visit Roy’s home state of Texas next month.

In that post, I analyzed the 1930 U.S. census record that places Roy, his parents, and most of his siblings on a farm in rural Hockley County, Texas.

I also mentioned that this census analysis raises some questions about Roy’s parentage:

  • whether he was simply born before his parents Andrew Jackson Pace and Laura Mae Fields married,
  • if Roy might be Laura’s child from a previous marriage,
  • or if the census just contains wrong ages and math?

Planning My Texas Research

I am focusing most of my current research work on my husband’s Texas ancestry, in preparation for a trip I am taking to Texas in late October. If I get any time at the state archives, I need to make the most of that brief time, tackling records that can only be researched in-person, versus what I can access online from home or at the Family History Library.

The Initial Research Question

As stated in my last post, my first research question is who were the parents of Roy D. Pace, father of Betty Pace (deceased) and grandfather to my husband Jeff Greene?

The Prerequisite Research Question

Because I cannot find a single record that documents a specific place–even just the county–where Grandpa Roy was born, I have to track and trace the movements of Roy’s parents in an attempt to narrow down the geographic scope in which to search for sources that might shed some light on Roy’s place of birth. This means building a timeline for the family, identifying dates and places associated with the oldest children prior to the family moving away from their childhood farm in rural Texas.

But to do that, I have to first identity Roy’s siblings–their names, birth dates, and places of birth, which took a few days to tackle. Not all children appear to have birth certificates. Some who do have birth certificates were initially recorded with no given name (I only find one amended certificate so far). Plus some of the children going by a different given name on later records.

This prerequisite research question is, who are the siblings of Roy Delmar Pace, where were they born and when?

The 1930 U.S. Census

This census serves as my information baseline to answer the above research question. I spent quite a bit of time in my last post analyzing it, so I will not repeat that same data here, aside from names and ages. The 1930 U.S. census identifies 8 children attributed to head of household Andrew J. Pace.2

Andrew Jackson Pace Household 1930 US Census
The family on the 1930 U.S. census, in Hockley County, Texas.
Name Gender Birth Date Birth Place
1) Ray [Roy] Pace Male Est. 1914 (age 16) Texas
2) Dollie Pace Female Est. 1916 (age 14) Texas
3) Irene Pace Female Est. 1918 (age 12) Texas
4) Huland Pace Male Est. 1920 (age 10) Texas
5) Willie Pace Female Est. 1922 (age 8) Texas
6) Leo Pace Male Est. 1924 (age 6) Texas
 7) Ray Earl Pace Male Est. 1926 (age 4) Texas
 8) Ladell Pace Male Est. 1928 or 1929
(age 1 year, 4 months)

The 1940 U.S. Census

I am using the 1940 U.S. census as the termination point for this Pace childhood timeline, since it combined with the 1930 U.S. census provides a snapshot look back in time at biographical details about every member of this family. More robust stories about some of these family members will appear in later posts.

Great-Grandfather Andrew Jackson Pace can be found on the 1940 U.S. census, still farming and living on rented property in rural Hockley County, Texas. Five children live with him, including two sons born after the 1930 census, bringing the total number of children to ten.3

Andrew Jackson Pace Household, 1940 US Census
The main family on the 1940 U.S. census, in Hockley County, Texas.
Name Gender Birth Date Birth Place
 6) Leo Pace Male Est. 1924 (age 16) Texas
 7) Ray Earl Pace Male  Est. 1926 (age 14) Texas
 8) Ladell pace Male Est. 1929 (age 11) Texas
 9) Wayne Pace Male Est. 1931 (age 9) Texas
 10) Jack Pace  Male Est. 1933 (age 7) Texas

Andrew Jackson and all of the boys, except Jack, are noted as living in the same locality (but not in the same house) on a farm back on 1 April 1935. The 1940 U.S. census required that enumerators ask the place of residence on 1 April 1935  for every person 5 years of age or older, yet there is no notation at all written down for 7 year-old Jack, so it is not possible to tell if Jack lived with his father and brothers in 1935 or lived someplace else (such as with one of his older married sisters).4

  • 6) Leo: Attending school, 5th grade highest grade completed, not employed.
  • 7) Ray Earl: Attending school, 6th grade highest grade completed, not employed.
  • 8) Ladell: Attending school, 3rd grade highest grade completed.
  • 9) Wayne: Attending school, 2nd grade highest grade completed.
  • 10) Jack: Attending school, no grades yet completed.

What is Different?

A look at the change in household membership since the 1930 U.S. census.

Who is Missing?

A number of family members are missing from the household by this time.

