View Full Version : Can anyone get this background a bit further? (USA C20th)

Christine in Herts
09-02-08, 12:49
My errant grandfather, Leonard BENNETT, appears on the 1930 US census in Detroit, MI...
1930 82-166-30-35b: age 43, floor manager in department store; Collingwood Ave; living in Wayne, Detroit; naturalization in progress, emigrated to USA in 1923 (but see below!). He also claimed to be a US WW1 veteran - but there's no evidence so far to suggest that that was valid!

With him are:
Ruth BENNETT, Wife, age 32, store detective; b 1897-8 Indiana; parents b Indiana; m1 c 1915 (on basis of age at 1st marriage compared with age at 1930 census)
name "BENNETT", stepson, age 14, b 1915-6 Michigan; father b England, mother b Michigan

Leonard claims that this is his first marriage, and gives his age at "first" marriage as his current age. As his DoB was 6 March, the inference is that he was married to Ruth in March 1930. (I'm in the process of getting a researcher to pick up copies of the naturalization docs - if findable - to track down more info, such as his marriage date.) Of course, Leonard's track record on veracity means they may not have been married at all, at that date.

He was in Canada until 19 Mar 1924: entering USA via Detroit (per his US immigration doc).

I'd like to know more about Ruth and the stepson (presumably her son from her first marriage?) before 1930, if anyone can spot them. It might give more clues about the wayward Leonard.

Leonard died in Florida in 1967. I've removed the name of the stepson, just in case he's still alive. If Ruth is still alive, then (at age 110) she'd be in all the papers, I should have thought!

PS - I apologise to any Bennett genealogists from USA who find this thread and who are researching the same Leonard Bennett under the illusion that he was a model of truthfulness and integrity. I'm not intending to "burst anyone's balloon" here; and they can be reassured that the second marriage would have been valid because my grandmother, tragically, had already died (aged only 40) in 1927.

09-02-08, 19:10
HI Christine

When did your grandpa Leonard K Bennett leave England to go to Canada?

Do you have him visible in the Canadian census at all?

09-02-08, 19:15

Is there a surname of BRIDGES that appears as being a family member in your tree?

Will tell more if so.

Christine in Herts
09-02-08, 21:35
I've been trying to join the BRIDGES into our tree - but without success, so far. I've researched the Canadian "cousins" and traced them back to UK, and deduced some stuff - I have quite a bit about them - but I just can't join them into my tree. :( I haven't given up! :D

Leonard clearly claims the Ontario lot as cousins when he comes into the USA.

I haven't got him in a Canadian census - it would have to be 1921, to which I don't have access. He said, in the immigration doc, that he came over on the May 1916 crossing of S S Metagama, landing Montreal, but he's definitely not on that pax list (and I looked all the way through the Canadian landing passenger lists not only for that crossing, but for several others!). An expert researcher had a look at that problem for me and couldn't spot him - and he checked the total numbers against the listed names. The guess is that Leonard came across as crew, but the shipping line's records don't seem very accessible.

Leonard's CV includes:

b 6 Mar 1887 Handsworth
1901: age 14, shop asst, clothier & tailor (Birmingham, England, area)
7 Nov 1911: age 24, motorman (Birmingham, England, area) - per M-cert*
5 Oct 1915: tram driver (Birmingham, England, area) - per 2nd son's B-cert
1916 Toronto City Directory: Leonard Bennett, clerk (probably my Leonard†)
19 Mar 1924: age 31 :rolleyes: salesman - per immigration doc
1930: age 43, floor mgr, dept store (Detroit)
1 Dec 1936: age 43 :rolleyes: employee of Rotary Electric Steel Co, Detroit - per SSN application*
d 5 Jun 1967: age 80, Florida, retired crane driver (steel industry)

†He's not far from the BRIDGES household he claimed as his cousins.
*The combination of M-cert and SSN application is my evidence for claiming this man as my grandfather: the signatures match - even after 25 years!


Karen S
09-02-08, 22:55
Hi, Christine

Stepson Bennett says mother born Michigan, but Ruth born Indiana. So that doesn't add up.

Christine in Herts
09-02-08, 23:02
I know, Karen.

