Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Lack of Premarital Records

The last of his siblings to die, my husband's grandfather either didn't know or didn't remember the names of his paternal grandparents. His father, William Emmitt Hunter, was born 9 July 1874 most likely in Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, married in December of 1910 to Winnie Huddleston, and died in that same county on 4 April 1953. However, William hasn't been found in any census record prior to 1920. Where he was living before his 1910 marriage and the identity of his parents has been a mystery.

Oklahoma Department of Health, certificate of death 005619 (1953), William Emmitt Hunter.
[Obtained years ago from unknown source.]

For many years, William's 1953 death certificate was the only obtained document which contained information regarding his parents. The informant, my husband's grandfather, stated that William's father was Thomas Hunter and his mother's name was unknown.

William Emmitt Hunter, SS no. 526-30-2088, 3 Dec 1943, Application for Account Number (Form SS-5), Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland.

Recently, an Ancestry "shaky leaf" hint for William led to the Social Security application index. According to this index, which states it was filled out in December of 1943, William was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Thomas Hunter and Wimnie [sic] Pierce. An actual copy of the application confirmed the information found on the index.

Efforts to locate William in the 1880 census, with or without his parents, have not been successful. Likewise, attempts to locate either Thomas Hunter or Winnie Pierce (or Hunter) in either the 1860 or 1870 federal censuses with reasonable birth years to have a child in 1874 have not been conclusive.

If you are related to the Hunter family, or have any more information about William Emmitt Hunter and his family, I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at drleeds@sbcglobal.net


  1. William's WWI draft card from McClain County, Okla., might suggest other places to look for earlier records. Winnie was with him. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KZDF-1XK

    1. Marian, I appreciate your letting me know about his WWI draft card. I had already seen it, but it didn't seem to provide any additional information about his parents. The Winnie on this document was his wife, not his mother. I know it's kind of strange that they were both named Winnie! (Or, perhaps his mother's name really was "Mimnie."

  2. So frustrating to finally find a document and the parents are listed as "unknown".

    1. Agreed, but was happy to find the SS application that didn't say "unknown." I do wonder if his mother, and perhaps even father, died while William was still very young.

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