I find there is a right way to do things and a wrong way. The wrong way is usually a lot faster and a lot less work, but when you do it that way, inevitably you realize the error of your way and find the need to do the same work over. Such was the case of some research that I was doing for my (former) step-daughter.
I returned to her tree the other day and found a note I had made the last time I was researching her second great grandfather, William I. Middleton. It was questioning the validity of the couple I had established as his parents. I had been using Ancestry Web interface and allowed the sources and citations to be the easy attribution that Ancestry.Com provides. It is easy and nice but not as thorough as I like to document a person. When I ran into a problem suggesting different parents for William, I really couldn’t sort it out because the sources were all electronic and didn’t provide an easy way to see all of the data simultaneously. In other words, analysis was difficult, if not impossible.
Admittedly, it was a lot easier to do the work the second time because Ancestry did provide links to the Ancestry provided Census and other documents. I then took that information, generated my own hand-written census sheets and printed out for my records all of the other documents, such as a copy of William’s WW1 Draft Registration. Then I gleaned all of the information out of the various documents that I could to provide a much better picture of William and his life.
The bottom line is when you have a process that fully documents your facts and fully links those facts to the sources, don’t try to take shortcuts. Follow your process.
Bio – William Isack Middleton (1872- )
William Isack Middleton was born on 17 Nov 1872, in New York, probably Kings County, to John Alexander and Mary Elizabeth (Collyer) Middleton.
William had three siblings, a brother, Ferris J., who was 11 years older, a sister, Cora R., who was 9 years older, and another sibling whose age and relationship is unknown. The 1900 Census indicates that his mother had had four children, three of whom were still living. The family grew up in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York.
The Evening World (New York, NY
December 14, 1893 – LAST EDITION, Page 3
Courtesy: Chronicling America
It appears that William moved to New Jersey before 1893 because he was he involved in prosecuting the owner of a disorderly house in December of 1893. He married Lillian Neilson Bailey on 2 September 1895, at Trinity Episcopal Church, Arlington, NJ.
In February, 1900 Lillian gave birth to a son Stuart Rae Middleton. William was working as a millwright at a machine shop. Family tradition says Lillian gave birth to twins and that the other child died as an infant. The 1900 Census corroborates this by indicating that Lillian had had two children, only one of whom was living. The young couple was renting a home on Chestnut Street, Kearny, Hudson County, New Jersey next door to Lillian’s parents, William and Mary Bailey.
625 Chestnut Street, Kearny, NJ Today
Photo Courtesy: Google Maps
By 1910 the family had purchased a home at 625 Chestnut Street.
W hen he registered for the draft in 1918, the 45 year-old William was working as an “Erecting Engineer” for Permutit Company. Permutit was a pioneer in water and wastewater treatment technology and was acquired by United States Filter Corporation in 1993. William must have been prematurely gray as his physical description was Medium Height, Stout Build, Blue Eyes, Grey Hair.
In 1919, his son Stuart married Lillian Wanding and the couple came to live with William, William’s wife (also named Lillian) and William’s mother-in-law, Mary (Russell) Bailey.
Sometime between 1920 and 1929 William and Lillian moved to Mountain View, Passaic, New Jersey. In 1929, William and Lillian had a car accident while in Trenton. They were hit by a truck at corner of Hamilton and Broad Streets. 
By 1930, the couple moved again, this time to a home on Spruce Ave. valued at $6500, in Lincoln Park, Morris County, New Jersey. In 1935 they were living someplace in a rural area of Morris County and in 1940 they had moved in with their son, Stuart, to a house on Grove Street in Boonton, Morris County, New Jersey.
When or where William died or was buried is unknown.
· Order copy of William and Lillian’s Marriage License.
· Order copy of William’s birth record.
· Order copy of Lillian’s Death Record. (It should show if William proceeded her.)
 U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Database online. Registration Location: Hudson County, New Jersey; Roll: ; Draft Board:. Record for Stuart Rae Middleton.
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.