I've just had another look at the copy of the census image, which I kept when I had the chance. But that's what it says.:confused:

Under headings of PoB for person/father/mother

Leonard's says England/England/England
Ruth's says Indiana/Indiana/Indiana
stepson's says Michigan/England/Michigan

Something doesn't quite work.


10-02-08, 00:43
Hi Christine

Hmmmm....since you have an exact date of death and previous occupation I'm assuming you possess a copy of his Florida death certificate. Does this give any clues as to his marital status? Was Ruth still living? Who was the informant? Since his last SSDI address is Pasco County but he seems to have died in Pinellas County he may have been hospitalized or in nursing care. Have you attempted to find an obituary for him? Or any existing probate filings? Any of these documents potentially would indicate living kin.

Best wishes

10-02-08, 06:01
HI Christine

I did notice another Leonard Bennett born 1887 going into the USA in August 1910 but that wouldn't work as you have him as clearly been in the UK

Here are his details just in case,

Leonard Bennett 23 Printer he states that he and both parents were born in England. His father he names as Thomas and that his last usual residence was 63 Mildway* Road, London.

This mans arrived in Port Huron, Michigan and states his final destination as being Canada.

Going by the obvious marriage cert you have for your Grandpa Leonard was his father stated as being George then?

Christine in Herts
10-02-08, 14:16
Thank you, Wendy and Jean, for your further interest (and support!)

Yes, I do have a copy of his Florida death cert. He died in Morton F Plant Hospital, Clearwater, Pinellas, FL. He seems to have suffered some of the old-age organ breakdowns - including arteriosclerosis. The informant was May G BENNETT, who gave the same address for her residence in Largo as was given for his. Thanks for asking about his marital status: I hadn't particularly registered that piece of info, but he is described as "married", not "widowed" or "divorced". That could matter! He's also described as a US citizen.
I have sent a message on the relevant Random Acts link - but it was some time ago - and no-one is obliged to follow it up; I do understand that. I was hoping that there might have been a death notice ("father of..., grandfather of..." and so on), even if it's unlikely he'd have had an obituary. I hadn't thought about probate filings.

The UK marriage cert did give George as his father's name. That ties in with his SSN application - which confirmed my, hitherto speculative, research into his family history. It also ties in with my uncle's given name - the first child - named for his paternal grandfather, father and maternal grandfather (in that order). I sometimes wonder if my grandfather ever saw his son's names on any church publicity on those occasions when my uncle travelled to USA in the course of his work - I just can't remember when he went*. If my uncle travelled to the same area where my grandfather was living (assuming him still to have been compos mentis) my grandfather would have to have known it was his son: the names are too unusual for him not to have been. Potentially very poignant!

*I think it may not have been until 1968 at the earliest, because he was involved in a firmly local ministry until then.

10-02-08, 14:24
HI Christine

There is this death entry, convenient or not, of a

May G Bennett bn 27 May 1898
died on 1st Jun 1980 - Pinellas, Florida, United States

Can't view an image as there isn't one.

Christine in Herts
10-02-08, 14:36
Thanks, Wendy.

Can't help but wonder if this was a third marriage! Perhaps I should try to get a copy of her death cert- though I wouldn't be able to claim the close relationship, needed to get the cause of death version, I'd still get the general info, I think?

Just re-read the date of her death - the same as my father's. A bit resonant.


PS - Going out to a church-charity concert in a mo, so won't be ignoring any further replies - just delayed in replying.

Christine in Herts
10-02-08, 17:20

Where is that death recorded? I just had a look on the SSDI, and the only May G BENNETT in that seems to be b 12 Mar 1914 and d 9 Feb 1992; last residence Brooklyn, Kings, NY 11201.

I think I did have a look in the SSDI before and couldn't find her then. Could she not have had a social security number?


10-02-08, 18:42
HI Christine

I did look for her too on the SSDI but didn't see her there.

The death entry came from the Florida Death Indexes covering 1877 - 1998

The entry only jumped out becasue of the area and the name. Possible just a coincidence.


Christine in Herts
10-02-08, 20:49
Thank you very much for your help, Wendy. It may be a coincidence. If it is, it's a remarkable one. There aren't lots of names in those lists for a May G Bennett, and it is the right County - not just the right State. I've decide to incorporate it in my info on an unproven basis.