When I first began my research, my paternal Grandmother Edna Keener Malone had already passed away. She left very little in the way of clues for me, only what I came to term as "secrets". I had no idea who her father was, but I did know who her mother was. After floundering around for a bit, I finally tracked down another family member, wrote a letter and waited for a phone call. Uncle Marshall Kidwell, my great grandmother's brother, called me one afternoon and wanted to answer some of my questions. He had the answer I really wanted... who was Grandma Edna's father?
"Clarence Keener" was his answer.
May Kidwell and Clarence Keener were married in Fairfax County VA on April 18th 1923. Together they had three children Edna born Feb 11, 1924; Pauline born June 1, 1926 and Russell born October 1, 1927. I knew that May had another child with her second husband in May of 1929 so I began there and went backwards, looking for some clues as to what happened to Clarence. I found a death record for him in Fairfax County in January 1929 and ordered his death certificate.
Judging by the birth date of her next child, I naturally assumed that May and Clarence were no longer together at the time of his death. And judging by the 'clues' that I had hoped would be on his death certificate I was correct about that. Apparently she didn't provide any information and the response "Do Not Know" was listed for almost all of the areas on his death certificate. The only clue - he is listed as "Divorced" (which I still at this point don't believe to be correct but that's another story). I thought it was very sad that this man died, virtually unknown by the people who were around him, and I set out to find out where he was buried. The death certificate stated "Potters Field".
The folks at the Virginia Room in the Fairfax County Library attempted to help me but let me know that burials at that time were not put in a designated place in the county, nor were there many records. The potters field could have been in the backyard of the funeral home (which no longer existed), or it could be in an area that was now off limits because a bridge had been built and even another possibility was 'near' the parking area of the county school bus system. The records of these burials were simply not kept in one place, therefore making it very difficult to find them. I did find that later that year E. W. Groff charged the county $25 for the burial of Clarence, if only I knew where he put him!