Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Residence events

A big clue people miss on documents are residences.  For example in an obituary many times the survivors are listed with where they were living at the time of the reported death.  You see this on other documents such as WWI registrations, SS-5 applications, birth, marriage and death certificates and newspaper articles.  Do you take the time to record this information on all of the mentioned peoples’ timelines? 

Here is a simple example from my own file.  A little background info.  Walter Simmons was born in Lamar County, married in Lamar county and died in Lamar County.  However, if you were looking for the obituaries of his some of his children, Lamar County isn’t where you should be looking. Also, a couple of his siblings had also moved away.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Burnt Bridge Baptist Church for Walter W. Simmons, 62, who died at 4 p.m. Monday at his home on Hattiesburg RFD 4 near the Midway community in Lamar County. The body was taken from Jones Funeral Home in Richton back to the residence and will remain there until time for services.  Rev. Duval Stuart will officiate, assisted by Rev. Hulon Broome, pastor of Burnt Bridge Church. Burial will be in Grantham Cemetery.  Mr. Simmons was a veteran of World War I and a member of Purvis Masonic Lodge No. 434. Military and Masonic rites will be held at the grave, the latter conducted by the Purvis lodge. Mr. Simmons is survived by his wife, eight daughters, Mrs. Dovie Ogden, Houston, Tex.; Mrs. Robert Yawn, Mrs. C. W. Cooley, Mrs. Lavelle Reid and Mrs. Curtis Mallotte, all of Pasadena, Tex.; Mrs. Eloise Rapisarda, Baltimore; Mrs. Evon Jones, Purvis; and Mrs. Jackie Stuart, Hattiesburg; one son, L. L. Simmons, Purvis; four sisters, Mrs. Ada Bounds, Sumrall; Mrs. Norman Entrekin, Lumberton; Mrs. Claudete Lee, Gulfport; Mrs. Jewell Herrin, Purvis; four brothers, Elmo and Houston Simmons, both of Purvis; Woodrow and Andrew Simmons, both of Walker, La.; four step-children, Leroy Johnson, Panama City, Fla.; Jimmy, Howard and Donna Sue Johnson, all of RFD 4, Hattiesburg; and 26 grandchildren.

If you don’t record these locations it is very easy to forget about them.  Here is how I do a residence event.  This is for Walter’s daughter Eloise (Simmons) Rapisarda.


Would I have known to look in Baltimore for Eloise if I hadn’t taken the time to put this in her events/timeline?  She didn’t die until 2003 but she was still in Baltimore.

On July 1, 2003, ELOUISE (nee Simmons); beloved wife of Dante J. Rapisarda, Sr.; loving mother of Dante J. Jr., Frank and Michael Rapisarda; loving grandmother of six; great-grandmother of four. Also survived by six sisters, one late sister and one late brother. Relatives and close friends are invited to call at the Schimunek Funeral Home, Inc., 9705 Bel Air Road (Perry Hall), on Thursday only, 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 P.M., where Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, at 10 A.M. Interment in Parkwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to United Cerebral Palsy, 1700 Reisterstown Road, Suite 226, Baltimore, MD 21208 or Community Hospice, 4200 Wisconsin Avenue, 4th Floor, NW Washington DC, 20016.2

If I was working on Eloise long after I entered Walter’s obit, I wouldn’t have remembered that Eloise had moved.  I probably wouldn’t have thought to check the obits of her parents and siblings to see where she might have moved to.  If put this in the events at the time I do the obit (or whatever document) then I certainly can’t forget it.

Here is another example from my file.  I can’t give you a screenshot because there are so many events that it needs a scrollbar.  This will give you an idea of how important it is to know where a person was living when if you are trying to track down records. This is my grandfather’s half brother Woodrow Wilson Simmons.  In this case I am looking for all of Woody’s marriages (I have mentioned Woody before).

02 January 1920 – Oak Grove, Lamar County, Mississippi (census)
07 April 1930 – Lamar County, Mississippi (census)
19 April 1940 – Lamar County, Mississippi (census)
11 March 1943 – Baxterville, Lamar County, Mississippi (obit)
17 November 1958 – Walker, Livingston Parish, Louisiana (obit)
15 May 1960 – Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming (obit)
22 November 1967 – Walker, Livingston Parish, Louisiana (obit)
02 July 1976 – Denham  Springs, Livingston Parish, Louisiana (obit)
(I didn’t add the sources for these because the sources aren’t important to illustrate the point and I am too lazy to add them)

The last five are from obits.  That Wyoming one is important.  I got that one from his half sister Ada’s obituary.3  I would have had no idea that he spent time in Wyoming.  Would I have remembered this entry from Ada’s obit when working on Woody if I hadn’t made a residence event for him?  Probably not.  It just so happens that Woody’s granddaughter told me that Woody possibly married in Colorado.  Perhaps it wasn’t Colorado but rather Wyoming.

1 "Walter W. Simmons," Hattiesburg American, 18 November 1958, p. 2, col. 4. 

2 "Rapisarda, Elouise," The Sun, 03 Jul 2003; transcriptions, Genealogy Bank (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 26 Jun 2008), Recent Newspaper Obituaries Collection.

"Mrs. Ada Bounds," Hattiesburg American, 17 May 1960, p. 10, col. 6. 

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. I usually try to put in the residence from obituaries especially. I have one for my 3rd great-grandma that was the best find. The headline is, "Pioneer Effington Woman Leaves Descendants to the Number of 100." Not only does it list her children & where they were living, it also lists all the names & residences of her married grandchildren, 25 of them. Some I never would have found because a lot had moved to ND & the vital records don't go back that far.

  2. I have frequently listed the addresses from death certs etc. in the Events. I even created my own event category called "Address at time of Death." However......I'm not consistent enough in adding the locations from other sources like obituaries. Thank you for bringing this to my attention Michele. Mmmm....more work to do. Keeps me busy. LOL!

  3. I don't consistently add the Residence Event from obituaries, but I have found especially when I have a tough problem to solve, that looking at where the children all lived from the obituaries very helpful. Sometimes, though the information isn't quite right, particularly with older obits written by the newspaper and the town names get bungled. But following those residences have helped me find siblings and children! I'm going to add this idea to my Brick Wall Class.