Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Correspondence and Junior-Senior

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:  I encourage you to read Warning!  Don’t do THIS by my friend Heather Wilkinson Rojo.  In my novice days I made this very same mistake.  I don’t make this mistake anymore.  You can learn something important by reading Heather’s blog post.

Anonymous asks:
”I was wondering if you have ever called someone on the possibility that they maybe a relative or lead to a relative? If so, what were the results? Also, have you ever written someone but never heard from them? What did you after that? Write them again or call if you had their number from the whitepages.com?”

Just a few months ago I called three people I had found on White Pages. All three were the right people and all three were just as nice as they could be on the phone. I have also written to people using the addresses I found on White Pages. I have called people and the person on the other end of the line wasn't the right person but I have never gotten a rude response. I have written to people and many times never got a response but I have also written to people and gotten a lot more than I expected. I guess it is a bit of a crap shoot. I do not write them again unless the letter was returned as undeliverable and I find another address. I only call back if there was no answer. If I left a message on an answering machine and I don't hear back then I don't call again. I might follow up with a letter though.

Sherman asks:
”I found a birth record in Tennessee in 1910 that goes against the accepted information regarding a child and his father. The accepted link is Fred McMurray - Fred McMurray, Jr, because of names on headstones and relative proximity in the cemetery. A birth record I recently found states Fred, later called junior, was actually son of a brother of the elder Fred. Headstone proximity can be explained simply because they were related and died within months of each other in 1910 and 1911, though the headstone clearly states Fred junior. Some have argued that the birth record was covering up a possible illegitimate birth.  I'm looking to add some weight to my case that accepted information is wrong and juniors are not always sons.”

You are correct.  Senior-Junior designations do not automatically mean father-son.  This was a way to differentiate between two men (usually in two different generations) with the same name living in the same area at the same time and it could have easily been uncle-nephew.  It could even be an older cousin and a younger cousin.  It is even possible that the two men were not even related but just fell into being called senior and junior.  Also, when the older one died, the younger one usually moved up a rung and became senior. 

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis

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