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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Analysing Clues to Help You Figure Out Where to Search Next

Sherri asked about her grandfather's death:

I have been looking for information for about 5 years about my grandfather who is named Burrell Charles Ball first married to Doreen Roxie Morcombe (from Omemee) and then afterward I think Estelle Ball was his wife.  Burrell’s brother I know was from Emily Twp, Albert and he died a few years back and Burrell died around 1993 but I do not know when, where, how etc. 

Also Russell Charles Ball was their father and I believe he lived in Lakefield but there is little information about any of them.  I know there was a fire in Russell’s Lakefield home where he had Burrell, Albert and Barbara E. Ball (I think).  He was married to Julia Secreta Wood that I believe died when she was young.   Where can I go to find out more information?

Olive Tree Genealogy Answer:

Hello Sherri. Since you did not provide an estimated year of birth for Burell, I had to hunt on the 'net to find some mention of him.  Luckily I happened on one of your message board posts where you stated he was born circa 1920 and, best of all, that he was in WW2.

His military service is a great clue and means there are a number of steps you can now take:

Step One:
Did you know that you can send for his military file from Library and Archives Canada? This will give you lots of detail about your grandfather, and may include his death date and location.

Step Two:
Also you can search the online records of the Legion Magazine's Last Post. These are death notices for servicemen and women. Burell is found - just conduct a search under his name. His death date is given as November 14, 1992 (no location). So if he were my ancestor my next step would be to write to the Legion Magazine and ask if they have any other information on Burrell.

Step Three: 
Write to the Legion Branch (Haliburton) where Burrell was a member. Ask if anyone remembers him or if there is more information available. 

There are other steps you can take even with the few clues you have given me.

Step Four:
Send for Burrell's birth certificate from the Registrar General in Thunder Bay.  This will give you an exact date and location of birth, as well his parents' names and ages. With any luck the info found there will lead you to finding his parents in the 1911 census or in earlier records.

Step Five:
Lakefield is in Peterborough County so I would write to the Peterborough Museum & Archives and ask if they have any information on the family.

Burrell's Parents
Now, turning to Burrell's parents. You don't seem to have found the information available on Russell and his wife Julia. has Ontario marriage records to 1927 online. The marriage of Russell Charles Ball age 29 to Julia Secreta [sic] Wood age 19 is found in Peterborough County 6 June 1917.  You will want to obtain this record. Julia's middle name appears to be a mistranscription of the actual name given in the image. has very nicely shown that there are other records online for Russell and Julia - namely Russell's birth, 1891 census, 1901 census, 1911 census, Julia's birth and her death. Their places of birth and parents' names are found in the record of marriage record.

Next, since Lakefield was mentioned by you, why not search the online Lakefield Cemetery website? I did, and found Charles Russell Ball, Julia and several other Ball burials. You may be able to match some of them with whatever you find in the census records. This will give you some family groups with dates.

Going clue by clue I've now found Russell Charles Ball's birth record, marriage record and burial. Each new bit of information was a clue I used to find another bit. I have also found his parents' names and  their deaths too. Their deaths provided me with their locations of birth.

There is much more available online but I'll leave you the fun of following the trail I started for you.

1 comment:

  1. My Grate grand father who came to America from "Germany" when he was 4 was in both world wars... I hadn't thought of getting more info on him that way.. thanks for the help... he and his family have been tough to track... maybe this will open another door.