  • May/Laura Mae Fields (wife): Andrew Jackson is identified as a widow, so the logical assumption is that his wife Laura Mae Fields died sometime between the two census dates, but after the estimated 1933 birth of youngest child Jack Pace.5 Laura Mae is indeed deceased by this time, but that is a topic for the next post in my Pace series.
  • 1) Roy Pace (son): Roy (26 years old, born about 1914) is living in New Mexico at this time, in Lordsburg, Hidalgo County, where he works as a miner. His residence is not on a farm. Roy is married to my husband’s grandmother Rebecca Haley (a nurse), their one month old son Larry and a lodger/fellow miner named Joseph Galoway are living with the couple. Roy lived in the same locality on 1 April 1935 (not the same exact residence), but his wife Rebecca still lived back in Nashville, Tennessee at the time, indicating they probably married after that date. Roy is noted as having completed one year of college.6
  • 2) Dollie Pace (daughter): Dollie (24 years old, born about 1916) is living in nearby Levelland, Hockley County, Texas, but not on a farm. She is married, and the couple lives with her husband’s father and sisters. All household members lived on a farm in rural Hockley County, Texas on 1 April 1935. Her husband worked as a cook at a cafe. Dollie is noted as having completed the third year of high school.7
  • 3) Irene Pace (daughter): Irene, the daughter who should be about 22 years old in 1940 is also deceased by this time, but unlike her mother’s death (which can be inferred from Andrew’s 1940 status as a widow), Irene’s death cannot be inferred from her absence in the 1940 census. Her story will also be shared in the next Pace series post.
  • 4) Huland/Hulon Pace (son): Hulon (20 years old, born about 1920) is living in nearby Littlefield, Lamb County, Texas, with his wife and infant son. They reside with Hulon’s wife’s family. Hulon is employed as a truck driver, and indicates he lived in rural Lamb County, Texas, on a farm (not the same place as his wife and her family) on 1 April 1935. Hulon is noted as having completed the first year of high school. 8
  • 5) Willie Mae Pace (daughter): Willie Mae  (18 years old, born about 1922) is living further southwest in Williamson County, Texas, with her husband and their infant son. They reside on a rented farm, and her husband is a farmer. Willie Mae and her husband both lived on a farm in Hockley County, Texas, on 1 April 1935. She is noted as having completed the first year of high school.9

Who is New?

Family members who joined the household since the 1930 U.S. census.

  • 9) Wayne Pace (son): Born about 1931.
  • 10) Jack Pace (son): Born about 1933.

Back to the Research Question

My research question–Who are the siblings of Roy Delmar Pace, where were they born and when?–cannot be answered from these two census records alone, in a manner that meets the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). More records and analysis are needed.

Roy Pace and Siblings, 1961
The Pace siblings, 1961.
Bottom Row (L-R): Ladell, Dollie, Willie Mae, Roy Delmar.
Top Row (L-R): Ray Earl, Jack, Hulon.10

The Pace Siblings

Based upon these census records, ten children are attributed to Andrew Jackson Pace:

  1. Roy Delmar Pace (son).
  2. Dollie Pace (daughter).
  3. Irene Pace (daughter).
  4. Huland/Hulon Pace (son).
  5. Willie Mae Pace (daughter).
  6. Leo Pace (son).
  7. Ray Earl pace (son)
  8. Ladell Pace (son).
  9. Wayne pace (son).
  10. Jack Pace (son).

The census records cannot, however, tell us if Laura Mae Fields was the mother of the children, since these two censuses only specify a relationship to the head of household–which was Laura Mae’s husband Andrew Jackson. We can only infer at this point in the research process that Laura Mae was the mother. As with the actual research question, more sources and analysis are needed to establish the parentage of the ten children.

Roy Pace and Siblings, 1991
The Pace Siblings, 1991. (L-R) Willie Mae, Jack, Roy Delmar, Dollie, and Hulon.11
Establishing and proving the parentage of Roy’s siblings, is not part of this research question and plan, so I will not go into that in posts about Grandpa Roy’s ancestry. The dates and places of birth of the older children, however, can help me narrow down a geographic scope for where in Texas my husband’s Grandpa Roy might have been born.

Working Timeline

Tracking and tracing the movements and life events of the Pace siblings is a very helpful tool for identifying sources that can answer the research question. At this point, the timeline reflects the information provided by just the two census records: which family member, what life event, on what date, where it happened, and how we know (which source, F = footnote/citation).

