Community Context Research Yields Clues

 Adair Project

By Don Taylor

Determining Elmer D. Adair’s parents has been frustrating me for some time. He is the paternal grandfather in my Adair Project and something of a nefarious character. He wasn’t spoken about in the Adair family.  We did not know if he had any siblings, nor did we have his parent’s names.

Blank Wall with Crack
Blank Wall with Crack in it.

We know he had several run-ins with the law, including one when he was just 18-years-old that resulted in his going to prison for a year.  That event was in 1931, in Paulding County, Georgia. I thought it should be easy to find a 17-year-old Elmer in the 1930 Census; however, I had no success. So, I decided to do a Community Context (Cluster) Search for Adairs in Paulding County, Georgia in 1930. I used both Family Search and Ancestry.Com in my searching. In both cases, I searched the 1930 Census for “Adair” in “Paulding County, Georgia.” On Ancestry.Com, I added criteria that the relationship to head of household should be “Head.” On Family Search, I just looked for “Head” in the household role.  The results on both were 13 families. Two of the families were black, so they were dropped from my focus leaving 11.

Household Role Age Comments
Memary R Adair Head F 60 Owns Home, on Farm, Single) Farmer
Bertha E Adair Sister F 32 (No Occupation)
Sharon S Wright Nephew M 10 Farm Laborer

John E Adair Head M 60 1st marriage at age 30 – Not a vet.
Flora E Adair Wife F 58 1st marriage at age 28
Relia E Adair Daughter F 20

Verley Adair Head M 23 Renting First Marriage at age 23, Farner
Beatrice Adair Wife F 16 First Marriage at age 16,

Crenfal N Adair Head M 29 Renting – 1st marriage at 19, Farmer.
Molly L Adair Wife F 27 1st marriage at 17,
Howell J Adair Son M 8 Attending School
Alton H Adair Son M 5
Herbert P Adair Son M 1

Alonzo L Adair Head M 56 First Marriage at 21 – Farmer
Fannie L Adair Wife F 53 First Marriage at 18
Raymond E Adair Son M 24 Teacher
A L Adair Jr. Son M 19 Teacher
Edna E Adair Daugh F 14 Attended School

Allen Adair Head M 50 Renting – First Marriage age 21.
Ella E Adair Wife F 41 First Marriage age 15.
Elma D Adair Son M 17 Farm Labor
Paul E Adair Son M 11 Attending School
Mary L Adair Daugh F 6

Adair, Sanford Head 32 Rents Farm Farmer
___, Darthula Mother   52 WD
___, John D Brother 20 Farm Laborer
___, Flossie Sister 15 Farm Laborer
___, Ila Sister 13 Farm Laborer
___, Paul Brother 10 Attending School

Adair, Joseph Head Age 55 First Marriage at age 22 Farmer
___, Melinda, Wife Age 55 First Marriage at age 22
___, Estell Daughter   23 Farm Laborer
___, Charlie Son 20 Farm Laborer
___, Clandil Daughter 17 Farm Laborer

Adair, Veto Head 26 First marriage at age 25, Renting farm. Farmer
___, Hallie Wife, 26 First marriage at age 25.

Adair, Milton R. Head 73 Owns home, Age at 1st marriage: 22
___, Amanda Wife 70 Age at 1st marriage: 20
___, Benjamin Son 47 Age at 1st marriage: 47 – Road Tractor Driver.
___, Opal Dau. in law 24 Age at 1st marriage: 23

Adair, Robert H Head 70 First marriage at 19, Renting farm.
___, Mary Jane Wife 69 First marriage at 18,
Calif, Gladys Granddau. 18 Attended School – Farm Laborer
___, David Grandson 16 Attended School – Farmer
___, Mary Granddau. 14 Attended School – Farm Laborer
___, Maggie Granddau. 12 Attended School

Note: All individuals listed above were born in Georgia.

As I went through the families, I noticed an obvious mistake in the Census. In the household of Allen Adair, there was a son named “Elma D.”  Could this be Elmer D.?  The age is right; the location is right. I suspect that Elma is Elmer. A quick search of the 1920 Census didn’t yield any results for Allen, Ella Elmer/Elma or Paul Adair.

I’m not sufficiently confident to ascribe Elmer’s parents as Allen and Ella Adair yet; however, I suspect that an in-depth look at the Adairs of Paulding County, GA in the 1920 Census and a close look at the neighbors of the 1930 Allen Adair family may result in success. Also, following the other children of Allen & Ella may well lead to confirmation. In any event, what was once a blank wall has cracks in it — clues about how to get through it.

Lessons
A community context search can illuminate facts that you may have missed previously.
Names such as “Elmer” can be misinterpreted as “Elma.”

Future Actions
Follow the children of Allen and Ella Adair and look for potential references to Elmer.
Look at the 1930 neighbors of Allen and Ella Adair and see if there are any to find in the 1920 Census.
Look at the Adair’s of Paulding County, GA, in the 1920 Census and document any new relationships found.

Sources
Ancestry.Com 1930 United States Census search Adair, Paulding County, GA.
Family Search 1930 United States Census search Adair, Paulding County, GA.

———-  DISCLAIMER  ———-
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