RE: [Genealogy Research Club] Hitting a Road Block - any suggestions?
- In defense of those who give birth out of wedlock, in the old days, it was an embarrassment for those mothers who gave birth. My mother took my birth certificate and typed in her husband's last name as mine when I entered school for the first time. She never talked to me about my real father until I was 52 years old. She gave me away for my first year and never mentioned that, either. When she finally did, I took the piece of paper she had written my "real" father's name on, as well as the name of the family who took care of me, and threw it in the trash. Old wounds take a long time to heal. Roberta
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2011 14:48:10 +0000
Subject: [Genealogy Research Club] Hitting a Road Block - any suggestions?
I have a difficult problem to figure out. My great-grandfather was born out of wed-lock, and his mother's family was embarrassed and lied a lot to cover it up.
He was born in Pittsburgh, PA in March of 1877, and his mother was listed as his sister on the 1880 Census, while his grandparents were listed as his parents. This is also true on his birth record.
To make things a bit more complicated, Grandma had the same first name as Mom - Mary Grever.
I do know for a fact that the "sister" is actually his mother, because we have plenty of evidence to support it, not to mention after Grandma died, Mom starts admitting that he is her son, but (still embarrassed) tells everyone she is a widow. (She's not a great liar, because it seems as though she uses a different name almost every time she gives her deceased "husband's" name.)
Walter August Grever (my great-grandfather) took his mother's name, and we have nothing that mentions his father's name anywhere (so far). PA is strict with death records, etc, so they aren't available online, so I am waiting for the certificate in the mail...I know his exact date of death and full name, it should be enough to get them to send it to me.
But the chances are that his wife either didn't know his father's name, or she wouldn't put it on there even if she did. (I say this because whenever my father asked about his grandfather while growing up, grandma would say "You don't need to know that" - because she knew her husband was born out of wed-lock).
What I have already found:
His full name: Walter August Grever
Born: March 14/15 (depending on the source, but 14th is on birth record), 1877 in Pittsburgh, PA
Died: July 29, 1941, buried Southside Cemetery, Mt. Oliver, Pittsburgh, PA
Death Notice: in Pittsburgh Press
Census records: 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930
City Directories: too many to list, but regularly listed from 1900-ish through 1930's or so
Cannot find: SSN through Ancestry.com SSDI search, but I know that before 1964 it is anything but "all-inclusive"
Will: not sure where that would be, but unlikely to have his father's name on it
I do have his mother's will, where she calls him her son and names him executor of her estate, but she made the will in about 1908 or so, and didn't die until 1921 or later (she is VERY hard to track down - have a multi-year death record search in process right now...) - no idea where she is buried...
Some of my hopes: that he applied for SSN before he died and listed his father's name - because he might not have lied, who knows? Seems like whenever it is someone else's responsibility to fill out his father's info, they lie...but would he? or did he ever even know? He DID know that Mary (the younger one) was his mother since his mother put that in the Will, but so did all of his mother's siblings in their wills calling him their "nephew" and not "brother"...
So I need your help. What are the best routes to take? I did the Ancestry.com DNA test, but there weren't any close matches...and besides, without any leads on names, which one do you follow? No relatives to test because we don't know the father or his family, and the Y gene is necessary, can't ask Grever relatives...(not that we have any to ask, that is what happens when there are 3 generations in a row of 'only children')
Can any of you help or maybe have some suggestions that could lead me to some clues?
- Jeff Grever
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