I wrote to my friend Kerry over at Clue Wagon about the possibility of finding out more about my Dad using genealogical resources and she suggested I write down everything I do know and consider doing the same for my Mom as well. The plan was to send her the list(s) so she can review them for research ideas.
She also suggested signing up for ancestry.com and though I did mean to work out today and deal with a host of other todo items, I have to confess I blew the entire day researching my family on ancestry.com.
I feel tantalizingly close to figuring out who my father was.
The most amazing thing was placing my Grandmother, Dorothy Marie Crocker (spelled Dorathy on the Census form), as of the 1920 US Census, in the household she was living in at about age 10 in Cook County, Illinois with her mother Amelia, father Eugene, Amelia’s sister Lillie Tieste, Lillie’s husband William Tieste, and her grandmother Anna Miller. Anna was born in Sweden as were her mother and father. Eugene and his parents were born in Ohio.
What fun. I remember my father’s Great Aunt Lillie Tieste and will share stories about her in future posts.
The coolest thing I found was this marriage certificate.
This is interesting because the tibit I’d heard growing up is that at some point my father formally changed his legal name from Jack J. Carnall to John J. Tiner. So I wasn’t surprised to see the Carnall name. I’m guessing this is my grandfather. So Dorothy and Jack Carnall were married two months before my Dad, shown in the picture above, was born December 23, 1930.
The odd thing is that my grandmother remarried this same man again three years later in 1933 as you can see from this marriage certificate.
So they must have gotten divorced sometime between 1930 and 1933 but at the moment I can’t verify this because I don’t know how to access Cook County divorce records.
The 1930 Census in Evanston, Cook, Illinois places my grandmother, as of April 4, 1930, living in the household with her parents and the Tieste relatives. She was just 18 and if we can rely on my father’s self-reported birth date of Dec 23, 1930, she must have already been pregnant with my father.
Given the probably hasty marriage to Jack J. Carnall Oct 1930 I’m guessing he was the father but the thing is I can’t figure out what they named my Dad. I tried every combination I could think of at CookCountyGenealogy and my Dad’s birth certificate doesn’t pop up.
So I’m stuck for the moment and will seeking clues from Kerry about how one proceeds to track down a birth.
Who knew we had Swedish ancestry? Very cool. This could explain why I burn so easily in the sun.
This is my theory about what happened. Dorothy hastily married Jack Carnall but he wasn’t a nice person. In a few rare moments of what passed for honesty with my Dad he did convey extremely troubling abuse — like being beaten with a baseball bat. So I’m guessing this Carnall guy was pretty bad news but that Grandmother felt she had to marry to give the baby a name. Yet there’s no name? TBD. Then it was necessary to divorce. I can’t imagine the circumstances of remarriage but just figure these are probably not good circumstances.
Then as per the Holy City post, we know Dorothy somehow got the heck out of Cook County and was living in San Francisco. I’m guessing this is where the Tiner guy comes into the picture, and Lords knows, searching on ancestry.com today, there’s plenty of Tiners to pick and choose from.
I think my Dad was never formally named Tiner. I think Dorothy had him assume this name so he wouldn’t have the name of the nasty Carnall.
All of this needs careful research but this is my working concept.