When What Who Where How
About 1912 1st Marriage Laura Mae Fields probably  Texas F2
About 1914 Birth Roy Delmar Pace Texas F2, F6
About 1916 1st Marriage Andrew Jackson Pace probably Texas F2
About 1916 Birth Dollie Pace Texas F2, F7
About 1918 Birth Irene Pace Texas F2
About 1920 Birth Huland/Hulon Pace Texas F2, F8
About 1922 Birth Willie Mae Pace Texas F9
About 1924 Birth Leo Pace Texas F2, F3
About 1926 Birth Willie Mae Pace Texas F2
About 1926 Birth Ray Earl Pace Texas F2, F3
About 1929 Birth Ladell Pace Texas F2, F3
14 April 1930 Residence Andrew Jackson Pace
Laura Mae Fields
Roy Pace
Dollie Pace
Irene Pace
Huland Pace
Willie Pace
Leo Jackson
Ray Earl Pace
Ladell Pace
Hockley County, Texas F2
About 1931 Birth Wayne Pace Texas F3
About 1933 Birth Jack Pace Texas F3
1933-1940 Death Laura Mae Fields probably Texas F2, F3
1 April 1935 Residence Andrew Jackson Pace
Leo Pace
Ray Earl Pace
Ladell Pace
Wayne Pace
Jack Pace
Hockley County, Texas F3
Roy Delmar Pace Lordsburg, Hidalgo County, New Mexico F6
Dollie Pace Hockley County, Texas F7
Hulon Pace Hunt County, Texas F8
Willie Mae Pace Hockley County, Texas F9
4 April 1940 Residence Hulon Pace Littlefield, Hunt County, Texas F8
11 April 1940 Residence Andrew Jackson Pace
Leo Pace
Ray Earl Pace
Ladell Pace
Wayne Pace
Jack Pace
Hockley County, Texas F3
13 April 1940 Residence Willie Mae Pace Williamson
County, Texas
17 April 1940 Residence Dollie Pace Levelland, Hockley County, Texas F7
7 May 1940 Residence Roy Delmar Pace Lordsburg, Hidalgo County, New Mexico F6


#52Ancestors: Hoping to Find the Birth Record for Grandfather Roy Delmar Pace on My Upcoming Texas Road Trip

Roy Delmar Pace, 1930sMy 28th entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” family history blogging challenge for 2015.

The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.

Amy’s 2015 version of this challenge focuses on a different theme each week.

The theme for week 28 is – Road Trip: Any epic “road trips” in your family tree? Which ancestor do you want to take a road trip to go research?

I am still quite behind on this blog challenge due to a very busy summer school class.

My 28th ancestor is husband Jeff’s grandfather Roy Delmar Pace (1913-2000).

Roy is allegedly the 3rd great-grandson of William Pace (1745-1815), the Pace who served in General George Washington’s elite bodyguard unit–the Commander in Chief’s Guard–during the Revolutionary War.

I say allegedly, because as I have noted previously in my blog posts about CnC Guard William Pace, I have not done much research myself on this line. Once I learned about the commonly misidentified claim that CnC Guard William Pace was descended from Richard Pace of Jamestown, which has been refuted by DNA evidence, I held off on researching my husband’s Pace line until we received confirmation via his cousin’s Y-DNA test as to which of these two Pace lines our family belongs. Last month we finally received that confirmation–my husband’s family is descended from the same family line as William Pace. They are genetically related; the DNA test provides evidence of that. I do not, however, have evidence that my husband and his grandfather Roy Delmar Pace are directly descended from the CnC Guard–this claim is not yet proven.

Hence, this post.

Embarking on the Pace GPS Journey

With my successful completion of the grueling Boston University certificate program in genealogical research two weeks ago, it is time for me to begin original research on my husband’s Pace lineage. Now that I am armed with my newfound Jedi Knight confidence in wielding the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) to execute a reasonably exhaustive search for all necessary record sources, to properly analyze all information items gleaned from those sources, to combat conflicting evidence, to keep at bay unsourced claims made by other researchers, and to victoriously prove or disprove our family’s descent from George Washington’s bodyguard.

It will be a long hard journey.

But the Force is strong in this genealogist.

GPS Journey Waypoint One: Roy D. Pace

This is the first step of that journey…proving the parentage of my husband’s maternal grandfather, Roy Pace. More specifically, proving the identity of Roy’s father, since for lineage purposes, only his paternal Pace ancestors matter.

Roy Pace and Grandson Jeff Greene
Roy Pace holding his grandson, my husband Jeff.

Initial Research Question

Establishing grandfather Roy’s paternal Pace ancestry begs the initial research question…who were the parents of Roy D. Pace, father of Betty Pace (deceased) and grandfather to my husband Jeff Greene?

As of yet, I have no birth record for grandfather Roy Pace. I need that birth record, or else I have to demonstrate a reasonably exhaustive search for that record. Because that birth record–hopefully, the original, and not just a derivative index entry or transcription–will provide the strongest-weighing direct primary evidence of Roy’s parentage, the names of his mother and father. Jeff’s father does not have a copy in Betty’s old paperwork, and Roy’s living daughter does not have a copy either.

Nor have I located a birth record for Roy D. Pace in the “Texas, Birth Certificates, 1903-1932” database on Ancestry, the “Texas, Birth Certificates, 1903-1935” database on FamilySearch, or the “Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997” database on Ancestry and FamilySearch.

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Baseline Information

An account of what I first learned about Roy D. Pace, shortly after Jeff and I married in 2009.

Jeff did not know anything about his grandfather’s life prior to moving to California, initially living in the Los Angeles area before moving up to Kern County in the Central Valley. My husband assumed his “redneck” Grandpa Pace was Okie (he was not). Jeff did not know the names of Roy’s parents, or when and where Roy was born. He did know the name of Roy’s youngest sibling (his Mom’s uncle, who was close to Betty’s age and more like a cousin to her), and Jeff’s first cousin knew the names of some additional siblings. Jeff also knew where Grandpa Pace died and was buried, as Jeff attended the funeral.

