|No Story too Small|
I decided to do some research for my stepdaughter. We know almost nothing about her 2nd great grandfather, William D. Hales, or his wife Katie. So, I thought he would be a good person to look at in much greater depth. My process it to use Ancestry.Com as a starting place. I have a subscription and it works well for me as a starting point. It provides quick and easy access to the various census records that can do a lot to determine a person’s life.
I was able to find and follow William through the 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 censuses with very little problem. I had to understand more about his life to find him in the 1940 census, because he was in another state that he apparently had no previous history. I was also able to find him in several city directories, but nothing definitive about his birth or his death and only an estimated year regarding his marriage from the 1900 Census.
My next step in the process is to use Family Search and see if I could find clear information about his Birth, Marriage, or Death — no such luck.
Newspapers then become my next source for searches. Thanks to Genealogy Bank, I was able to find his death date. I might have ignored the short notice if I hadn’t known that William was in Kansas City in 1935 and Independence, Kansas in 1940. I also found a couple other articles at Genealogy Bank regarding his life. Then I searched Newspapers.Com — Va-Va-Va-Voom! There were about 20 articles regarding his life — lots of great information. Once I assimilate all of that information from the newspapers regarding his life, I’ll be able to return again to further research. There is a lot of information to document and source. Here is what I’ve learned so far:
William D. Hales (1871-1943)
William D. Hales was born in Maryland in October 1871[i]. I do not yet know who his parents were. Nothing is known of his childhood, but when he was 19, in 1891, he married Katherine “Katie” Harmon[ii].
In 1900, William is an electrician renting a home at 2002 Walbrook Ave, Baltimore, Md., living with his wife and three young children, Mamie, Catherine, and Arthur.[iii] The family moved to Frederick, Md., and was living at 127 South Market Street.[iv] William worked for Frederick Gas & Electric, (FG&E) Company[v] and attended the Methodist Episcopal Church.[vi] In August of 1904, William left FG&E, and started his own electrical construction and supply office at 61 E. Patrick Street. Business was booming for William as he rewired Frederick City Hall and put in a new switchboard there. He also installed dental and medical equipment on West Patrick Street.[vii] He was a leader who presided over a special service held for men at the City Opera House.[viii] He was also a member of the Order of Knights of Pythias.[ix]
William was outspoken regarding individuals doing electrical repairs or installation who weren’t experienced or trained.[x] He was a registered voter and was selected to be on the Grand Jury for Frederick during September 1906.[xi] He was also involved in the community and was a baseball umpire.[xii]
|2929 Walbrook Ave today
Thanks: Google Maps
By 1910, William and the family moved to 1819 Whitmore Ave in Baltimore where he continued to work as an electrician.[xiii] They moved again, this time to a three-story townhome at 2929 Walbrook Ave.;[xiv] a building that stands today although appears abandoned.
The family moved again, this time to Philadelphia, where William worked as an Engineer for a Casualty Company. In 1920, besides his wife, his daughter Mamie, her husband Ivan Snyder, and their six-year-old daughter, Mary K. lived with them.[xv]
By 1924, the family had moved back to Baltimore and lived at 4900 Liberty Heights Ave, in Gwynn Oak, (Baltimore).[xvi] The address is now a “Food Stop” grocery and fast food. His wife, Katherine, would live there until her death in 1935. William continued to working as an engineer for the Maryland Casualty Insurance Company and became a supervisor by 1929.[xvii] (Maryland Casualty Insurance Company is now part of Zurich American Insurance.)
|Maryland Casualty Insurance Company headquarters|
The 1930 census indicates the couple still living on Liberty Heights Ave. and William working as a mechanical engineer for the insurance company.
According to the 1940 census, William was divorced and living in Kansas City, Kansas in April 1935.[xviii] Meanwhile, Katie was still living at the Liberty Heights Ave house when she died in February of 1935, so, it appears that the two divorced sometime between 1930 and 1935. In 1940, William was still working, now as a safety engineer, at Casualty Insurance and living at the Booth hotel in Independence, KS.[xix] His time in Independence must have been short lived because he was back in Kansas City staying at the Snydorhoff hotel in Westport (Kansas City) when he died on 17 August 1943.[xx] His funeral was by Stine & McClure funeral home, however, I do not know, yet, where he was buried.
List of Greats
Catherine B Hales
William D Hales
Actions still needed
Birthdate: Determine William D. Hales exact birthdate.
Parents: Determine William’s parents’ names.
Marriage: Determine wedding date of William and Katherine.
Death: Determine where William is buried.
Children: the 1910 Census indicates that Katherine had had four children of which only three were living. Find out about the 4th, unknown, child.