Monday, October 26, 2009

A Tripple Play

[This is Part 5 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

The Search for Marjorie Pauline Frost

So Many Questions - Whither Marjorie Pauline Frost?

A Bar Room Brawl

Continued posts:

Do's and Don'ts When Researching the Living

Interview with Forgotten Bookmarks

So after I set Michael from Forgotten Bookarks off on the Pullman and Petriski wild goose chase, I remembered something: there was mention of Mable Frost as the nurse that helped deliver Marjorie Pauline Frost in 1926.  And in Michael's research and contacts, he found out that Mable died in the 1980s.

It seemed odd to me that the nurse at the hospital who delivered our Pauline had the same last name.  But then I remembered that in upstate New York it was not uncommon in the mid-1920s to still have a child delivered at home perhaps by the local doctor or midwife.

Mable Frost could not have been Devere Frost's sister - she did not show up on any of the US Federal Census records.  So perhaps she was Kenneth Frost's wife - the sister-in-law to Devere and aunt to Pauline.  And sure enough, the 1930 US Federal Census record for Kenneth Frost shows his wife as Mable Frost, both with children living in Cherry Valley, New York.

* * *

As I pursued further research, something else was bugging me.  In the back of my mind I kept wondering why the obituary for Pauline's maternal grandfather - Louis Crossway/Crauseway - didn't mention her but did mention other grandchildren.  While it can be disturbing and a bit sad that someone would seek to settle a score through the writing of a death notice, perhaps Pauline had conceived her child out of wedlock, thus the early marriage, and this caused embarrassment to the family.  But then why would the grandparents and parents release a birth announcement for Pauline's child in 1943?

* * *

So while that small piece of "collateral" or "sideways" research on Mable Frost - where one researches brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and even neighbors of the main subject - seems insignificant, the obituary for Mable Frost would make me feel glad that I did go sideways.

Mable Frost died on Tuesday, May 25, 1971 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  This might be our aunt to Pauline since the 1930 US Census report also showed she had been born in Michigan.  The obituary filled in the gaps:

"Mrs. Mabel B. Frost, 76 of Ypsilanti, Mich., a former resident of Cherry Valley, died Thursday, May 25, at Huron View Lodge in Ann Arbor, Mich. . . . She was married to Kenneth D. Frost . . ."

"Obituaries - Mrs. Mabel B. Frost," The Oneonta Star, 27 May 1971, online archives ( accessed 25 October 2009), col. 1, citing original p. 11.

Well it's the same Mable.  More collateral info, right?  Read on:

"Surviving are . . . two nieces, Mrs. Pauline Pullman, Greene . . ."

* * *

"Oh Snap!" Well, at least it sounded something like that when I said it out loud.  Our Pauline Frost was Pauline Triple and now was Pauline Pullman? So Louis Crossway/Crauseway's death notice dated 1953 might not be incorrect or a slight to Pauline - it listed a Mrs. Willard Pullman as a grandchild.  And the article about Devere Frost's murder, dated 1947 listed Pauline as Mrs. Pauline Triple/Tripple - could Pauline already have been separated from her own husband as well? And later remarried - to Willard Pullman?

It is notoriously difficult to order vital records from New York State - I have first-hand experience - and in this case I couldn't justify the time and expense since it involved finding the original owner of a baby book.  So further research along the Pullman line might be needed.

* * *

In the meantime, Michael was already working Zaba Search and the phones looking for Pauline Triple/Tripple.  I had not been able to tell him we had been "Tripple played" as it were.  Oh, the trouble with Tripples.

Basically Michael came to find out that Pauline Frost Tripple Pullman had passed away by contacting the Tripple family.  No wonder when he called the families were perplexed - Pauline may not have stayed in touch with the Tripple family after her remarriage to Willard Pullman.

But after several phones calls and his own sleuthing, by 12:53 pm he was able to locate a niece of Marjorie Pauline Frost who lived about 40 minutes away from the bookstore and stopped by to retrieve the book.  Michael says that the woman did not really know our Pauline that well.