Initial Sources

An Old Family Photo

After we married, I reviewed a DVD full of old family photos scanned and provided by Jeff’s dad. I came across a photo file that my father-in-law named “Roys father Andrew Jackson Pace is top right – 1898” and another file named “Roys family-back of photo w labels reversed”.1 This appeared to be a photo of grandfather Roy Pace’s father and his father’s family, with names identified on the back of the photo! The notes on the back of the photo also provide a birth year and death year for Roy’s father Andrew Jackson Pace (1874-1961), already identified by name in the binary photo file name itself; the name, birth year, and death year for Roy’s father’s wife (Laura Mae Fields, 1895-1932); and the birth year for grandfather Roy D. Pace (1913).

Andrew Jackson Pace Family Portrait 1898
Top Row (L-R) Dave Pace, Rufus Pace, Andrew Jackson Pace [Roy’s father]. Middle Row (L-R): Dora Pace, Nancy Pace, Fannie Pace. Seated: William Jackson Pace [Roy’s grandfather].
Photo taken approximately 1898.2

Online Family Trees

The sibling names provided by Jeff and his first cousin, as well as the scanned family photo, allowed me to start building an Ancestry tree for Roy Pace. This in turn led me to trees built by some of Jeff’s mother’s first cousins, providing family locations in Texas and Alabama, and containing the same names from the old family photo.

Social Security Death Index

Although death records would only provide secondary information about Roy’s birth and the names of his parents, they can still yield forth direct evidence and valuable clues for locating sources that might provide primary information about these events.

The Social Security Death Index indicates that Roy D. Pace was born 19 October 1913, the same birth year noted on that back of that old family photo.3 But SSDI entries do not identify names of parents. Unfortunately, I do not find Roy Pace on the newer “U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007,” which does identify names of parents. So I need to send off for a copy of Roy’s original application.

Having died in 2000, Roy Pace’s death is too late to appear in the “California Death Index (1940-1997).” Neither Roy’s living daughter nor Jeff’s father (Roy’s son-in-law) have a copy of Roy’s Kern County death certificate, so I need to request a copy of the original death record from Kern County.

The 1930 U.S. Census

This is the earliest record I find for grandfather Roy D. Pace. Roy was enumerated on 14 April 1930, living with his parents and the seven younger siblings who were born by this time.4

Andrew Jackson Pace Household 1930 US Census
The Andrew Jackson Pace household, 1930 U.S. census, Hockley County, Texas.2
The family resided in Justice Precinct 6, Hockley County, Texas, on a rented farm.

  • Roy Pace (written as Ray) was 16 years old (born about 1914), single, attending school, and able to read and write. He is noted as born in Texas, with a father born in Alabama, and a mother born in Texas. Roy is identified as the son of the head of household.
  • Andrew J. Pace is identified as the head of household (Roy’s father). He was age 52 (born about 1878), married, first married at age 38, and able to read and write. Andrew is noted as born in Alabama, with both parents born there as well. He worked as a farmer, on a general farm, and is not identified as a military veteran.
  • May Pace is identified as the wife of Andrew–not necessarily the mother of Roy or the other children. She was 34 (born about 1896), married, first married at age 16, and able to read and write. May is noted as born in Texas (just like Roy and his mother), with a father born in Georgia, and a mother born in Texas.
  • Dollie Pace is the second oldest child of Andrew J. Pace. She is identified as 14 years old (born about 1916), single, attending school, and able to read and write. Dollie is noted as born in Texas, with a father born in Alabama, and a mother born in Texas.
  • Irene Pace is the second daughter of Andrew J. Pace. She is identified as 12 years old (born about 1918), single, attending school, and able to read and write. Irene is noted as born in Texas, with a father born in Alabama, and a mother born in Texas.
  • Huland Pace is the second son of Andrew J. Pace. He is identified as 10 years old (born about 1920), single, attending school, and able to read and write. Huland is noted as born in Texas, with a father born in Alabama, and a mother born in Texas.
  • Willie [or Billie] Pace is the third daughter of Andrew J. Pace. She is identified as 8 years old (born about 1922), and not attending school. Willie is noted as born in Texas, with a father born in Alabama, and a mother born in Texas.
  • Leo Pace is the third son of Andrew J. Pace. He is identified as 6 years old (born about 1924), and not attending school. Leo is noted as born in Texas, with a father born in Alabama, and a mother born in Texas.
  • Ray Earl Pace is the fourth son of Andrew J. Pace. He is identified as 4 years old (born about 1926), and not attending school. Ray Earl is noted as born in Texas, with a father born in Alabama, and a mother born in Texas.
  • Ladell Pace is the fifth son of Andrew J. Pace. He is identified as 1 year and 4 months old (born at the end of 1928 or beginning of 1929). Ladell is noted as born in Texas, with a father born in Alabama, and a mother born in Texas.

