Sunday, January 13, 2013

Saturday Night Fun: Meet Robert Zimmerman

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings each week promotes having a little fun with our genealogy research.  While I rarely take part, this week’s challenge really did look like fun.  In fact, I had too much fun and here it is Sunday already.


Step 1:  Find the last person in my database.
Technically, the VERY last person is a child whose name is unknown, so I’ll use the last NAMED person in my database:  Robert Franklin Zimmerman.

Step 2: What do I know about this person based on my research?  (Randy said it’s OK to do more research, and that’s what I did, which is why this post is late.)
Robert is the son of a postal carrier Everett L. ZIMMERMAN (1894 Ohio – 1955 West Virginia) and Nell SAMPSON (1894 West Virginia – 1984 West Virginia).  He was born in Ohio about 1918, but by 1920 the family was living in Huntington, West Virginia, where Robert remained until his later years.  In 1930, the Zimmermans lived on Marshall Avenue, just a few blocks from what is now Marshall University.


Zimmerman home Marshall Avenue, Huntington, West Virginia
from Google Maps
1832 Marshall Avenue, Huntington, WV
(house with stone front)


By 1940 Robert had married Ruth Frances LAMBERT (both of whom had graduated from high school), and the two purchased a house on Bungalow Avenue (now known as McVeigh Avenue) just a couple blocks away from Robert’s childhood home.  At that time, Robert was working as a proofer for a photography studio.

Zimmerman home Bungalow Avenue, Huntington, West Virginia 1940
from Google Maps
This white house at 1812 McVeigh Avenue
in Huntington, West Virginia COULD have been
Robert and Ruth's house at 1812 Bungalow Avenue.
It appears the name of the street changed.

City directories indicate that in the late 1940s and 1950s, Robert became a storekeeper.  At some point, he and Ruth moved to Green Bank, West Virginia where they were residing as late as 1999.  But why Green Bank?  Did they ski at nearby Snowshoe Mountain?  Was he working at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory?  Was he seeking refuge in this Radio Quiet Zone due to suffering from electromagnetic sensitivity?  Obviously, I’ll need to do more research if I want to answer these burning questions.

From a family tree posted on Ancestry I learned that Robert and Ruth have four children, two boys and two girls.  Robert’s information remains private, so it appears he could still be living, now 94.  His parents and brothers are all buried in Ridgelawn Memorial Park in Barboursville, West Virginia, and his wife is buried in Forest Lawn in Huntington.  Find A Grave has no listing for Robert.  If he were deceased, surely he’d be in one of these two places.

Step 3:  How is this person related to me?
Robert is my fourth cousin once removed.  His mother, Nell SAMPSON, was the great-granddaughter of George SAMPSON and Drada JOLLETT, my third great grand aunt who was sister to my third great grandfather Fielding JOLLETT.

Step 4:  Tell about it in a blogpost.
I did. 

What made this Saturday Night Fun exercise compelling to me is that my “last person” just celebrated his 95th birthday on January 10.  His wife Ruth would be celebrating her 91st birthday on January 17, had she lived.  Without Randy’s nudge, I would have missed the opportunity to learn about this gentleman and to say

Happy Birthday Robert!

13 comments:

  1. You are something girl! You always find the most amazing things about our relatives.

    Lots of wonderful people are born in January! ;-)

    Fun post as always!

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    1. Now let's see ... who else was born in January? Hmm....

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  2. WoW! Did you really get in contact with Robert? That is so cool!
    Love the house research :)
    Happy Sunday!

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  3. Happy birthday to Robert!

    Every time I read your posts, I'm inspired to do more research about my own family. I think that's a good thing. :)

    Happy Sunday!

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    1. That IS a good thing. I hope you'll find time for some memoir writing in addition to meeting your poetry challenge.

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  4. Wendy, looks like this was a fun project. Robert would be an interesting person to talk to.

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    1. I did have fun researching this person whom I otherwise probably would never have looked into .

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  5. Wendy, thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. I've nominated you for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award.
    http://who-knew-it.blogspot.com/2013/01/awards.html

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  6. Oh, Wendy, unbeknownst to me, I just followed suit to Debi's nomination. You are, you know, one of the most interesting commenters I've read, and I see I'm in good company with that opinion.

    However, I just read in someone else's blog where it was mentioned that you don't do awards...and yes, now I see your decal. Quite a handy little banner, I might add...think I'd like to borrow that idea for future reference.

    In the meantime, the deed is done...I've gone and gushed all about you on my blog. Well, I still stand by my words: you're one of my favorite comment-writers! But I also repent of my ways...and would be glad to take any tips from you on where you got that "Award Free Blog" banner! If you'll accept that as my way of doing penance, that is :)

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  7. Debi and Jacqi, Aren't you all funny! But I'm accepting it since it's so easy being a good reader of your blogs. Thanks so much!

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  8. What a fun post! Lots of great detective work here Wendy!

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    1. The irony is that after I did the detective work, Robert is no longer the last named person in my database - I found the names of 4 of the 5 below him.

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