The subject of this blog post is Guy Bradley Dingman, born 17 Sep 1892 and died 10 Mar 1941. He is my 2nd cousin twice removed. He lived an unremarkable, even sad, life, but tracking down details of his life, using only online resources, was interesting to me as I researched in Venango County, Pennsylvania, for the first time, and worked with some new record sources, as described below.
First of all, here is how we are related:
Guy Bradley Dingman (1892 – 1941) is my 2nd cousin 2x removed
John M Dingman (1863 – ) was the father of Guy Bradley Dingman
Hiram B Dingman (1826 – 1905) was the father of John M Dingman
Jacob Dingman (1786 – aft 1830) was the of father Hiram B Dingman
Nelson Dingman (1818 – 1907) was the son of Jacob Dingman
Andrew Simpson Dingman (1853 – 1909) was the son of Nelson Dingman
Wallace Betts Dingman (1881 – 1920) was the son of Andrew Simpson Dingman
Mary Jane Dingman (1908 – 1975) was the daughter of Wallace Betts Dingman
Wallace Dingman Huskonen is me, the son of Mary Jane Dingman
So, our common ancestor was Jacob Dingman, who migrated from Schodack, Rensselaer County, New York to Charleston Town, Montgomery County, New York, where he lived most of his life. Nelson (my great great grandfather) left Montgomery County, New York, in 1846, according to the History of Mercer County, pub in 1888, page 1174, found 24 Nov 2007 on the Mercer County (Pennsylvania) Rootsweb site, and moved to Mercer County. Hiram B Dingman (my great great uncle) either came with his older brother, Nelson, or joined him later in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. I blogged briefly about how local newspapers charted Nelson’s lifetime on 13 Nov 2013. Go to http://www.collectingancestors.com/2013/11/28/ancestors-life-recorded-in-newspapers/. I plan to post more about Nelson in the future.
Various sources show that Guy Bradley Dingman was born on 17 Sep 1892 in Plum Twp, Venango County, Pennsylvania, when his father was 29 and his mother Ella (Bradley) was 24.
The 1900 census shows that Guy, age 7, was living in Butler, Butler County, Pennsylvania, with his father and mother and sister, Vera, age 8 months. (This census record and the others following are found on Ancestry.com.) John gave his occupation as oil well pumper.
The 1910 census shows that the John M Dingman family, including Guy (age 18), was now living in Sugarcreek Twp, Venango, Pennsylvania.
A city directory (available online on Ancestry.com) for Oil City, Venango, Pennsylvania, for 1912, places the family at 1 Elm St. Guy was living with his father and mother, and his occupation was listed as “student” even though he was 20 years old.
Two years later, the 1914 Oil City directory shows the three Dingmans at the same address. Guy’s occupation was now poultryman.
In the 1916 city directory, Guy was still living at the same address with his father and mother, but he listed his occupation as florist.
When Guy registered for the World War I draft on 6 Jun 1917, he stated he was living in Sugarcreek, Venango County. On his draft card, he reported that he was an assistant florist, working for Chas. Miller. I have not yet been able to find any information on a florist in Venango County named Chas or Charles Miller.
By the way, I did a little research on Sugarcreek and found it is a borough of more than 37 square miles, making it the largest borough in Pennsylvania, according to Wikipedia.com. A borough in Pennsylvania is one of four types of incorporated municipalities: Cities, boroughs, townships, and towns, again, according to Wikipedia.
Guy enlisted in the Army on 15 Jun 1918 in Franklin, the county seat of Venango County, Pennsylvania, and was “mobilized out” (honorably discharged) on 4 Feb 1919 at Camp Sherman, in Chillicothe, Ohio. This information is found in the online database, “U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938,” on Ancestry.com. His service was in Co. 15, Cas. Det. Infty. ( a unit designation that I have not been able to decipher). We’ll get back to this database later.
Guy resumed his career as a florist in a greenhouse after serving in the Army. That is the occupation he reports in the 1920 census, and he again was living with his parents and sister in Sugarcreek. His father, John, was employed as a watchman for a “tool company.”
A city directory for Oil City for 1927 shows that Guy was still living with his parents, now at 136 James St, Oil City, and his occupation was now listed as laborer.
I was not able to find an entry for Guy in the 1930 census, but I did find his father, John, now widowed, living in Sugarcreek, in the household of Vera and her husband, Wallace Shaffstall, and two Shaffstall kids. John listed his occupation as laborer in a machine shop, perhaps the same shop where Wallace was working as a machinist.
Incidentally, the family moves from Sugarcreek to Oil City and back probably covered only about four to five miles.
In 1931, Ancestry.com does show that Guy was a patient at the National Soldiers Home in Bath, Steuben, New York. He was admitted on 14 Jan 1931, and discharged 17 Mar 1931. He then was readmitted on 25 Aug 1931, and discharged 15 May 1833. Diagnoses: Hemorrhoids and neurocirculatory asthenia, (in layman’s terms, the later diagnosis means he suffered from palpitations and shortness of breath following slight physical exertion).
The next record I was able to find online for Guy was the 1940 census, in which he was listed as being a patient in the Warren State Hospital (Mental Hospital) in Conewango, Warren, Pennsylvania. Furthermore, Guy was listed as living in the “same house” in 1935 (the 1940 census gathered information about where people were living also in 1935). The fact that he does not show up in a regular 1930 census suggests that he may have been a patient there in 1930, as well.
Guy’s life came to an end on 11 Mar 1941 according to his burial card found in the online database “Pennsylvania, Veterans Burial Cards, 1777-1999,” made available by Ancestry.com
The transcription of his burial card by Ancestry lists the county of burial as Franklin, so I mistakenly spent some time trying to track down any burial listings for a Franklin Cemetery in Franklin County. I came up with no results, obviously because there is no Franklin Cemetery in Franklin County. Then I went back to the burial card, and finally saw that it very clearly reports that the cemetery is in Franklin in Venango County. I then went to Find-A-Grave and searched for Guy in Franklin Cemetery in Franklin, Venango County, Pennsylvania. This search was successful, producing a simple entry for Guy, listing only his birth and death dates, which suggests to me that it was created from cemetery records. There is no photo of a head stone. His listing, Find-A-Grave Memorial # 121880425, was created by a volunteer, Doris Hartman, on 18 Dec 2013.
I also found a nice map showing the layout of the Franklin Cemetery at http://venango.pa-roots.com/cemeteryfranklinmap.html. From Guy’s burial card, I learned that he is in Section L, lot no. 27. Section L on the map is on the back side of the cemetery, which is another suggestion to me that there is no head stone.
When I started this project, I knew nothing about Guy Bradley Dingman, or even his parents, John and Ella, or his grandfather, Hiram B Dingman. I learned about them while trying to track down direct line Dingman relatives in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. Guy appeared among the “green leaf hints” on Ancestry.com in that effort.
Researching Guy’s life of just shy of 50 years showed the range of records that are created for even the most ordinary individual in the 20th Century—and it demonstrated to me once again the power of 21st Century online family history research, particularly when using Ancestry.com. In the process, I learned about some new (to me) record sets, about a new county—Venango—in Pennsylvania, and some new possibilities for further Pennsylvania research on my Dingman ancestors.