I have not yet been able to locate the family on the 1920 U.S. census.

Analyzing the Evidence

Census Marriage Ages Don’t Jive

It is interesting to note the two sets of ages recorded for Andrew Pace and his wife May on the 1930 U.S. census.2 At 52 years old and 34 years old respectively, Andrew and May were 18 years apart in age at the time of the census. Yet it was reported that Andrew was 38 years old at the time of his first marriage; this would have been 14 years prior, about 1916. May is reported as having been 16 at the time of her first marriage; this would have been 18 years prior, about 1912–not 1916, the estimated year of her husband’s first marriage.

Unless these first marriage ages were misreported or written down wrong, this census record indicates that May had been married to someone else before marrying Andrew J. Pace.

Roy’s Birth Year Doesn’t Jive

If the ages noted in the census are correct for Andrew and May’s first marriages, this means–according to what is reported for Andrew–that May and Andrew married around 1916. Yet Grandfather Roy was reportedly born in 1913, three years prior to his parents’ estimated marriage year. Was Roy simply conceived and born prior to his parents getting married? Or might Roy have been born to a different father, possibly to May’s first husband?

Andrew’s oldest daughter Dollie, 14 years old, would have been born around the same year as his marriage to May. Second daughter Irene, born approximately 1918, appears to be the first child definitely born after parents Andrew and May married.

Next Steps

What comes next in my research plan?

Additional Records

The following records should provide clues or additional evidence to answer the research question about Grandfather Roy’s parentage.

  • Locate the marriage record for Andrew Jackson Pace and wife May (Laura Mae Fields).
  • Search for the marriage record for May and a possible first husband.
  • Search for the birth record for a child born in 1913 to just May or to May and a first husband, which might turn out to be Grandfather Roy.
  • Search for a birth record for Roy’s oldest sister Dollie, whose birth location might help narrow down my in-person search for Roy’s birth certificate.
  • Obtain Grandfather Roy’s death certificate from Kern County, California.
  • Obtain a copy of Roy’s social security application.

DNA Analysis

In the event the paper trail continues to shed doubt on Roy being the biological child of both Andrew Jackson Pace and Laura Mae Fields (and a full sibling to the other children), DNA may be able to settle this matter. I have tested two Paces, who our family believes descend from both Andrew Jackson Pace and Laura Mae Fields (the most recent common ancestors)–my husband and a male-line Pace cousin. Analyzing and comparing their autosomal DNA should help me determine if they both inherited DNA from Andrew Jackson Pace and Laura Mae Fields, or if my husband only inherited DNA from one of these common ancestors. Roy has a living daughter that I can test as well if needed.

Texas Road Trip

And now we finally get to the road trip theme for this post.

I am taking a trip to Texas next month, to walk across the Laredo foot bridge that crosses the Rio Grande and joins Laredo, Texas with Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. A walk with my dad, 100 years to the date from when his Mexican immigrant grandparents crossed that bridge (the version that stood in 1915) to start a new life in the United States.

That trip has morphed into at least ten days, visiting with a cousin of Mom’s, taking in the sights of San Antonio, and visiting Austin for some BBQ and the Texas State Genealogical Society’s annual conference. My husband Jeff is flying out for a few days of that ten day road trip.

I hope I can at least identify Grandpa Pace’s place of birth prior to then, so that Jeff and I can visit that area. But if I have not yet been able to identify that locality, or confidently identify the names of Roy’s parents, then some local in-person research time may need to be factored into this road trip as well–whether at the state archives in Austin, or at a local county records center.


Robledo One-Name Study: Early United States Census Analysis, 1790 to 1850

Robledo Coat of Arms - House of NamesI mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was toying with starting a one-name study for my Robledo surname. Primarily because I am hoping it might help me finally make some progress on this total brick wall surname, but also because I don’t find a lot of other people researching this surname.

In the one-name study session she taught at RootsTech last month, Tessa Keough(@TessaKeough), showed us examples of tracing a surname through the U.S. Censuses to identify when a particular surname first makes an appearance in those records, and to identify patterns of migration. She recommended it as a good place to start such a study, and to use both and for comparison and better accuracy.

My study focuses solely on the Robledo surname; not any of it variances.

U.S. Census Analysis

I decided to initially analyze the federal censuses spanning 1790 to 1850. The 1790 U.S. Census was the first federal census, and the 1850 one was the first federal census following the acquisition of much of the southwest through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 as a result of the Mexican-American War. Since Robledo is a Mexican and Spanish surname, I did not expect to it appear in federal census records until after the treaty, when what are now the southwest states were ceded by Mexico to the United States.

Contextual Timeline

  • 1846-1848: Mexican-American War.
  • 1848, February 2: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; Mexican Cession.
  • 1850, September 9: California Statehood; New Mexico Territory formed.
  • 1912, January 6: New Mexico Statehood.

