Saturday, May 7, 2011

Albert Francis's World War I Draft Card and 1920 Census Information

(This post is part of a series about my research of Fitchburg architect H.M. Francis)

When I began going through, I was specifically looking for Frederick Francis's World War I draft card. What I found instead was slightly surprising, it was Albert's draft card. When I first saw it, I instantly thought of his passport at the Fitchburg Historical Society and the number of questions it raised. I wondered if the mysterious "Motion Picture Producer" would insert another enigma on this document.

Fig. 1: Albert Francis's World War I Draft Registration Card
Because of the smudging, I had difficulty reading the document at first. I went online in search of a template for the registration card to aid my eyes and figure out where all the pieces of information were to fall.

Fig. 2: Page 1 of a World War I Draft Registration Card
Fig. 3: Page 2 of a World War I Draft Registration Card
Armed with this template, I was able to read Albert's card more effectively. I then took the time to transcribe its contents.

Name: Albert Franklin Francis
Permanent Home Address: 144 Main, Fitchburg (Worcester County) Mass.
Age: 43 years. Date of Birth: March 6th, 1875
Race: White
U.S. Citizen: Native Born
Present Occupation: Architect
Place of Employment: 804 Main Street, Fitchburg, (Worcester County) Mass.
Nearest Relative: Emily Francis (Leighton)
Address: [illegible, but I think it was the Wesley Building on Main Street]
Height: Tall
Build: Medium
Color of Hair: Light
Not physically disqualified from service.

I went through a 1907 edition of"Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts" through Google and was able to find this information about Albert, that helped shed light on some information in his draft card.

Fig. 4: Marriage information about Albert Francis from Historic Homes...
The selection reads, "He married, June 9, 1898, Edith Martha Perry, born June 9, 1877, at Leominster, died March 26, 1902, at Fitchburg. They had one child, Dorothy, born December 21, 1900, died December 24, 1900."

Emily Francis, his nearest relative in his draft card was his mother. After the deaths of his father, his wife, only daughter and brother, Albert lived with his mother Emily. I am presuming they resided in the Wesley Building, a lovely boarding house that H.M. had helped design on Main Street, which also served as his final residence.

Fig. 5: Snapshot of the 1920 census data for Emily and Albert Francis
The information from the 1920 census lists Emily Francis as the head of the household (Head), mortgaging their home (M), a female (F),white (W) 83 years old (83) and widowed (Wd). Albert F. is listed as her son (Son), male (M), white (W), 44 years old (44) and also widowed (Wd.)

I ran a basic search for Albert in the 1930 census, but was unable to locate him. The next time I visit the Historical Society, I'd like to research what Albert was up to in the 1930s and before his death in 1946.

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