Randomly Generated Name: Roman Stanton
First Ancestry Census Result: Roman Stanton ,Birth: abt 1927 – California
1930 – San Francisco, San Francisco, California
And off I went. This little project served two purposes. In addition to wondering what I might find if I went searching for a completely random name – I wanted to try out my copy of RootsMagic. I entered most of my sources, but got a little bogged down trying to figure out what I was doing in the new software, so not a ll of the census records are in there. Confession, though: I actually used the second name generated. The first name I could not find in any census records – only a birth record from 1957, and I didn’t want to work with someone who may be living. I had initially planned to write a full research report, properly formatted and the whole nine yards, but ran out of time.
After the initial 1930 census record, I did a number of searches for an obituary for “Roman Stanton,” figuring he was either still alive, or died fairly recently. I couldn’t find an obit on Ancestry, Genealogybank.com, or NewpaperArchives.com. So I moved forward (or backwards, more accurately) with the census research. I found Roman’s father, Joseph in the 1920 San Francisco, CA census, who was living with his mother, Kate. Nice! Two generations with one census record.
As I started to dig a little more, I knew that there were California birth and death indexes on Ancestry, so I checked them out. And here, about a half an hour into my search, I discovered that I was NOT in fact researching a “Roman Stanton,” but instead – “John Ronan Stanton” I was able to find his birth and death in the California indexes. The death index gave his mother’s maiden name as Ronan, and his first name as John. He was mis-indexed in that first census record! Too late to turn back and look for a Roman, I plunged ahead with Ronan.
Armed with the correct name, I went back to an obit search and found him. Mr. Stanton died in 2008. Several children were listed, but for privacy’s sake, I won’t post their names here, although I thought about trying to find contact info to let them know that I was digging up their past…just in case they were interested.
I relied heavily on census, California vital indexes, and city directories in my searches. I was able to confidently document through my subjects grandparents on both sides. One set of those grandparents were Irish-born, the other were both born in Kentucky to foreign parents (Irish and German, respectively). I located one of the families in Covington, Kenton Kentucky in 1880. Covington is across the river from Cincinnati, OH. My wife had ancestors there in that time frame – also of German origin. Maybe they knew each other?
It was an interesting trip. I spent quite a lot of time playing around with Google maps checking out the houses where these folks lived in the census and city directories. Most of them are still there, and most are in nice-looking neighborhoods. I also discovered and browsed through the Sanborn maps for San Francisco. I probably spent about two hours on actual research and another hour looking at maps and street-view.
For me, the value in doing this was that I had to, starting from scratch, learn about what resources I could access in an area that I have never worked and really knew nothing about. I think I did pretty well. I struggled a little with source citations in RootsMagic, but then I struggle with citations in just about everything. But just using the things found on the web, I built a pretty solid framework from which to jump to offline sources.
I will share some notes about Edward Stanton, my subject’s grandfather. Edward was a policeman according to the census records and city directories. It was using the city directories that I discovered that Edward died sometime between 1914 and 1915, when the listing switches from “Edward Stanton” to “Kate Stanton (wid Edw)” living at that same address.
I also found a few newspaper articles mentioning Edward Stanton. These were located at the California Digital Newspaper Project – a pretty slick site. One was mention of him being pensioned out of the force in 1912. But this was the interesting article, and the highlight of the search:
CLUBS HORSE AND STOPS RUNAWAY. The quick wits and nerve of Policeman Edward Stanton of the Mission police station in clubbing, a runaway horse into insensibility at Eighteenth and Diamond streets at noon yesterday, undoubtedly prevented serious injury and possibly saved the lives of a number of schoolchildren toward whom the maddened animal was dashing at full speed. His heroic act was witnessed by dozens of people, and resulted in an ovation being given him. It was Just at noon while hundreds of children were leaving the school building and starting in groups down the street, that the driverless horse,dragging an empty buggy behind him, came dashing wildly down Diamond street. Realizing the danger before the others had grasped the situation, Stanton shouted a warning and sprang into the street to intercept the animal. His efforts to swerve the runaway from its course were in vain, and as the horse dashed directly down upon him he grasped the reins at the bit in an ineffectual effort to stay the wild dash. For a moment he was dragged and whirled along the street, and then, with unusual presence of mind, freed his baton and dealt the animal blow after blow across the head. The horse staggered, slackened its pace and finally fell within a few feet of the frightened children. The horse and buggy were the property of J. B. Shroeder of 2037 Howard street,who had left the, horse standing In front of a house a short distance from the corner where the runaway was stopped. The animal ‘became frightened and started to run before the owner had returned.”
