Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Exploratory Data Analysis: Robert F. Pierce (1923-2005)

Robert F. Pierce (1923-2005) 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

          Robert was born April 21, 1923, 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 for mention of Robert's birth.  The Alexandria-Monroe Public Library has newspapers from the early 1900s.  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 surviving Bible record for the Pierce family.  Will continue to reach out to extended family in hopes that one does exist.

          1.1.3. Baptismal Record

               I am not aware of any baptismal record for Robert.  The Pierce family were members of the Methodist Episcopal church.

          1.1.4. Adoption Record

               There is no indication that Robert was adopted.

     1.2. Marriage License

          Robert married Blance ________ on August 31, 1946.  Her surname is currently unknown.  

          1.2.1 Marriage Notice in Newspaper

               Will need to search contemporary newspaper accounts for mention of Robert and Blanche's wedding.

          1.2.2. Anniversary Notice

                Robert and Blanche's 25th wedding anniversary was August 31, 1971.  Will search contemporary newspaper accounts to see if mention was made of any anniversary celebrations.

          1.2.3. Divorce Decree

               There is no indication of a divorce, but thorough search of Madison County, Indiana court records needs to be completed.

     1.3. Death Certificate

          Robert died June 11, 2005 in Alexandria, Madison County, Indiana1.  I do not yet have a copy of his death certificate.  Will add this to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.

          1.3.1. Obituary in Newspaper

               I have not yet located Robert's obituary in the newspaper.  Will add this to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.

          1.3.2. Funeral Home Records

               Once I've located Robert's obituary, I can contact the funeral home to see if they have any additional records.  Will add this to my list of "to-do" items.

          1.3.3. Tombstone Photograph

               Robert's tombstone in the Park View Cemetery in Alexandria, Madison County, Indiana2 has been photographed.

               A link to his memorial page at FindAGrave is located here.

2. Census Records

     2.1. Federal Census Records

          2.1.1. 1940 Federal Census

               On May 3, 1940, Robert was enumerated in the William Pierce household in Monroe Township, Madison County, Indiana3, as Robert Pierce, son, age 17, born in Indiana.  He had attended school within the year and had completed 3 years of high school.  His residence in 1935 was the same location.  He lived on a farm and was born in Indiana.

          2.1.2. 1930 Federal Census

               On April 24, 1930, Robert was enumerated in the William Pierce household in Monroe Township, Madison County, Indiana4, as Robert F. Pierce, son, age 7, born in Indiana.  He had attended school within the year.  His father was born in Indiana and his mother born in Kentucky.

     2.2. State Census Records

          The State of Indiana conducted state census in 1853, 1857, 1871, 1877, 1883, 1889, 1901, 1913, 1919 and 1921.  These, however, were merely for the purposes of legislative apportionment.

     2.3. Agricultural Census Records

          I have not yet investigated these types of census records to see what light they might shed on the Pierce family farm.

3. Military Records

     3.1. Draft Registration

          I have not discovered any draft registration records for Robert.

     3.2. Pension Records

          I do not yet know if Robert received a pension for his service during World War II.

     3.3. Service Records

          On January 6, 1943, Robert enlisted in the U.S. Army in Indianapolis, Indiana5 for the duration of the war plus six months.  According to his memorial page at FindAGrave, Robert served in the Philippines.

4. Land Records

     4.1. Deed Records

          Deed records need to be thoroughly searched in Madison County, Indiana to see what records might mention Robert.

     4.2. Plat map / county map

          Madison County, Indiana, published a plat map in 1880, 1891, 1893, 1901, 1910, 1915, 1921, 1923, 1931 and 1940 that might be relevant to my search on the Pierce family.

5. Supplemental Records

     Supplemental records available to search for Robert include city/county directories, court records and will and probate records.  Will add these to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.


1. "U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-current," database, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 December 2013); citing Social Security Death Index, Master File.
2. FindAGrave Inc., FindAGrave.com (www.findagrave.com : accessed 18 December 2013).

3. 1940 U.S. census, Madison County, Indiana, population schedule, Monroe Township, enumeration district 48-58, SD 11, sheet 8B, dwelling 166, digital images; Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 December 2013); National Archives, Washington, D.C.
4. William Pierce household, 1930 U.S. census, population schedule, Monroe Township, Madison County, Indiana, ED 48-45, SD 5, sheet 13B, dwelling 321, family 327; National Archives micropublication T626.
5. "U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946," database, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 December 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration, Electronic Army Number Merged File 1938-1946.


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.
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