Thursday, May 19, 2016

My Great-Grandfather, Keeping Things Interesting!

I know, I know - I'm posting about multiple lines in the same week! *Shrug* I've got multiple balls in the air and new info is constantly coming my way. 

In this case, that new info is the un-redacted (is that a word?) version of my great-grandfather Steve Evans / Theodore Johnson's Social Security Number application. While I was in New Orleans, I sent away for these apps for three family members and had them mailed to my permanent address so they wouldn't miss me in transit depending on how long the turnaround time ended up being. So this baby was waiting for me when I got home.

My biggest reason for wanting this document was to see who he listed as his parents. (Note: If you are reading this, you've probably had a Social Security Number since your first weeks of life. But Social Security began in the 1930s and adults who wanted to receive the associated benefits needed to apply for a number themselves, because it didn't exist when they were born, and so their parents hadn't applied for it for them.)

When I originally sent away for this form, new privacy laws had just gone into effect which meant that the very information I was looking for - his parents' names - had been blacked out so I couldn't read them. But, Steve/Theodore's birth is now so far distant that protecting the names of his parents is no longer mandated. Of course, since I've now connected with members of his extended family who have confirmed his parentage, by the time I opened the envelope, I felt like this would be a rubber stamping of what we already new.

But my great-grandfather just couldn't let it be that simple, huh?

No redactions - hurrah!

His mother? Fine. Laura Ann Strokes is pretty much in line with Laura Ann Scruggs, Screws, Strug and other variations of her surname that I've seen. (For example, see snippets from her kids marriage certificates here.) It seems none of her kids (or the county clerks the family interacted with) could agree on who she had been born.

But his dad? Why couldn't it just say Steve Evans?!

I know, I know, he changed his name when he fled Alabama for his own personal safety. And I'm sure folks would have been suspicious or confused if his adopted surname (Johnson) didn't match that of his father (Evans). But genealogical due diligence means that at some point I'm going to have to research the name L.M. Johnson, just to see if it has any meaning or significance to the family story. Aargh!

It's okay, though. Genealogy is nothing if not full of twists and turns. He's just keeping it interesting for me. Thanks great-granddad!

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