Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The "Bob WeHadABabyItsABoy" Method for Family History

This family history stuff is going to send me to the poorhouse.

Remember "Person-to-Person" phone calls?  For you youngsters who never had to pay for long distance calling, this was an operator-assisted call placed from you directly to a specific person rather than a general phone number.  If they weren't available, you did not have to pay for the call.  If they were home and came to the phone, it was even more expensive than long distance.

You may have seen the Geico commercial on TV employing that strategy.  They just had a baby, but don't want to pay for a call, so he places a person-to-person call to Bob WeHadABabyItsABoy, and the guy on the other end of the line tells his wife "They had a baby, it's a boy."  We used to do the same thing when my husband traveled - when he got to his destination, he'd place a person-to-person call to himself at our number, and then I'd know he made it okay.  We didn't get to talk, but he got his message across.  I decided to employ that same technique to answer a burning family history question without having to empty my wallet on yet another newspaper subscription.

I already have two similar subscriptions, and through them I learned that my great-grandfather, P. C. Christensen, opened Bell Bakery in Huron, South Dakota sometime between October of 1908 and March of 1909.  I was hoping to learn more about exactly when the bakery opened, and how he came to be associated with his partner, Clarence Bell, both of them moving to Huron to open that bakery.  But neither newspaper website covered that crucial time in between those dates.  Newspaper Site #3 does.

Voila!  I decided to try the Bob WeHadABabyItsABoy technique, and did a search for Bell Bakery between October 1, 1908 and March 31, 1909.  I got numerous hits, with previews, for October of 1908.  Great news!  The bad news is that the previews aren't telling me a lot.  Some look like advertisements, but others are so vague... it does, however, narrow down the dates considerably.

However, my brilliant strategy is still going to end up costing me money.  There is an advertisement for Bell Bakery in the October 17, 1908 issue of the paper, and perhaps an article, I can't tell.  I have an article from one of the paid sites from October 29, stating that "City Bakery" had a fire, but it was minor and they intended to repair and continue.  The interesting thing is that both Bell Bakery and City Bakery were located at 340 Dakota Ave.  Did Bell Bakery purchase the City Bakery location after the fire?  If so, why is there overlap in the time frame?  Was Bell Bakery initially located somewhere else before purchasing the 340 Dakota site?

I might as well get off my wallet and subscribe to newspaper site #3.  Can't take it with you, right?

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