[i] 1900 United States Federal Census (Ancestry.Com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations Inc, 2004.), Year: 1900; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 17, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 616; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0227; FHL microfilm: 1240616.
[ii] 1930 United States Federal Census (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations Inc, 2002.Original data – United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626,), Ancestry.Com, http://www.Ancestry.Com, 1930; Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 871; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 0670; Image: 33.0; FHL microfilm: 2340606.
[iii] 1900 United States Federal Census (Ancestry.Com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations Inc, 2004.), Year: 1900; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 17, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 616; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0227; FHL microfilm: 1240616.
[xiii] 1910 United States Federal Census (Ancestry.Com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations Inc, 2006.), Year: 1910; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 15, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_558; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0252; FHL microfilm: 1374571.
[xiv]Ancestry.Com, U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations, Inc., 2011.Original data – Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page. Check the directory titl), Ancestry.Com, http://www.Ancestry.Com, Baltimore, Maryland, 1914 – William D Hales. Hales, Wm D Supt h 2929 Walbrook Av.
[xv]Ancestry.Com, 1920 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.Com Operations Inc, 2010), www.Ancestry.Com, Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 24, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1627; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 733; Image: 1055.
[xvi]Ancestry.Com, U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations, Inc., 2011.Original data – Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page. Check the directory titl), Ancestry.Com, http://www.Ancestry.Com, Baltimore, Maryland, City Directory, 1924 – William D Hales. Hales, Wm D (Kath) eng h4900 Liberty Hts av.
[xviii]Ancestry.Com, 1940 United States Federal Census (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations, Inc., 2012.Original data – United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627), Ancestry.Com, http://www.Ancestry.Com, 1940; Census Place: Independence, Montgomery, Kansas; Roll: T627_1247; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 63-30.
Someone very dear to me asked me a question regarding a possibility to her genealogy. Her great-grandfather was a Middleton and she wondered if it were possible that her great-grandfather could be related to Arthur Middleton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. My initial thought was, “No — Arthur Middleton was from South Carolina and her great-grandfather was from New Jersey. Some time ago I had established that her great-grandfather’s father was William Middleton, born in New York in Nov 1872 and married to Lillian Bailey.
Snip of 1875 New York Census (via Family Search)
I poked around here and there and finally found Family Search had an 1875 New York State Census which showed William Middleton as two years old with a brother and sister, Farris & Cora R. Was was surprised at just how many Middletons there were in the records. And of course, William, and his father John were really common so it was really had to determine which of many was the correct one. Luckily, his brother Ferris Middleton had an uncommon name which was easily traceable. A search, again on Family Search, resulted in a Death Certificate. Right age, right mother’s name.
Snip of Salt Lake County Death Certificate
for Farris Middleton – Family Search
Oddly enough the death certificate had the name of the Father, “Don’t Know” stricken through and replaced with “John Alexander Middleton” and the birthplace as Scotland. The information regarding his parents seemed to be in a different pen and different hand than the rest of the Certificate. The informant was E. M. Qualthrough, a name I had never heard. Also the certificate notes that he had been in the hospital only one day and that his time in the state was unknown. I was somewhat confused. The 1875 census indicated that John Alexander Middleton was born in New York City.
Snip of Utah State Death Certificate for Farris John Middleton
– Family Search
Utah, being the awesome genealogical resource that it is, had another death certificate. The one I had been looking at was apparently a county version. A State of Utah certificate also existed. In the State version, the informant was Cora R Holmes from New York City. That certificate also indicated that John Alexander Middleton was born in Scotland. I am fairly certain that she would know where her parents were born, father in Scotland and mother in New York City.
Because the Middleton line I’m looking at hit what appears to be a Scottish immigrant I’m fairly certain that it is extremely unlikely to be a relationship with Arthur Middleton, the Declaration of Independence signatory.
I have more research to do in this line. I’d like to find his entry into the United States. I believe John Alexander Middleton and his wife, Lillian Bailey Middleton died between 1875 and 1880. Neither show in the 1880 Census and the children appeared to be scattered.