Saturday, June 17, 2006

Frederick WILKINSON and the WWI Draft Registration

Yesterday evening, Nancy Robinson, who so kindly took photos of my Frederick WILKINSON's grave, e-mailed me with a link to his WWI Draft Registration Card at I'm very familiar with the WWI Draft Registration database there, but for some reason, had never thought to look up my WILKINSONs. Frederick's card gave me a more complete birth date - 26 Sep 1881 (previously, I had only the month and year), a rural route address near Kelso, Cowlitz County, Washington, his employer's name and address, confirmation that he was married to Frederica (she was listed as next of kin), and a physical description (short height, medium build, blue eyes, black hair, and no disabilities).

I really hit paydirt as I expanded my search on the other Wilkinson siblings. First, I tried the eldest brother, Manley. He was not listed (probably too old for the draft registration), but his eldest son, Manley Richard, Jr., in Muskegon County, Michigan, was. So was brother John. Brother William brought me the biggest surprises: living in Seattle, Washington, his next of kin was listed as Florence GRANT WILKINSON, living at a separate address from him in Seattle. Now I had never heard that he had been married. His obituary lists only his sister, Kate, with whom he was living at the time of his death, in Ottawa County, Michigan. Since William's draft registration card was dated 12 Sep 1918, I checked out the 1910 and 1920 Federal Censuses for William, hoping to find Florence listed. She was not. In 1910, William was single, living in William Jenning's boarding house, and working at the local shingle mill, in Skamokawa Precinct in Wahkiakum County, Washington. In 1920, I did find William with his family, but Florence was not his wife: Evelyn P. was. He also had two step-children and two of his own children living with him in Eagle Harbor Precinct, Kitsap County, Washington. So I have some work to do: finding a marriage and divorce record for a possible marriage to Florence Grant; another marriage record for Evelyn P.; a divorce and/or death record for Evelyn P. (since William appears to be single at the time of his death in 1924); census records for William, Evelyn, his step-children, and children through 1930; SSDI listings for the step-children and children.

I didn't finish there; I went on to search for the WILKINSON women's husbands. My ancestor, Mary's husband, George LEWIS (my great-great-grandfather), was too old for the draft registration. I found sister Catherine/Kate's first husband, Carl THOR, with information that filled a lot of gaps: his full name and a birthdate, and the fact that he had been naturalized (he was born in Sweden). I couldn't find her second husband, Abner AINGER, although I tried multiple variations of his name in the search engine. I don't have a birth date for him, and its possible he was too old to be registered. I found Floyd LUCHINI, Ella's husband, in 1918 in Alma, Gratiot County, Michigan. He listed Selena LUCHINI in Italy as his next of kin. This is probably his mother. Floyd and Ella had a daughter, also named Selena, in 1921.

I'm still not believing I didn't look up this family before in the WWI Draft Registration database, but I am very grateful to Nancy for kickstarting this investigation for me.

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