52 Ancestors 52 Weeks Week 15 Percy Carroll
Percy, my great great uncle was born either September 1895 or 25 November 1899 in Leighton, Colbert County, Alabama. After twenty some years of research, I’m convinced that my ancestors just picked a date or let someone make a date up for their birth. Granted many of them didn’t have much education and I’m convinced that the record keepers made them up also. Recently, I had to renew my driver’s license and had to provide almost every document possible, birth certificate, social security card, marriage license and two bills with my name on it. Reflecting on my ancestors and the moving target date of their birth, I can’t help but wonder why this didn’t come earlier. However, the clerk told me when I questioned the need for proof needed after having a license for forty-nine years and providing a birth certificate then why it was necessary, she told be it was due to 911. Wish some natural emergency, not tragic would have initiated some proof of birth back in the day. Back to Percy who seemed to consistently used CARROLL as his surname. Out of nine brothers he is one of two that used the name for most used Carroll when they were young then began using CAL.
The verbal history is that Percy left Alabama, moved to Detroit and worked for Chrysler Automobile Company. In 1900 and 1910 he lived in Leighton with his immediate family. He even registered for World War I Draft on 12 Sep 1918 at age 19 in Colbert County yet by 1920 no record was found in the US Census. He does show up, in what I think is him, in Detroit, Michigan as a lodger in the home of Erman Strong who was also born in Alabama. Percy lived on Scotten Avenue and worked as a laborer in an Auto Shop. Who knows that may have been a Chrysler Automobile Shop. By 1931, Percy is listed in the Detroit City Directory working as a janitor, was that with Chrysler? Could be Percy who is listed in the 1940 US Census for Detroit at 5687 23rd Street, single and working as tailor. At this point, I really don’t know yet for some reason every generation of Carroll/Cal named a boy Percy. Could be he was named after another Percy in the family. We find no record of him marrying or having children but again who knows. I do know he died in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois on 24 March 1971 and lived with a woman named Flora Carter. They lived in a small house and my cousin that I connected with a few years ago went to Chicago after hearing of his death.
Here’s to you Percy and I am delighted to meet you in these confusing records. Oh, the journey of a Family Historian and oh how I love it.