My hunch was correct. I do not find anyone with the Robledo surname until 1850.

Robledo One-Name Study, Individuals on U.S. Censues
Counting individuals enumerated on each U.S. Census. This spreadsheet is from my analysis, but the FamilySearch analysis had the same exact results.
Robledo One-Name Study US Census Analysis
Counting households enumerated on each U.S. Census. This spreadsheet is from my analysis, but the FamilySearch analysis had the same exact results.
Robledo One-Name Study, U.S. Census Analysis
Counting males enumerated on each U.S. Census. This spreadsheet is from my analysis, but the FamilySearch analysis had the same exact results.

The 1850 U.S. Census

The regular 1850 U.S. Census is the first federal census on which I find the surname Robledo. I did not find any Robledo listed on the Slave or Mortality Schedules.

Robledo One-Name Study, 1850 US Census Analysis,
Transcription of Robledo entries in the 1850 U.S. Census. Source:
Robledo One-Name Study, 1850 US Census Analysis,
Transcription of Robledo entries in the 1850 U.S. Census. Source:

Stats & Facts

By 1850, there are 11 individuals recorded with the surname Robledo: 6 males and 5 females. These 11 individuals lived in pre-statehood California (enumerated 11 February; 7 months prior to statehood), the newly formed New Mexico Territory (enumerated 17, 27, and 31 December), and of all places…Connecticut. These individuals make up 5 different households: 3 in New Mexico Territory, 1 in California, and 1 in Connecticut.

The spreadsheets above identify the different spellings of the Robledo surname for each household, which are likely due to the census enumerator mis-hearing how the surname was pronounced, or just misspelling it on the written record. Or the transcriber and indexer mis-reading and misspellilng the surname. It is interesting to see how the surnames are transcribed on Ancestry vs. Family Search:

  • The Jose listed by himself (a servant) in New Mexico Territory is spelled Robledo on both Ancestry and FamilySearch.
  • The Prudencia household in New Mexico Territory is also spelled Robledo on both Ancestry and FamilySearch.
  • The Teodoro household in New Mexico Territory is spelled Robledo on Ancestry, yet Robleco on FamilySearch.
  • The California household is spelled Roblero on both Ancestry and FamilySearch.
  • The Connecticut individual is spelled Robloda on Ancestry and Roblada on FamilySearch.

Looking for these individuals on future censues will hopefully help me determine if these variations are indeed due to enumerator or transcriber error, or if they are distinct and separate surnames…not Robledo.

The Connecticut Robledo is definitely an oddity that I may have to investigate further just for curiosity’s sake. I do not think this is the beginning of a Robledo migration trend into Connecticut. This unnamed Robloda or Roblada male does not have a profession identified, but is listed in a large household with a bunch of other people and different surnames. Sadly he is the only person in the household for whom a first name is not provided, which would give me a clue if he had Hispanic origins. I will have to look for him on future censuses.

The California household also catches my eye, because California is where my Robledo line settled when they immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico in the 1910s. I have always heard from Dad’s family that our Nieto-Robledo family followed Nieto relations who already lived in California, but I wonder if we also had Robledo relations here as well? I may have to trace this 1850 California Robledo household back to Mexico.

Comparing Transcriptions & Indexing

I had to play around with the search filter settings on both Ancestry and FamilySearch, casting both broad and more exact nets on the Robledo spelling. For the most part, the results from 1790 to 1850 were pretty consistent on both services.

I quickly learned (although I already knew this from my regular research) that one cannot rely upon just the surname search results to generate an accurate count  of individuals listed on each census. Other surnames, some totally off, get thrown into the search results as well. FamilySearch generated far more accurate surname results than Ancestry.

Robledo - 1850 US Census - Ancestry
Searching for Robledo in the 1850 Census on Ancestry generated 1,585 individuals. As you can see, some of the surnames were WAY off.
Robledo - 1850 US Census - FamilySearch
The same search on FamilySearch generated only 18 individuals in the results. Still more than the 11 people I narrowed down as a likely Robledo, but far more accurate.

I had to look at the individual records, and especially the individual census images, to identify real surname candidates and narrow my list down to those most likely to be Robledos.

All Hispanic Names Sound Alike?

I find it interesting and humorous that Ancestry identifies 3 Robledo results on the 1810 U.S. Census. These Robledo hits are actually Luceros. Hmm… is Ancestry’s indexing and search feature a bit prejudiced…thinking all Hispanic surnames are the same? I am joking of course, but Ancestry does apparently consider another three-syllable Hispanic surname ending in a hard-O sound to be a likely match to my surname.

FamilySearch did not make the same mistake.

Robledo Search Results - 1810 US Census - Ancestry search results for Robledo on the 1810 U.S. Census brought up the surname Lucero.

A Possible 1820 Robledo?

