Update: An Attempted Act of Genealogical Kindness

The Union, a newspaper published in Grass Valley, Nevada County, California (about 48.6 miles north of the GeneaBloggcast Center, according to Google Maps) continues its series on the World War II letters from a sailor to his wife back home.

A number of folks have volunteered to try to find an appropriate relative to whom the letters might be given. After my first stab at it, I was in touch with the city editor of The Union.  She has seen all the letters and I have not.  She wrote that two of the three individuals that I had identified as potential children of the couple were born too early, since there was no mention of Nadine being pregnant at the time Claude left to go overseas and that he would have been away when the other ine was presumably conceived.  As to a third person that I had identified, she said he had been contacted and denied any relationship.

Upon further investigation, I  have concluded that  the  three persons I had tagged are not in fact children of Claude and Nadine Dawson.  [See "Why Genealogists Make Mistakes,"  though in my own defense, my inferences were logical to a degree--I'll explain later].  In fact, I now believe that Claude and Nadine had no children.

This case is complicated by the dearth of information on Claude’s parents or siblings, if any.  But, indeed, that void speaks as a loud clue itself.  Claude seems first to appear in public records in the 1920 census in Oakland.  There, he is living in a household headed by a man described as his uncle, the uncle’s wife and mother, and the uncle’s daughter.  This family had come to the Golden State from St Louis, Missouri. On the 1910 census of St Louis, the uncle, Warren Carlton, then about 25 years old, is shown as the head of a household that consists of himself, his wife, his mother, and five of his six siblings.  In 1900, the family also had been in St Louis, but was headed by the father, Albert Carlton, and included seven children. A girl named Fannie was alive then; she died in 1908.  The family had come to St Louis from Scott County, Illinois, sometime between 1880 and 1900 [how I wish for an 1890 census!]

It appears that all of the Carlton children except one, moved to California at some point, though not all to the Bay Area.  Of the five who moved and their mother, I can account for all of them through their deaths.  The one who seems not to have moved disappears after the 1910 census.  She may be the prime suspect to be Claude Dawson’s mother.  Another possibility is that Claude was not biologically  related to the Carltons.

Equally perplexing is the tiny bit of information available about Nadine Henry Dawson.  The letters reveal small pieces here and there, but not much.

I have discovered a living individual in Northern California who may be Claude’s first cousin.  I’ll tell how [but not who] soon.


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2 Responses to “Update: An Attempted Act of Genealogical Kindness”

  • Apple says:

    Interesting what you’ve found so far. Should the paper be publishing these letters? With my current project I’m not publishing anything written by someone who hasn’t been dead at least 70 years. If they don’t know who the heirs are, who holds the copyright?

  • A. Spence says:

    Very interesting. It’s almost like ‘Cold Case’ but the genealogy version.

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