Genealogy is a process of filling in the blanks about our relatives. When I set out to learn about my family's history, no one in my family knew much about anyone beyond our grandparents and a few great-grandparents.
To learn more about my grandparents, I searched the census records, starting with the most recent and worked my way back in time from there. This was the case with Percy Daniels, my great-grandfather. I located him easily on the 1930 and 1940 census and both records indicated he was born around 1881 in Washington. My grandmother claimed he was born in Olympia. Years ago, I contacted the Thurston County clerk's office requesting information about Percy Daniels' birth, based on those years, but the search came up empty.
I have not been able to locate Percy on the 1910 or 1920 census but I found various ship records showing he was a sailor traveling the world during that period. When I found a copy of Percy and Vena's marriage license, I learned that the names of his parents were William Daniels and Eliza Gale. Washington marriage records reveal that William and Eliza were married on November 21, 1881, in Mason County, Washington.
William and Percy were counted on the 1900 census in Satsop, Mason County, Washington. William was a widower, meaning Eliza died between the time Percy was born and 1900. Percy's age was given as 15 and his birth date was given as "Dec 1884".
When the Washington State Census of 1892 was taken, Percy was living in Kamilche, Mason County, Washington, with his father. His age was given as 6. Three years, prior, when the 1889 State census was taken, Percy was counted in the home of his maternal grandmother who was married to J. W. Pratt. Percy's age was given as 3. These early records of Percy's life appear to be the only time his age was recorded accurately on a census. When the 1885 State census was taken, his parents were counted in Mason County with only a 1-year old daughter, Mary C. Daniels, in the home. Percy was not found on the 1885 State census.
Finally, I found Eliza's obituary which was printed in February of 1886. The obituary states that she died leaving a child who was about two months old, which brings me to the conclusion that Percy was born December 5, 1885. If anyone has any other evidence to prove or disprove my theory, please share!
See the Daniels page for more on this family.