Friday, November 13, 2009

Erastus J. Perry: Secondary Sources

Many people check secondary resources first when beginning their genealogical studies. Secondary sources include those items that are compiled by someone else, such as a book or a website about the family one is researching. I, on the other hand, check other people's compilations after I have done some work in original source documents that I have easy access to. Original source documents include birth certificates, death certificates, obituaries, marriage certificates, census records, and so on. I followed my usual pattern with Erastus J. Perry.

I found four GEDCOM files on's WorldConnect database that contained Erastus J. Perry. His birth date and death date match what I found in the WWI draft registration card, social security death index, obituary, and census records. His burial place also matched.

All four family files said that his wife's name was Bertha I. Perkins. Both her obit and Erastus' obit both say that her maiden name was Westbrook, and her obit even gives her brother's name as B.C. Westbrook. I wonder where the name Perkins comes from. Of course, none of them have sources documented as to where they determined that her last name was Perkins. I'm wondering if she was first married to a Perkins. This will require a trip to the Southwest Louisiana Genealogical Library to search their marriage records on microfilm, assuming she and Erastus married in Calcasieu Parish. In the meantime, I will search the 1920 census to see if she was married to a Perkins at that time. It would make sense if she were married prior to marrying Erastus because she was about 30 years old at the time of her marriage to Erastus, based on the age at first marriage given in the 1930 census. Granted, her marriage to Erastus may not have been her first marriage, but sometimes the census taker wrote down the age of the person at the time of their current marriage rather than their first marriage.

The family files also gave Erastus' father as Richmond L. Perry, who was born 26 Oct 1847 in Calcasieu Parish, and who died 9 Aug 1909. His burial place is given as Big Woods Cemetery. Erastus' mother is given as Harriet Wynonah Coward, who was born 3 Jun 1853 in either Calcasieu Parish or Galveston County, Texas, and who died 15 Dec 1921 in Calcasieu Parish. Her burial place is also Big Woods Cemetery. This is interesting because the 1920 census listed Gus Lyons as her brother. This is a note on the SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA database by Chas Alcock:

The 1920 census has Augustus Lyons, born 1866, living with Wuonah and lists him as her brother. I have them as first cousins. Previous censuses support them not being brother and sister. Erastus Perry, her son, was also living in the household.

On the Dickerson Family database by Bobby Dickerson, there is a note about Erastus' sister, Eula, from Eula's granddaughter, Marilyn Baker:

Bobby, I have received as of today my grandmother's (Edith Ursula Perry Castleberry Harvey) social security information in which she stated that she is the daughter of Richmond L. Perry and Wayona Coward. She has her birthday listed as 02 August 1895 in Vinton, La. She died 07 April 1973 in Houston, Harris, TX. She was married to Roy Castleberry and had two children Lucille and Roy Perry Castleberry. She later married an Unknown Harvey. Just thought I would pass this info onto you and others.
There is also another note from Marilyn about Eula in the SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA database:

Weaver Harvey is NOT Eulah J. "Edith Ursula" Perry's 2nd husband. I do not know where that information was found but it is a gross error. I have done extensive research on her and that particular information is not correct. Also, I have discovered that Lucille is not Eulah's daughter but step-daughter to Eulah. Eulah had 3 husbands and 2 children. All my sources are documented and in my genealogy I always make sure that credit is given to all my sources.
I did find this entry in the SSDI for Edith Harvey:

Name: Edith Harvey
SSN: 461-18-1611
Last Residence: 77003 Houston, Harris, Texas, United States of America
Born: 2 Aug 1895
Died: Apr 1973
State (Year) SSN issued: Texas (Before 1951)

Apparently, Eula's real name was Edith Ursula Perry and she was not married to Weaver Harvey, though I wonder what Harvey she was married to.


  1. Checking their sources is time consuming. But then it is the part you want in your own anyway. I am glad others have checked mine and well pointed out any errors I have had. which were from other sources. even the church itself.

  2. your right, cause I have had errors on something, pointed it out and the person used it that way anyway. I have written a comment/ story to their tree, but the error remains. And then more all because my windows closed and I didn't go back to fix what I was working on.
    At least if you contact the members of the source maybe they will caution you about the errors there. Evidently lots of people have told me they can't get back to it to change it.
    It happens as you go.