Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fairy Skinner

It may sound like some kind of monstrous creature, but I can assure you that Fairy Skinner was a cousin of mine. I've only just learned this thanks to's October release of the Iowa Birth & Christening Index.

I knew a lot about her before that, actually. I knew her parents were Stephen Douglas Arbogast and Catharine "Kitty" Melvina Gammon, that she was born in Centerville, Iowa in 1897, and that she married Marion James Skinner and had a son, Melvin James Skinner.

My mistake? I didn't know her first name. I had her in my family tree as "Armilda D Arbogast." When I found her in the birth index I got a surprise. She was listed as "Fairy Armilda D Arbogast."

With that discovery, I've now found her and her husband on a variety of records I didn't have before.

According to the index of her obituary (I can't find the actual obituary anywhere online), she went by "Jo." From census records, I've discovered that she had three sons, of which I had only known one. After Melvin James in 1920, she and her husband had Robert G. Skinner in 1921 and Donald Durkee Skinner in 1929. She died on October 25, 1998 in Escondido, California, nearly 101 years old. Her husband predeceased her in 1975 and her eldest son in 1964.

Robert graduated from Pasadena Junior College in June of 1942 at the age of 20. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps Reserves as a Cadet in 1944. I don't know anything else about him until his death in 2006.

Donald also graduated from Pasadena Junior College, but in 1950. As far as I can tell, he is still alive.

Sometimes, it's remarkable what you can learn when you get just the right piece of the puzzle, even when you thought you'd found all you needed.