Filling In The Blanks: Part Three

This continues my Edna Henry and family project from Part Two where I summarized the records I collected from 2005-2008. Now I  will concentrate on evaluating what I have which should help to decide where to go next.

To help me decide where to go next I should define my goals for this project.  I talked about this a little in Part One, but let’s list it out:

  1. When and where exactly was William born?
  2. When and where did William die?
  3. When and where were William and Florence married?
  4. What is Florence’s maiden name?
  5. What happened to Edna’s husband (since no one remembers him, only her)?
  6. Can I find any new information on William that will lead to new information on his father John Baker Henry, brother Charles Dorsey Henry or grandfather Charles L. Henry?

I realize I may not be able to answer all these questions during this small project but these are the things I am looking for.

First off, back to talk to my mother.  Both her and Aunt Ruth have mentioned Edna.  Let’s go back and ask some more questions.  I ask Mom:
Did you ever meet Mom-Mom Pisani’s cousin Edna, she died in 1979 in Florida?
I don’t remember ever meeting her.  I do remember that Pop-Pop (Angelo Pisani, Ruth A. Henry’s husband) used to make comments about her.  Apparently her and Mom-Mom (Ruth A Henry) used to go to Annapolis when they were younger before Pop-Pop and Mom-Mom were married.  Pop-Pop would tease her about them going to meet sailors.  And I think Edna traveled a lot and would make comments to Pop-Pop about how he should let Mom-Mom go with her.  And I think she worked as a nurse or something for elderly people.  I don’t know where she did this exactly, whether she lived at their houses or what but I am pretty sure I heard something about that.  That is all I know.
Have you ever heard the name Benjamin Wasson, she married him in 1936?
No.  To be honest I don’t remember anything about a husband.  I think she was always referred to as Edna Henry. 
Do you remember anything about Edna’s parents?
Nope.  I knew that she was Mom-Mom’s cousin, and a Henry but I was never quite sure how exactly she was related.
Next time you visit Aunt Ruth can you ask her these questions?
I will but I’m not sure what answers I will get.

Hopefully I will have more on that once Mom goes to visit Aunt Ruth.

In the meantime, unlike 2008, the 1940 census is now available.  So my first new search will be for William and family in 1940. Off to

Plugging in William R Henry, birth year of 1859 in Maryland yielded 147 results for the 1940 census.  The best candidate was the first on the list.

Search results for William Henry

Why is Cambridge, Dorchester County, Maryland a possibility when all earlier records were in Baltimore County and City?

  • My 2nd great grandfather (and William’s brother) Charles D. Henry had 3 daughters.  Two of them married men from the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
  • Charles D. and his wife Charlotte lived there for a time as well.
  • There are many pictures that Aunt Ruth has that are from family outings on the Eastern Shore.  So there is a connection to the Eastern Shore so I wouldn’t just eliminate the possibility.
  • The father-in-law relationship would hint that if this is the right William might be the household of Edna’s husband.  I have a record that Edna married Benjamin H. Wasson in 1936.  Beyond his name I know nothing about Benjamin.  Maybe he is from the Eastern shore?  Or a sailor?

So I click the View Record button…

SOURCE – Year: 1940; Census Place: Cambridge, Dorchester, Maryland; Roll: T627_1547; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 10-12

Unless Edna changed her name, married someone else, gained 3ish years in age, or William and Florence had another daughter that never showed up before, this isn’t my guy.
I go back to the search list but no other matches fit seem to fit. I checked some of them out anyway.  Nothing.

OK, so maybe William has passed away between 1930 and 1940.  Let’s look for Florence.

None of the 5 Florence Henry results matched at all and there were none in Maryland.  I clicked on a couple just to make sure but again, nothing.  Maybe both William and Florence died between 1930 and 1940.

Next up, Edna.  A search for Edna Wasson born in Maryland in 1894 yielded no hits.  But look, see something interesting?  (P.S., I cut and pasted since the “interesting” entries in question were 5 entries apart.)

Search Results for Edna Wasson

Ben H Wasson.  Same name as the man Edna married in 1936.  Maybe her name is transcribed incorrectly as Caroline L. Wasson in the records since the birth date matches Edna’s?  More clicking…

SOURCE – Year: 1940; Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland; Roll: T627_1520; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 4-311

Hmmm…I am not going to throw this away, but I don’t think this is who I am looking for.  So far, Edna has never been enumerated as anything other than Edna or Edna B.  We will file this as something to explore further later on.

Well, just for kicks, let’s search for Edna Henry instead of Edna Wasson…

Search results for Edna Henry

Promising. Click…
OK, I think I found her.  Edna B. Henry in the 27th Ward of Baltimore City at 3030 Westfield Avenue.  This is the same address from the 1930 census when she was living with her parents.  Edna is listed as the single 45 year old head of household who owns the house and is employed in candy sales, making and selling candy.  There are 3 others in the household that I may need to revisit later.

SOURCE – Year: 1940; Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland; Roll: T627_1539; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 4-776B

What is important about this record (and why)?

  • Edna uses her maiden name and is listed as single. (Later records; SSDI and Florida Death Index lists her last name as “Wasson”)
  • She is listed as “Single”. (The marriage record from 1936.)
  • She is living in the same house as in 1930 but neither of her parents is there. (Maybe they are both dead)
  • She is now making and selling candy.  (Her change of occupation is not unusual but intriguing.  There is a history of candy making in the family.  My great grandfather Angelo Pisani married Edna’s cousin Ruth Augusta Henry.  Angelo’s father was a fruit dealer and candy maker in Baltimore after he emigrated from Italy.)
  • She has other seemingly non-related people living in the house.  (Maybe something to explore)

I continue to do some additional searches for William and Florence but still come up empty.

Now I decide that I am going to concentrate on trying to find out if William and Florence did in fact die between 1930 and 1940.  There are several directions I could go here and there may be readers who would choose a different path.  We will see where my path leads me.

  1. I could search the Baltimore City Directories to see if I could narrow down when they no longer appear in the directory.  Since I have a U.S. subscription to and a subscription to I can view many of the directories from the comfort of my home office.  But there are gaps in the directories between 1930 and 1940 and that method is not always reliable.  I could luck out but I’m going to search other resources first.
  2. I could search the Baltimore Sun archives. Since I have a Baltimore County Public Library card I can access the archives from home as well.  However, searching can be a bit tedious, especially when searching the name “Henry”, even for a relatively small 10 year range.
  3. I could search the Maryland State Archives death indexes.  This is a great resource but at this point I will have to wade my way through each of the 10 years from 1930 to 1940 (for Baltimore City) and possibly the County indices as well.

Back in May I attended a Workshop hosted by the Maryland Genealogical Society on Maryland Land Records.  The workshop was excellent and what I learned has helped my research immensely. 
I am going to try a Land Records search on 3030 Westfield Avenue because:

  • Since William owned the property in 1930 and Edna owned it in 1940, maybe she inherited the house somewhere in those 10 years (if they are in fact dead in 1940).
  • I googled 3030 Westfield Avenue and it still exists, making it easier to track the property back through the records.  If the property no longer existed I could still search this way but I would have to start searching through the Grantor or Grantee indexes until I happened upon them. 
  • Land Records can provide some unique information.  Besides property information you may find death dates, filed will information, and relationship information. I have found this helpful to find maiden names or for the reverse finding names of men daughters married.  Sometimes however, it is just boring (but useful) property information.
Google search for 3030 Westfield Avenue

There is even a street view, what a cute little house.
Since real life calls, I will start my Land Record search…tomorrow I hope.

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