02 January 2014

Paul Z. Burrell

Are Paul Z. Burrell and Paul Zanfrey Burrell the same person, or is it just a coincidence that there were two men with such similar names (including the unusual middle initial) of about the same age in the same place at the same time?

Paul Zanfrey Burrell was born 7 May 1890 in Columbus Ohio, but seems to have lived most of his childhood and youth in Nashville. His parents were Benjamin Franklin Burrell (1864-1941) and Annabell Zuck (b. 1886). Paul died 17 April 1936 in Nashville TN and was buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. He was married to Rose Shields (or Shield), (b. approx. 1900), and they had two daughters. They seem to have lived in New York throughout most of their marriage. Paul worked as a telegraph operator and/or railroad dispatcher.

Paul Z. Burrell was born between 1888 and 1900 in Ohio, but lived in Nashville. The 1910 census lists his occupation as railroad operator. Paul married Hazel Delight Newcomb (1889-1975) 3 August 1909 in Chicago IL. They had one son, Theodore (1910-1955), probably born in Illinois. According to Hazel (as recounted by her daughter-in-law), Paul died young (some time between 1910 and 1914) and she moved to California, where she married her second husband. I have not yet been able to find the record of Paul's death or burial.

I am hoping to determine whether Paul Z. Burrell is the same person as Paul Zanfrey Burrell. It is possible that Paul and Hazel divorced and that she lied about his death (I have found that divorced people in the past often claimed to be widowed because they were ashamed of the divorce). It is possible he kept his first marriage a secret, or that he simply didn't talk about it, so descendants might not be aware of it. It is even possible that they never got a formal divorce and simply remarried bigamously. All the more reason to avoid mentioning the first marriage or to claim the spouse had died. All of this is speculation, because I simply don't know whether or not the two Pauls are the same person. Aside from all the other things they have in common (probably the same age, born in Ohio, lived in Nashville, railroad dispatcher) it's that middle initial that really gets to me.

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