Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Search for Marjorie Pauline Frost

[This is Part 2 in a series of posts about how I was able to use Twitter and genealogy resources to reunite a baby book from 1926 with the original owner's family]

Previous posts:

Search For The Living - Honing Your Research Skills

Continued posts:

So Many Questions - Whither Marjorie Pauline Frost?

A Bar Room Brawl

A Tripple Play

Do's and Don'ts When Researching the Living

Interview with Forgotten Bookmarks

After I contacted Michael via Twitter, he posted photos (as seen above) of the baby book using Twitpic. With the name of the baby (Marjorie Pauline Frost), the name of the birth mother (Marjorie Frost) and a possible birth date of February 1926, I went to work. I also took time to read the narrative from the My First Outing page which gave me geographical information:

My first trip away from home was on March 20, 1926. I went to Mohawk and stayed at Aunt Cora's & Uncle Charlie's all night. I seen my G. Grandmother Frost while I was there. Then I went to Fort Plain and visited Aunt Mable & Uncle Kenneth for a couple of days. I also seen my Grandfather & Grandmother Frost. Then I went to Warren called on my great grandmother & Grandfather Forte. From there I went to visited my great grandfather & grandmother Crossway. I stayed two night there. On March 25, I went back to Watertown.

My assumption all along was that since the book was found in an Oneonta, NY bookstore that Marjorie Frost grew up in the area. The geographical locations of Mohawk, Fort Plain, Warren and Watertown confirm this. Also I now had surnames including Forte and Crossway.

* * *

First stop: since I knew Michael had already tried online resources such as Google and the white pages to locate Marjorie or living relatives.

I looked to the 1930 US Federal Census and tried to locate a Marjorie Frost born 1926 in New York and assumed she still lived in New York in 1930. Result: nothing that matched upstate New York records although there were some possibilities located in the Bronx and other areas.

My thoughts: the family could have moved down to the city since it was the start of the Great Depression and employment opportunities were better near or in the big cities.

But rather than waste time I used this search syntax under the Refine Search link for the 1930 US Federal Census: First Name - Marjorie, Last Name - Frost, birth date - 1926, birth place - New York, residence - New York.

* * *

And bingo! While the result didn't show Marjorie, it did show an entry for a Marjorie Frost b. 1899 married to Devere Frost b. 1899 and a daughter Pauline aged 4 1/2 years. So it turns out our Marjorie Pauline Frost went by Pauline.

The census page reveals that Marjorie Pauline's parents were Devere (b. abt. 1899) and Marjorie Frost (b. abt. 1899) and they lived in German Flatts, Herkimer County, New York. German Flatts is not too far from Mohawk and the other locations mentioned in the book. Marjorie's father was born in Germany and Devere Frost worked as a contruction engineer for the state road department.

* * *

So where next? Well I knew that given the geographical region that I could go to the Old Fulton NY Postcards website and search over 10,000,000 digitized newspaper pages from before the 1900s through to the present day. If I could get a marriage announcement for Marjorie Pauline, I could learn her married name and then see if there was a record in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for her. I still hoped that at age 83 she would still be living. Also, I'd like to learn the maiden name for Marjorie Frost, Devere's wife.

Just for shiggles and because I couldn't resist (and because I am a good genealogy researcher who looks at all documents and records to see what does and doesn't fit), I thought I'd do a new Ancestry search using the first name Pauline. Well, this is where it gets complicated.

What turns up? Well an SSDI record for a Pauline Frost, born 1926, died January 1994, last known address in Chemung County, New York. Hmmmm. Could be that Pauline never married.

But as I looked more, I found this was a different Pauline Frost - a Pauline E. Frost and Frost was her married name. Basically a listing in the U.S. Veterans Gravesites database confirmed she was married to Leslie M. Frost and couldn't be my Marjorie Pauline.

* * *

I decided to start with a search on Devere Frost since the first name is rather unusual. Several articles appeared from the 1930s and mention Mohawk, New York:

"Warren," Richfield Springs Mercury, 1932 July 7, online archives ( accessed 22 October 2009), Col. 1, para. 6; citing original p. 8.

I noted that the article mentions Pauline's mother visiting her own parents and the last name is Crausway. This seems to match Crossway mentioned in the baby book. I will need to search on variations of Crossway in the local newspapers. So one goal is reached: Marjorie Frost's maiden name was Crossway or some variation.

While looking further I was able to find the wedding announcement for Devere Frost and Marjorie Crossway which helped me confirm Marjorie's maiden name:

"Herkimer County," Richfield Springs Mercury, 1920 June 3, online archives ( accessed 22 October 2009), Col. 3, para. 2; citing original p. 12.

Just as I was about to begin another search, one article caught my eye since it mentioned the small town where I grew up in New York. The article from 1939 states "Mr. and Mrs. Devere Frost and daughter, Pauline, of Liberty, N.Y. . . ." Wow. Maybe this is my connection with the baby book and why this project called to me. My thinking is that if Devere worked for the state road department, he and his family may have moved around the state quite a bit as he worked helping to build highways.

Mrs. Daniel Smith, "Warren," Richfield Springs Mercury, 1939 June 28, online archives ( accessed 22 October 2009), Col. 4, para. 3; citing original p. 4.

* * *

The next step would be to find a marriage announcement for Marjorie Pauline Frost. Stay tuned.

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee


Gini said...

Wow, this sure is exciting, I am hooked, great work Thomas! I cannot wait for the next post!!

Lori E said...

You are a fabulous researcher, leaving no stone unturned.

Cheryl Fleming Palmer said...

I am enjoying this journey Thomas! Wonderful post!

Sharon Crisafulli said...

Thomas - this is great can't wait for the next post. I have an autograph book I bought in an antique store and also researching!

Herstoryan said...

I love how you explain your steps - I can hear your thought process! Can't wait to read more!