* * *

I know in the previous post, I had said this would be the last in the series.  I've tried to keep these "episodes" short and to the point and at the same time I didn't want to drag out the eventual resolution for days or weeks.

There will be more posts coming up having to do with Marjorie Pauline Frost.  Some will be a review of research pitfalls and the research process.  One will be an interview with Michael of Forgotten Bookmarks.

Stay tuned.

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee


Kathy Wait Myers said...

Ahhhh... "Sideways" research pays off! This is the perfect example for me. Great job, Thomas!

Moonshadow said...

Thank you and Forgotten Bookmarks for this fun post. I have not done much of any reseach for several years now. My most recent was trying to find the relationship to my family of a letter written in German in 1877 from Russia that had been in possesion of my grandmother. My Aunt found it in a box of her letters and postcards. I was unable to resolve any absolute identity because the families in that ancestry carry the same names all up and down the lines. The hunt was very exciting, though. I have often likened my research to a treasure hunt and have often been amazed by the 'gems' that I found.
That was dad's side. This is mom's maternal line...
This is a post I found online...
Schyuler Gates was Lavinia's father. The story isn't quite correct. The photography shop belonged to his son, not him. There is a glass plate negative in the shop (H.H. Bennett's, now in possesion of the state historical society) of Gates dead on the road.

Wow! No mention of Gates at all whatsoever here...

History is so easily forgotten. My best lead/biggest break in my family research came from an old tourism book on Wisconsin that had been relegated to the back shelves of a big library. Thank goodness for indexes. :)

Tricia said...

Came here from Forgotten Bookmarks - I'm amazed at how you were able to do all that research so quickly! And then I had a sharp intake of breath when I read Ann Arbor, since I'm reading this in Ann Arbor!

CJ said...

This was a fascinating read. I came to find you through "Forgotten Bookmarks." Besides just being a wonderful story for someone who likes detective stories, it got me interested in your methods.

I am trying to find people I worked with in the Peace Corps in the late 1960's ---about 50 of them ---for a reunion. So far, I've located about 20 through on-line directories and Peace Corps resources. These people were from all over the U.S. and could be anywhere in the country now. I found 2 of them still living in Brazil. Men with unusual last names are the easiest to find. Women are difficult because they change their names (one reason I went back to and kept my maiden name when I married the 2nd time.)

Those online directories always try to get me to pay for more info, but I'm not convinced they are worth the fees.

Do you have any suggestions of where to go now? I am willing to pay a small fee for info, but since my work schedule varies widely, I don't know if I can accomplish this in a week or 6 months. (The reunion is scheduled for 2011, so it is not an urgent need.)

If you have time, please respond to me at

Thank you.

Thomas MacEntee said...

Thanks for all the comments everyone!

Kathy - searching sideways has almost always paid off for me - I never see it as a waste of time!

Moonshadow - you are correct that history is too easily forgotten, and we often don't take time to preserve it especially with our own families.

CJ - I am working on a new post called Resources - Living Persons Research over at GeneaBloggers. It should be up this week and will have tons of links to sites - many of them free - that let you find info on living people.

Thomas MacEntee said...

And Tricia! I didn't mean to leave you out. Isn't it amazing when you can see connecting like Ann Arbor for you in a post? When I saw the connections to my dinky little hometown in upstate NY to this story, I freaked too.

kinfolknews said...

Wow, Thomas, that was amazing! You make the research look sooooo easy.

I hope that Marjorie Pauline Frost's niece, who "did not really know our Pauline that well", truly appreciates everything you and Michael did to reunite her with that baby book.


Diane J. said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these posts. I was missing from blogland for a while and was just catching up on Forgotten Bookmarks, when I came across this whole story. Absolutely fascinating.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

hi, I came to this via Forgotten Bookmarks. it's a lovely story, and hope that if anything precious of mine every went astray, someone like you and Michael would be out there doing exactly this :-)

one thing though, the baby book refers to Pauline Marjorie Frost, but you keep switching her given names around, and at one point comment "So it turns out our Marjorie Pauline Frost went by Pauline" ...when Pauline really was her name.