FamilySearch turned up a Bartholomew Ribled in Belfast, Bedford County, Pennsylvania when I searched for surname Robledo on the 1820 U.S. Census. Ancestry did not; I had to search for that specific Ribled name to retrieve the record in Ancestry. It sounds like it could be similar to Robledo, so I did a bit more searching for this person on other censuses. He does not pan out as a Robledo. His surname is instead spelled as Riblet, Riblett, or Ribler on other censuses.

So 1850 is still indeed the first year in which any Robledo appears on the U.S. Census.

Robledo Results - 1820 US Census - FamilySearch
Searching for Robledo on the 1820 U.S. Census in FamilySearch resulted in this similar sounding surname.
Robledo - 1820 US Census - Image - Ancestry
Census record for Bartholomew Ribled on the 1820 U.S. Census, in

 Next Steps

Moving on to the next half of 19th century U.S. Censuses is definitely my next move. But this “quick” census analysis took much more time than I anticipated, so that next step may have to wait a month or two since it does take time away from my actual ancestor-focused family history research.

The biggest challenge for me is that I want to further research all of these individuals, but I just don’t have that much extra time.

#52Ancestors: George Walter Harless Plowing Through 1940s Yosemite

Snow Plow, Yosemite, 1930s or 1940s
Large rotary plow operated by the National Park Service, Yosemite, circa 1940s. Photo courtesy of

My 5th entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” family history blogging challenge for 2015.

The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.

Amy’s 2015 version of this challenge focuses on a different theme each week.

The theme for Week 5: Plowing through — We will likely be plowing through a lot of snow by this time. What ancestor had a lot of struggles to plow through? Or take it more literally.

My 5th ancestor is my husband Jeff’s 1st great grand uncle George Walter Harless (1894-1976). George Walter is the youngest brother of my husband’s great grandfather Leonard William Harless, about whom I have not yet written. And he is the youngest son of California pioneers Leonard Harless Jackson and Pauline Adeline Gann, of whom I have written quite a bit, and whose footsteps Jeff and I chased on our genealogy road trip last summer.

George Walter Harless was born 13 April 1894 in Lewis, Mariposa County, California. He spent his childhood in Mariposa County, just outside of Yosemite National Park.

All my husband knew about his 1st great grand uncle is that he drove a snow plow in Yosemite. My father-in-law confirmed this, and told me that he thought his grandfather’s brother George had also been a miner in Madera. So when I saw the “plowing through” theme for this year’s 52 Ancestors project, I decided to try to find out a bit more about 1st great grand uncle George.

WPA Snow Plow Crew

While I have not found any records that specifically identify George as a snow plow driver, I do find some records that support this occupation.

The Mariposa County History and Genealogy Research site provides a copy of George’s obituary, transcribed by Alma Stone. The obituary mentions that he was a retired road foreman in the national park.

Merced Sun Star
Friday, August 27, 1976
page: 18


George Harless

Memorial services will be held Monday at 1 p.m. in Stratford Evans Merced
Funeral Chapel for George Walter Harless, 82, a Merced resident since 1960 who
died Thursday in a San Francisco hospital.

Mariposa Masonic Lodge No. 24 will conduct services for Mr. Harless, a
retired road foreman in Yosemite National Park.

Inurment [sic] will be at Arbor Vitae Cemetery, Madera. A veteran of World War 1,
Mr. Harless lived at 5736 E. Highway 140. He belonged to Mariposa Masonic
Lodge No. 24, 32nd Scottish Rite in Fresno and the Fresno Shrine.

Mr. Harless is survived by his wife, Olive; a daughter, Mrs. Barbara H.
Bailey, Capitola; three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions to the Central California Heart Association would be
appreciated by the family.

The 1940 U.S. Census shows George Walter Harless (at 46) living in the unincorporated community of Raymond, Madera County, California alone with his wife Olive A. Leonard (1891-1980). At that time, George was employed as a Flagman on a WPA Project. Raymond is 23 miles outside of the Yosemite gateway city of Oakhurst, and 38 miles away from Yosemite Village. George was quite likely the flagman on a WPA road crew in the national park. Interestingly, George and Olive’s 19 year old daughter Barbara was enumerated on the same census as living inside of Yosemite National Park, where she worked at a cafeteria in a hotel and snow lodge.

Harless George Walter - 1940 US Census - Employment
Employment listing for George Walter Harless on the 1940 U.S. Census. Courtesy of

Jeff and I just visited Yosemite last July on our Harless family history road trip. I wish I’d paid attention to these records before then. I could have inquired around inside the park about accessing old employment records. Fortunately, Yosemite is one of our very favorite places, and is driving distance for even just a long weekend.

Other Careers

Prior to the Great Depression, George worked in copper mining, per his WWI Draft registration card and the 1920 U.S. Census. He served in the U.S. Army from 1917-1919, during the First World War.

On the 1930 U.S. Census, George Walter was enumerated twice. On 2 April 1930 in Madera County with his wife and daughter. But his type of employment is not legible enough for me to make out (something “____boy”). George was also recorded on 12 April 1930 (without his wife) living back with his parents in Mariposa County, working as a farmer. It is likely that George’s wife gave his name to the Census worker because his permanent home was in Madera County, but George had temporarily left his family to move in with his parents and work on his father’s farm to raise money or food for his family back home.

