Clara Penisten graduation photo
Clara (Penisten) Pierce (1869-1906) was my maternal 2nd-great grandmother. What follows is an exploratory analysis of the biographical data I have collected about her.
1. Vital Records
1.1. Birth Certificate
Clara was born in March of 1869 in Madison County, Indiana1. I do not currently have an exact date of birth.
The State of Indiana began requiring birth certificates in 1907, though many counties have birth records going back as far as 1880.
1.1.1. Birth Notice in Newspaper
I have not been able to locate any contemporary newspaper accounts of Clara's birth.
1.1.2. Bible Record
I am not aware of any surviving Bible record of the Penisten family. Will continue to reach out to collateral relatives in hopes of discovering one.
1.1.3. Baptismal Record
I am not aware of any baptismal records for Clara at this time, nor do I know the church affiliation of the Penisten family.
1.1.4. Adoption Record
There is no indication that Clara was adopted.
1.2. Marriage license
Clara married William Francis Pierce on January 14, 1892 in Madison County, Indiana2.
Their marriage license was the subject of a previous post.
1.2.1. Marriage notice in newspaper
Will need to search out contemporary newspapers to see if their nuptials were mentioned.
1.2.2. Anniversary notice
Will need to search out contemporary newspapers to see if their anniversary was mentioned. Clara died in 1906, so they were only married 14 years.
1.2.3. Divorce decree
There is no indication that they were divorced.
1.3. Death Certificate
Clara died September 26, 1906 in Lafayette Township, Madison County, Indiana. I did not realize that I did not have a copy of her death certificate. Will need to request that from the Madison County Health Department on my next research trip.
1.3.1. Obituary in newspaper
Clara's obituary appeared in the Alexandria Times-Tribune. I have transcribed it in my database but did not source it. Need to go back and update my records for the date and publication information.
I also need to search in other local newspapers to see if her death was mentioned.
1.3.2. Funeral home records
I need to search at the local historical society to see if there are any surviving funeral home records that would mention her. The brief obituary I do have did not mention which funeral home handled the arrangements.
1.3.3. Tombstone photograph
For some reason, I do not have a photograph of Clara's tombstone in my database. Will need to rectify that situation soon.
2. Census Records
2.1. Federal Census Records
2.1.1. 1900 Federal Census
On June 15, 1900, Clara appeared in the William F. Pierce household in Monroe Township, Madison County, Indiana1 as Clara Pierce, wife, born March 1869 in Indiana. She was 31 years old, had been married for 8 years, and was the mother of 5 children, 3 of whom were still living. Her father and mother were both born in Indiana. She could read and write and spoke English.
2.1.2. 1880 Federal Census
On June 15, 1880, Clara was enumerated in the John Penniston household in Fall Creek Township, Madison County, Indiana3, as Clara A. Penniston, age 12, born in Indiana. Both of her parents were born in Indiana. She had attended school within the year and could read and write.
2.1.3. 1870 Federal Census
I have not yet discovered the Penisten family in the 1870 census. They should be in Madison County, Indiana, along with other members of the family, who appear in Richland Township. Will need to conduct a line-by-line review of the Madison County, Indiana census.
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 purpose of determining legislative apportionment.
2.3. Agricultural Census Records
I have not yet investigated these types of census records to see what light might be shed on the Penisten or Pierce family farm.
3. Military Records
3.1. Draft Registration
Not applicable, as Clara was female.
3.2. Pension Records
I am not aware of any military service by father or husband that would have made Clara eligible to receive a military pension.
3.3. Service Records
Not applicable, as Clara was female.
4. Land Records
4.1. Deed Records
Deed records need to be thoroughly searched in Madison County, Indiana. All evidence indicates that Clara spent her entire adult live in Madison County, Indiana.
4.2. Plat map / county map
Madison County published a plat map in 1880, 1891, 1893, 1901, 1910, 1915, 1921, 1923, 1931 and 1940 that might be relevant for my search for Clara and the Penisten and Pierce families.
5. Supplemental Records
Supplemental records available to research for Clara include county/city directories, court records and will and probate records. Will add these to my "to-do" list for my next research trip into Madison County.
1. William F. Pierce household, 1900 U.S. census, population schedule, Monroe Township, Madison County, Indiana, ED 90, SD 67, sheet 11B, dwelling 200, family 235; National Archives micropublication T623, roll 386.
2. Madison County, Indiana Marriage Book C4, page 112. Madison County Clerk's office, Anderson, Indiana.
3. John Penniston household, 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Fall Creek Township, Madison County, Indiana, page 22B, ED 31, SD 3, dwelling 195, family 204; National Archives micropublication T9, roll 293.
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.