Below is the report, exactly as RootsMagic spit it out. (*Note: Formatting was lost in the copy/paste to the web. In the interest of time, I have not gone back and tried to fix the formatting)I have never used these reports, and don’t think this does anything to change my mind, but am including it in case anyone wants to see what I ended up with.
2. Joseph Stanton was born on 4 Mar 1896 in California.3 He lived at 64 Whitney in San Francisco, San Francisco, California on 29 Apr 1910.4 He lived at 64 Whitney in San Francisco, San Francisco, California in 1915.5 Joseph appeared in the census on 6 Jan 1920 at 1288 Noe St. in San Francisco, San Francisco, California.6 He appeared in the census in Apr 1930 in San Francisco, San Francisco, California.7 He died on 19 Nov 1959 at the age of 63 in San Mateo, San Mateo, California.3 Margaret Ronan and Joseph Stanton were married about 1923.7
Joseph Stanton and Margaret Ronan had the following children:
i. Joseph Stanton7 was born in 1924 in California.
1 ii. John Ronan Stanton, born 10 Dec 1927, San Francisco, San Francisco, California; died 7 Nov 2008, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
4. Edward Stanton was born about 1854 in Ireland.10 He immigrated in 1869.4 He lived at 1421 Vallejo in San Francisco, San Francisco, California on 6 Jun 1900. Edward stopped a runaway horse and buggy on 8 Oct 1906 in San Francisco, San Francisco, California.11 He lived at 64 Whitney in San Francisco, San Francisco, California on 29 Apr 1910.4 He died between 1914 and 1915 at the age of 60.5 Edward was a Policeman. Kate Doherty and Edward Stanton were married about 1881.
Edward Stanton and Kate Doherty had the following children:
ii. Katie Stanton10 was born in Sep 1886. She lived in the residence of Edward Stanton at 1421 Vallejo in San Francisco, San Francisco, California on 6 Jun 1900. She lived at 64 Whitney in San Francisco, San Francisco, California on 29 Apr 1910.4
2 vi. Joseph Stanton, born 4 Mar 1896, California; died 19 Nov 1959, San Mateo, San Mateo, California.
Charles A Ronan and Annabelle [--?--] had the following children:
3 i. Margaret Ronan, born 4 Jun 1901, Kentucky; died 27 May 1973, Santa Clara, California.
ii. Charles A Ronan8 was born in 1903 in Missouri.
iii. James R. Ronan was born in Jul 1915 in California.8
1. Joseph F. Stanton, death certificate (database) (27 May 1973), California Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]., Ancestry.com, citing State of California. California Death Index, 1940-1997. Sacramento, CA.
2. STANTON, John Ronan, San Francisco Gate, San Francisco, California (online), 12 November 2008, http://articles.sfgate.com/2008-11-12/news/17125936_1_daughters-mary-stanton-brian-stanton.
3. Joseph F Stanton, San Mateo death certificate (19 November 1959).
4. 1910, San Franciso, California, pop. schedule, San Francisco Assembly District 33, enumeration district (ED) 68, 5B, Edward S. Stanton household, ; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 January 2011).
5. City Directories for San Francisco, California (San Francisco, California: H S Crocker Co., 1861-1923 (except 1866, 1870, 1872, 1906).), , 1915, p. 1805, “Kate Stanton (wid of Edw)”; digital image, Footnote.com (http://www.footnote.com : accessed 22 January 2011).
6. 1920, San Francisco, California, pop. schedule, San Francisco Assembly District 24, enumeration district (ED) 310, 172 (stamped), Joseph F Stanton household, ; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 January 2011).
7. 1930, San Francisco, California, pop. schedule, San Francisco City, enumeration district (ED) 331, Sheet 13B, Joseph F. Stanton household, ; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 January 2011).
8. 1920, San Francisco, California, pop. schedule, San Francisco Assembly District 25, ED 85, 88 (stamped), Charles A Ronan household, .
9. Margaret H. Stanton, Santa Clara, California death certificate social security # 560308805 (27 May 1973).
10. 1900 San Francisco County, California Census, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, population schedule, San Francisco Assembly District 41, enumeration district (ED) 226, 97 (stamped), Edward Stanton household, ; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 January 2011).
11. California Digital Newspaper Collection Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside, “CLUBS HORSE AND STOPS RUNAWAY,” news item, , San Francisco Call, October 1906, p. 5, col. 3; (http://cdnc.ucr.edu/cdnc : accessed 22 January 2011), California Digital Newspaper Collection.
12. Findagrave.com, “San Francisco National Cemetery,” database, Findagrave.com (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 22 January 2011), Charles A. Ronan, Find A Grave Memorial# 3540540.
13. , “San Francisco National Cemetery,” database Annabelle Ronan, Find A Grave Memorial# 3540539.