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Rachelle asked in Arts & HumanitiesGenealogy · 8 years ago

Why can't I find more information on my wife's possible father?

Okay, so this is a sensitive subject but it's been bothering both my wife and I for some time as to why we can't get more information on this man. You see, Jerry Lee Pinkerton, who was born 5/19/54 died on his way back to Illinois on Military leave in Georgia on 9/12/75. This was just 11 days before my wife was born. The story is that the Greyhound bus that he was riding in hit a bump and somehow the only person killed was Jerry. He is buried in Belltown Cemetery listed as LCpl. U.S.M.C. I only found one record in an old archived Alton Telegraph paper listing the accident and death. I can no longer locate it. I can find nothing on any of Greyhound's sites about any such accident nor any military records listing Jerry. My wife was told that Jerry was her father but has also been told that another man, whose last name she was given and who her mother was married to, was her father. She has seen pictures of Jerry and there's little doubt that she is his daughter. The problem is she is now 37, his mother has passed away, and she always felt like she'd be doing a disservice to her dad and half sister in getting a DNA test and is scared of possibly digging up skeletons by seeking out help with his remaining siblings. Can anyone help in the search for more information on this man? She has even went to the local library there to see if she can get info from his old yearbooks and has come up empty and our emails to Greyhound have gone totally unanswered.


It is true that her mother was married to her namesake father when she was born. Her mom then a few years later abducted her to Germany away from that father, got divorced and married another man. Her mom has been married and divorced 5 times and subsequently changed her last name several times (though not legally). Being how deceptive her mom is, she's always wondered how much truth there was to it, but said knowing how little she looks like her namesake dad and his kids, she always wondered until she saw a pic of Jerry and realized she looked just like him. She said she remembers when she was 12 going to Jerry's mother's house and the woman looking at her and saying yes she so is his child. Unfortunately his mom died last year, a day before my wife's 37th bday, the only person she had hoped to someday perhaps get in touch with but now it's too late. We're not talking legality, she just has some hopes of knowing her ancestry, knowing where she 'came from

3 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Find A Grave has his father Glenn Edwin Pinkerton grave site listed with obituary transcribed on memorial page. It names his wife and children that survived him when he died in 1988. Also named son Jerry that preceded him in death. Mother is Lillian V. Phillips.

    A family tree on Ancestry has noted Jerry's obituary appears on page 86 of the Green County (IL) Historical Society, Book I presume so contact them.

    According to a newspaper article the Greyhound Bus ran into the back of a semi trailer rig carrying a bulldozer in the city of Kennesaw, (GA) A Marine Jerry L. Pinkerton age 21 of Whitehall, IL was dead on arrival to the Kennastone Hospital in nearby Murrietta. 8 others were injured.

    Her mother didn't try to prove Jerry was the father? There surely was litigation or settlement of wrongful death paid to his family by Greyhound. Look for court records in the "home" state Greyhound is incorporated in or the county the accident happened in or even the county the family or Jerry himself lived in.

    The only way to know for sure as to bio family connection is a DNA test or if she herself is convinced he was her bio dad, there is nothing to stop her from doing a family tree of the Pinkerton family. Seem there is already enough on Find A Grave to get names.

    She has to make up her mind get in touch with his siblings and be prepared for the outcome good or bad or just do a tree and do her own search of records. Why having information from Greyhound as being needed escapes me.

  • 8 years ago

    Your person shows in both the social security death index, and the Georgia death index. Location of death from the Ga index shows Cobb co, Georgia. So the location of death is valid. His death cert would verify the cause of death.. but if he isn't listed on her birth cert as father, she does not have legal authority to order that document. I would be looking for the marriage date of the mother and husband..if they were married AFTER HER BIRTH, it is possible that he adopted her after the marriage. If they were married at the time of her birth..then the husband is legally the dad, even if she is biologically not his. Military records are not open to public, because he "could" still be living.

    I may be wrong, but I think the only relevant dna test would be if she tested with the husband, and that came back negative. You say you found a newspaper article, so you do know it exists?? it could be as simple as it not being online. Microfilms at local library usually will have all old newspapers. The paper itself has a website, you can also try to contact them. I am not surprised that Greyhound is not replying.. I don't think they would consider that a public record.

    The best bet (since you have seen it) would be to track down that original obit. It won't, however, answer the question of him being actually the father.

  • 8 years ago

    Since you have gotten some additional information, she should consider an autosomal DNA test from a company called 23andMe and then transferring the results to FamilyTreeDNA. The initial test costs $99 and the transfer (to give you access to both databases) is $69. She needs to research her mothers family tree back as far as she can and then compare the resulting distant cousin matches with both her paternal and maternal family trees. She should be able to get a good idea if she matches the various lines on Jerry's tree.

    You can view Jerry's tree using the parent's information you were given in another answer for free at They have all the public trees.

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