So – four months after pledging to make more regular posts, I’m finally getting a round to it. First, I wanted to thank Irene Veri for sharing this site with Dori Robinson and Dori for making contact. It does make a difference to know that people are interested in what I write about my discoveries in the Giorgio family history. I’d love to find ways to make the site more interactive – so if anyone reading this has some ideas about how to do that – please let me know.
I’d love to hear from people who have specific memories of any of the people I’m writing about. It is a public site so what you share can be read by anyone but my theory is that the more information we share the better picture we all get of our ancestors. I try to verify the information I provide by checking public records, but that isn’t always possible. My information does not meet the genealogical standards of proof since it is largely based on secondary sources, but I try to indicate when I am making assumptions. Sometimes I get carried away with a story that makes sense to me, but might be wrong.
A good example of this is the reference in one of my earlier posts to Frederick William George and Evelyn Clark (parents of my father-in-law Fred George) reconciling briefly in the early 1930s as eidenced by the birth of Evelyn’s third son, Jerry John. That was an assumption on my part based on the date of his birth (December 8, 1931) occurring before Evelyn had married her second husband Ben Williams and before Frederick George had married his second wife Elizabeth Collins. Since that post, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Lynnette George Burnett, the youngest child of Frederick George and Elizabeth Collins. According to Lynnette, her mother told her that Frederick was not Jerry’s father. This seems consistent with my husband’s recollection that Jerry didn’t really look like his father and his father’s brother Richard and his personality was quite different from theirs also. This offers a good example of how the stories we create can always benefit from additional sources and information.
Here are the independently verified facts:
1. The 1930 Census shows Evelyn George (married) living in Santa Monica CA with her two sons, Fred and Richard, and her younger sister Grace (unmarried) but no spouse living in the household.
2. The 1930 Census shows Frederick George living in Midland PA with his two single brothers, Victor and Hubert. He is listed as married, but no spouse is in the household. This is also the Census in which Frederick reports that he and his brothers were born in PA (true) and that their father was born in England and their mother was born in Wales (not true).
3. Frederick George married his second wife, Elizabeth Collins in Wellsburg, Brooke County, West VA in 1932. The marriage records on Ancestry.com do not indicate the date of that marriage. (Interestingly, Frederick and Evelyn Clark were also married in Wellsburg on November 22, 1921.)
5. The 1940 Census for Hanover, Washington County PA., lists Ben Williams as head of household living with his wife, Evelyn Williams, his son Gordon (24) and three boys identified as his step-sons; Fred(16), Richard (15) and Jerry (8) all with the last name George.
6. The 1940 Census also indicates that everyone in the Williams household in 1940 had been living in Burgettstown PA in 1935 but that doesn’t really tell us whether or not Ben and Evelyn were together then. Dad remembers growing up in Burgettstown, PA. with his grandfather Walter Clark who was a dentist. Dad also remembers his grandparents taking in boarders in the 1930s to help make ends meet.
7. The 1940 Census for East Liverpool, in Columbiana County OH, lists Fred George as head of household and his wife Elizabeth and their three children: James (6), Eldo Jean (4) and Linet(2) and indicates they were living in the same place in 1935.(Census takers weren’t always the best spellers.) Also of note on this census report is Fred’s occupation – insurance salesman – and his hours worked per week – 60!
Although Jerry John’s last name was George in the 1940 Census report, somewhere along the way he legally changed it to Williams. Whether that was a choice Jerry made later in life or whether Ben Williams adopted Jerry at some point (Dad’s version of events) we may never know.
So all of this is really an example to encourage everyone to provide additional information and question any of my stories that don’t fit with something you’ve heard or assumed from your family history. We may never be able to “prove” things one way or the other but the more viewpoints we share, the better chance we have of finding the truth. Hope to hear from you soon.