Here’s One Place You Don’t Want To Find Your Family

Remember Fred Ackermann, whose wife Mae was listed as the head of his household in 1920?

And remember how I said the only thing I knew about him after that was that he was listed as divorced on his death certificate?

Yes.  Well.  There’s more.

Fred was married to Mae Pool at the time of the 1920 census.  I just found him in the 1930 census in Oakland, California (enumeration district 206, page 3).  He’s married to someone else—a woman named Dorothy.  They have a daughter, Mary, who is 12 (which means that either Fred had a daughter with Dorothy while he was married to Mae…or, more likely, Mary is actually his step-daughter).  They also have a son, Edward, who is 3.  That means he was born around 1927.  This one could be Fred’s own son with Dorothy (or with Mae…too soon to tell).

So one of the first things I do when I get a new name is to google it.  So I googled, “Edward L. Ackermann.”

And I found him.  Guess where?

In case you missed it because of the ugly font, that’s the Los Angeles County Coroner’s database of unclaimed persons.  This is officially the saddest place I’ve ever found an potential ancestor.

Then I saw the “View Photo” thing, and I thought, what?  WHAT???  Really?  I pictured those Law and Order episodes where they show the bartender a picture of the dead body and ask him if he was there last night.  Ummm, no thank you.  It turns out that the photos are from the Department of Motor Vehicles database—they’re driver’s license photos.  There isn’t one listed for Edward though.

Fortunately, it appears that Edward didn’t remain unclaimed for long.  I realized that a guy born in 1926 might have served in World War II, so I looked him up in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Nationwide Gravesite Locator, which lists (nearly) all of the people who are buried in national cemeteries (or other cemeteries with a veteran’s headstone).  He was buried 19 days after he died in Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.

Now, is this MY Edward L. Ackermann?  I’m not sure.  The date of birth certainly fits for the guy in the 1930 census, who was three years old on the census day in 1930.  He’s in Los Angeles, and I know that his presumed father Fred died in Los Angeles in 1962.  This could be my guy.  To find out, I’ve ordered the death certificate from Los Angeles County (which means I’ll hopefully have it in a month or so…ordering from the county is much faster than ordering from the state, especially in California).  Since Edward’s body was unclaimed for almost three weeks though, I’m not sure how likely it is that his death certificate will list his parents. which is what I need to find out if he’s the right person.  If there was someone around to give that information, that same person would have probably come forward to claim him sooner.  So I also ordered the SS-5, which is the original application Edward would have filed to get a social security number.  You can order them online now, and supposedly if you do, they take about three weeks.  I already searched the Los Angeles Times for information and/or an obituary for Edward, but I came up empty.  Unfortunately, in LA, you have to die pretty spectacularly or be pretty famous to make the papers.

So it looks like I’ll be watching the mailbox for a while, waiting to find out more about Edward.  I hope his life was happier than his death.

UPDATE: I found out more about Ed Ackermann.  You can read about it here.

Get more stuff like this

Don't miss a thing. Subscribe to new posts via email.

12 Responses

  1. Ruth Stephens 5 years ago
  2. Thomas MacEntee 5 years ago
  3. Susan Tiner 5 years ago
  4. Deli Kate 5 years ago
  5. Karen Packard Rhodes 5 years ago
  6. Joanne Schleier 5 years ago
  7. Sarah B. 5 years ago
  8. Sarah B. 5 years ago
  9. Kerry Scott 5 years ago
  10. Skip Murray 5 years ago
    • Kerry Scott 5 years ago
  11. Charlene Hughes 5 years ago

Add Comment

Web Statistics
2604811407_0a9328103f_o
BREAKING: Clue Wagon is Now a Dating Website
4482942978_c4347b15fe_z
Ancestor Hate Mail
Ancestry DDoS attack
8 Theories on the REAL Reason for the Ancestry.com Outage
8409353231_68d3062177_z
Confession: I’m a GeneaFreak in My Sleep
4400388995_af65ba1fae_z
Can We Stop Calling Grandma a Whore?
Ancestry DDoS attack
8 Theories on the REAL Reason for the Ancestry.com Outage
5027161428_f762af4ce5_z
Why Don’t People Post Public Family Trees?
3366720659_b746789dfd_z
Confession: I Hate Free Genealogy Stuff
Family History Library Visitor Tips
9 Things You Need To Know Before You Go to RootsTech/FGS
1594411528_1512b1aad5_z
How to Stop Spammers From Stealing Your Facebook Identity
nelson-scheiber-wedding-minneapolis
Guerrilla Genealogy: Hunting Down Wedding Guests
4212380812_a008fbbf06_z
Dead People, Dead People, Dead People, SQUIRREL!
Mad-Men-DNA-Genealogy
How Mad Men Will Really End—With a Shaky Leaf
7464252264_a12645770a_k
Why Your DNA Test Results Are Wrong
Horrified Senior Woman
Clue: Your Ancestry Username and Your Pee-Oh-R-N Username Should Not Be The Same
4400388995_af65ba1fae_z
Can We Stop Calling Grandma a Whore?
7512877940_2720e3be12_z
Want a Full Refund on Your NewspaperArchive.com Subscription? Just Ask About Their Charity.
3366720659_b746789dfd_z
Confession: I Hate Free Genealogy Stuff
250436252_11e6b00028_z
O Come, All Ye Drama Llamas
6587951925_169aa0d54f_z
Is Making Money From Your Blog Still a Thing?
4482942978_c4347b15fe_z
Ancestor Hate Mail
1594411528_1512b1aad5_z
How to Stop Spammers From Stealing Your Facebook Identity
Ancestry DDoS attack
8 Theories on the REAL Reason for the Ancestry.com Outage
7512877940_2720e3be12_z
Want a Full Refund on Your NewspaperArchive.com Subscription? Just Ask About Their Charity.