James Louis Pierce (1931-2002) was my maternal great-granduncle. What follows is an exploratory analysis of the biographical data I have discovered about him.
1. Vital Records
1.1. Birth Certificate
James was born September 10, 1931, probably in Madison County, Indiana, according to my database. I do not yet have a copy of his birth certificate. Will add this to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.
1.1.1. Birth Notice in Newspaper
Will need to search contemporary newspaper accounts to see if mention was made of James' birth. Will add this to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.
1.1.2. Bible Record
I am not aware of any Pierce family Bible. Will continue to reach out to extended family members in hopes that one does exist.
1.1.3. Baptismal Record
I am not aware of any baptismal record for James. The Pierce family were members of the Methodist Episcopal church.
1.1.4. Adoption Record
There is no indication that James was adopted.
1.2. Marriage License
I do not have any details yet on James' marriage, though I do know that he was divorced from his death record in North Carolina. Will continue to search for record of his marriage.
1.2.1 Marriage Notice in Newspaper
Once I have a date range to search for James' marriage, will be able to search contemporary newspaper accounts for mention of it.
1.2.2. Anniversary Notice
Will need to search contemporary newspaper accounts for mention of any anniversary celebrations once I've determined the date of marriage.
1.2.3. Divorce Decree
Although I know that James was divorced from his death record, I do not know when or where the divorce was granted. Will need to continue to search for documentation of the event.
1.3. Death Certificate
James died January 19, 2002 in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, North Carolina. My source for this data is from email with a correspondent. The cause of death was not listed on the record I was provided. Will need to request a copy and add this to my "to-do" list.
1.3.1. Obituary in Newspaper
Will need to search contemporary newspapers to see if mention was made of James' death. Will add this to my list of "to-do" items.
1.3.2. Funeral Home Records
Once I've obtained the obituary information, will contact the funeral home that handled the arrangements to see if they can provide any additional information.
1.3.3. Tombstone Photograph
James' tombstone in the Maplewood Cemetery, Anderson, Madison County, Indiana1, has been photographed.
A link to his memorial page is here.
2. Census Records
2.1. Federal Census Records
2.1.1. 1940 Federal Census
On May 3, 1940, James was enumerated in the William Pierce household in Monroe Township, Madison County, Indiana2, as James Pierce, son, age 8. He had attended school within the year, his residence in 1935 was the same place. He was born in Indiana. Note : the line for education indicated "C-3", which according to the instructions would have been 3 years of college, based on his age, assuming that the enumerator meant that James had completed the third grade.
2.2. State Census Records
The State of Indiana conducted state census in 1853, 1857, 1871, 1877, 1883, 1889, 1901, 1913, 1919 and 1931. These, however, were merely for the purposes of legislative apportionment.
2.3. Agricultural Census Records
I have not yet investigated these types of records to see what light they might shed on the Pierce family farm.
3. Military Records
3.1. Draft Registration
I have not been able to locate any draft records for James.
3.2. Pension Records
I do not yet know if James received a pension for his service in the U.S. Air Force.
3.3. Service Records
According to his tombstone, James served as a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. I have not yet investigated his military service. Will add this to my list of "to-do" items.
4. Land Records
4.1. Deed Records
Deed records need to be thoroughly searched in Madison County, Indiana and Forsyth County, North Carolina, to see what records might mention James. Will add this to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.
4.2. Plat map / county map
Madison County published a plat map in 1880, 1891, 1893, 1901, 1910, 1915, 1921, 1923, 1931 and 1940 that might be relevant for my research for the Pierce family.
5. Supplemental Records
Supplemental records available to search for James include city/county directories, court records and will and probate records. Will add this to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.
1. FindAGrave Inc., FindAGrave (www.findagrave.com: accessed 31 December 2013), James Pierce tombstone.
2. 1940 U.S. census, Madison County, Indiana, population schedule, Monroe Township, ED 48-58, SD 11, sheet 8B, dwelling 166; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com: accessed 12 December 2013); National Archives, Washington, D.C.
This post was developed as part of the series relating to Building My 2011 Research Template, an attempt to systematically document and source the details of my ancestors' lives. Comments regarding this template and the conclusions drawn in this article are welcomed.