When I see a record that has a known mistake, I remind myself how important it is to confirm information – even from recent ancestors, who you believe you know lots about. Late in life records and long after the fact records are rife with errors. Confirm your proofs and prove your confirmations.
To research a person, we would begin with their death certificate. We have to ask ourselves, at the time of the person’s death, was there anyone around who would know the information needed to have accurate birth and parent information on the record? This is why we often see death certificates with information listed as unknown for birth and parents. We should get all records but remember the possible limitations of any record.
I am reminded of this once again in recently getting my maternal grandfather’s original Social Security Application. The applications are easy to order and inexpensive (Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request link below) as records go, and for me I had hoped for clues also to find anything on my grandfather’s father, Harry Hutton Kidd. But the applications are a document that should have the precious signature of the applicant – priceless!
The record revealed that my grandfather did not know his father’s name? Maybe?
Great grandfather, Harry Hutton Kidd – man of mystery. Commercial, traveling salesman. Carried to court and jailed once for non-support in 1918, one likely record in a city directory in 1927, after that nothing really. His wife, Louise Salvas Kidd, saying she is “married” in 1930 census record, and then saying she was a “widow” in 1937 city directory.
Also in 1937, Harry Joseph Kidd, who I call Harry Jr, applied for his SS# and named his parents – Harry Hudson Kidd and Louise Salvo. Nooooooo! All wrong.
Salvo – Uncle Archie Salvas became a vaudeville entertainer. Quite well enough successful at it and even got his niece, Margaret Kidd, my grandfather’s sister, into entertainment which somehow got her to be a ruined woman and permanently admitted to Preble Home institution for folks that “were not right” in some way. Uncle Archie took the stage name of Salvo. I have a million guesses why he changed his name. But clearly the name Salvo stuck in the family and so Harry named his mother as Louise Salvo and not Salvas. The surname from Quebec, her parents birth, had been Salvas dit Laviolette.
Where Hudson came from, I do not know. Since the record is typewritten, was the information conveyed verbally and just confused by the clerk? And if so, then did Harry not catch the mistake before he signed it?
The only thing we knew about Harry Sr. was that he disappeared after some point and was never seen again. That turned out to be correct. I keep hoping that somehow a last record for Harry Hutton Kidd will turn up.
Searching for Harry Sr has been like winning the never-to-be-found relatives lottery and much like the movie “Something About Harry.” That Harry dies and then countless people run around taking all kinds of blame and anxiety. But from birth, our Harry has his full name recorded time after time. His Christian names, Harry Hutton, include the name of his father’s mother’s family, James Hutton of Newry, Ireland.
Multiple records for Harry Hutton Kidd but no clues as to his last resting place. The record gives more questions about Harry Jr., Harry Joseph Kidd, than information about his family. If this was the only record we had gotten at the beginning of the search for Harry Jr.’s ancestry, we would have been looking for a way-off-base Salvo and nonexistent Hudson.
Multiple sources are not just useful, they are wonderful to enjoy – even with the mistakes.
Or, was it? Did Harry Sr change his name to hide?
HHK he would not have needed new initials on luggage. Maybe I better have a quick peek and search for H Hudson Kidd – maybe he will turn up.
Order your ancestor’s original application for a Social Security number. I love my new signature of Harry, even though the record gives a disappointing record for his parents.
More credits and resources:
Thank you to Tony LaL who has shared so many wonderful resources for our family.
The records from the United Kingdom are wonderful and are quite complete for England and Wales plus others.
Scotland – link down – revisit
So many documents! And this one exciting as it will likely have a precious signature. From the mid 1930s in the USA people began to apply for their Social Security number. Now you can see your ancestors’ applications.
The applications are easy to order and inexpensive (Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request link below) as records go, and for me I had hoped for clues also to find anything on my grandfather’s father. But the applications are a document that will have the precious signature of the applicant – priceless!…