Query using exact date pays off

We’re still on holiday, now in the Algarve area of southern Portugal, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking about genealogy research.

I’ve previously blogged about my nemesis, James Quinn. He was born in 1892 and would have been my father-in-law’s first cousin. I want to confirm what happened to him and if he had any descendants.

The 1940 U.S. Federal census shows James Quinn living in Minneapolis with his (second?) wife Thelma and a 13-year-old son, Donald.

However, I believe Donald was Thelma’s son from a previous relationship and not James’ biological child (based on the 1930 census which shows James as single and living with his parents).

I haven’t yet found a death certificate for James in Minnesota, or anywhere else for that matter. But the name “James Quinn” is so common, it’s difficult to be sure. Ditto “Donald Quinn.”

I did, however, find a record for a “Thelma Quinn” of the right vintage who died in California in 1991. Might James and Thelma have moved to California together (despite the absence of a death record for James in that state)?

Screenshot (7)Today a new approach occurred to me: if James was still living in 1942, he would have been about 50 years old and required to register for the World War II “old man’s draft.” I structured a query of Ancestry military records with James’ name and his EXACT birthday, 14 June 1892.

Shazam! There he is, living in Los Angeles, CA, with his wife Thelma. The draft registration form indicates James was born in Minnesota but no birthplace was indexed, which is why this piece of data never came to my attention before.

Where/when did James expire? What about Donald? I guess I’ll have to order the death certificate for Thelma and see what it might disclose.


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