By 1942, per his WWII Draft registration card, George Walter was employed with the U.S. Army Transport Service at Fort Mason in San Francisco, California, where he lived with his middle brother Francis Miles Harless. It is unclear if his wife Olive lived there too.

It would seem that George Walter Harless moved around central and northern California quite a bit seeking work, plowing through life.

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#52Ancestors: Who are the Parents of Grand Uncle Harry Flanagan?

My 45th entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks family history blogging challenge.

The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.

I am still playing catch up, due to being sick so much of this year.

Michael Flanagan Patrick Flanagan Harry Flanagan
My grandfather Michael John Flanagan (center) with two of his brothers. Uncle Pat is on the left. Mom and I think that is Harry on the right. This photo was most likely taken shortly before Grandpa joined the Navy at 17.

My 45th ancestor is my grand uncle Harry J. Flanagan (b. 1920). Harry was my grandfather Michael John Flanagan’s (1927-1997) third oldest brother…or at least from among the brothers that Grandpa knew about (more later on the siblings he never knew).

I never met Harry, and I don’t think my mom or her siblings ever met Uncle Harry. Like Grandpa’s second oldest brother Leonard Ward (b. 1917), I did not even know Harry existed until I found that very first lead about my grandfather’s family history, the 1930 U.S. Census record for their orphanage. Harry too was placed in the German Roman Catholic Orphan Home in Buffalo, New York when the boys’ parents were stricken with tuberculosis and died. Harry was 10 years old when mother Sarah Kennedy (1898- 1930) died from TB and 8 years old when father Patrick Thomas Flanagan (1897-1928) died of it.


Uncle Harry was born 22 April 1920, supposedly in Bellaire (Belmont County), Ohio, where all siblings except baby brother Michael were born. I say supposedly because this is the birth location listed in his orphan records from the German Roman Catholic Orphan Home (GRCOH), and the birth county he identified in his marriage record and his Army enlistment record. Yet Harry is the only one of the Bellaire-born siblings for whom I have no official birth documentation, which means no official documentation telling me the names of his parents.

1930 US Census Flanagan Boys Buffalo
1930 U.S. Census Record, German Roman Catholic Orphan Home. Courtesy of
Bellaire Birth Records V1 1909-1920
I found birth records for all of Sarah and Frank Ward’s children when I visited the Family History Library in February…for everyone except Harry. Nor is there a record for a Harry born to Sarah and Patrick Flanagan in 1920.

Although the older boys — Joseph and Leonard — were recorded under the surname Flanagan and as the children of Patrick and Sarah Flanagan on the 1930 US Census and in the GRCOH records, I have confirmed that these two boys (along with older sister Catherine) are the children of Sarah and her first husband Frank J. Ward. I also know that my grandfather Michael and his older brother Patrick Joseph are the children of Sarah and second husband Patrick Thomas Flanagan. Yet, I have no real proof about Harry’s birth or parentage. Although Harry consistently identifies himself as a Flanagan, and the child of Patrick Flanagan and Sarah Kennedy in documentation throughout his life.

To complicate matters, when Harry was born (in 1920), Sarah and Patrick Thomas Flanagan were not yet married. They married five years later in 1925, when Sarah was already 8 months pregnant with their son Patrick Joseph. And a 1920 Bellaire city directory records Sarah still living with her first husband Frank Ward.  I believe Patrick Thomas Flanagan was still married to his first wife at this time too.

So Harry could be the biological child of either of these two sets of first marriages, or the love child of my great grandparents Patrick and Sarah.


Harry J. Flanagan enlisted in the U.S. Army on 12 November 1941 at Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio (Army serial number 35037563). He joined as a private, under the warrant officers branch code. Harry had only completed two years of high school (Grandpa never completed high school either), and had worked in civilian life as a semi-skilled miner and mining machine operator. He was described as single with no dependents, 5 feel 9 inches tall, and 152 pounds.

From what I can tell, Harry served in World War II. He was released from service on 28 September 1945.


Harry married Anna M. Sabatino on 15 December 1944, in Belmont County, Ohio. It was a first marriage for both, and Harry was still employed in the U.S. Army. He identified his place of birth as Bellaire, Ohio, and his parents as Patrick Flanagan and Sarah Kennedy. I find no later record of children born to Harry and Anna.

Harry Sabatine Anne - Marriage - 1944 - close up
Marriage record for Harry Flanagan and Anne Sabatine. Source: Click to view a larger image.


I do not yet have proof that this is the same Harry J. Flanagan, but I find several references to an 8 October 1981 death date for him.

It appears he is buried at All Saints Braddock Catholic Cemetery in Pittsburgh (Allegheny County), Pennsylvania. His wife Anne, who died 30 September 1988, is buried there too.

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