Friday, June 29, 2018


H. Norman Gould-1933-cropped
My Dad - Harry Norman Gould

Most of us assume that graduation age for high school is age 17 or 18.  Right?  There are exceptions.  If a child is particularly bright and graduates early  If a child was held back due to grades or illness, perhaps they would graduate at an older age.

Let’s discuss my Dad, Harry Norman Gould.  I have always known his birthday, 31 Dec 1912.  Born on New Year’s Eve.  We celebrated his birthday, along with a new year, every year.  That would mean he probably graduated high school in 1930 or 1931.  However, I had never located a high school yearbook for him and had no school records.

FINALLY,  (after a dozen years of searching) I found my Dad’s high school yearbook picture.  Thank you to MyHeritage for having this yearbook collection for Northwestern High School in Detroit, Michigan, for this particular year.  I had done this search on Ancestry many times, but not located the yearbook.  It is still not available on that site.  One more reason for me to be happy I signed up for MyHeritage recently.  Yes, I still have my Ancestry subscription too.

My Dad's yearbook page

To my surprise, I found my Dad in a 1933 yearbook.  And there was the handsome portrait photo I have always had for him.  My grandmother wrote the date 1933 on it.  I never thought it was a high school photo, because I “assumed” he graduated in 1930 or 1931. 
Here’s his birth certificate from Michigan.  I sent for this record back in 2005. Every item on this certificate except for one, coincides with all I know about my Dad and what I’ve gathered in evidence to support that.
The one exception is his father’s name being listed as Henry W. Gould instead of Harry W. Gould.  I have learned that Harry and Henry are often interchangeable from one record to the next, so that exception doesn’t bother me.
Please click on any image to enlarge it. 
GOULD_Harry Norman_31 Dec 1912_DetroitWayneMichigan

This certificate tells me the following:
Date Filed – December 13, 1920
State File Number – 121-582-0015973
Child’s Name – Harry Norman Gould
Date of Birth – December 31, 1912
Gender – Male
Child’s Birthplace – Detroit, Wayne, Michigan
Mother’s Name Before First Married – Marie Lindsay
Mother’s Birthplace – Michigan
Father’s Name – Henry W. Gould
Father’s Birthplace – Michigan

Note the date of filing is 1920.  My Dad would have been nearly 8 at the time this certificate was issued.   I wonder if there had been no record of his birth prior to that time?

Was the certificate required in order for him to enter school?  If so, why did he enter so late?  His age on 13 Dec 1920 was 7 years 11 months and 12 days.  That would certainly account for him not graduating until 1933.

Here is the original scan of that photo of my Dad, with my grandmother’s writing on it, identifying it as her son, Norm and the year 1933.  Prior to this I had thought it was a portrait photo taken of my Dad after high school.

GOULD_H Norman-1933_with date written on it_annot

And here is the photo as it stood in my grandmother’s home on Asbury Park in Detroit (indicated with an arrow).  That’s me at about age two.

GOULD_Diane_circa 1952-53_at Asbury Park home of Harry & Marie Gould_DetroitMich - Copy

I took another look today to try and find a birth record online, for my Dad.  Family Search didn’t have it.  When I looked on Ancestry this is what they have for Michigan births.

NOTE – The index goes to 1911.  Just my luck.
Michigan records on FS

My Dad’s age seems to be listed correctly, based on a 1912 year of birth, in the 1920, 1930 and 1940 census records.

For now, I am going to conclude that my Dad did graduate from high school at an older age.
I know he had scarlet fever when he was a child, leaving him deaf in his left ear.  I don’t know how old he was when he got sick.  Perhaps, because of that he had to miss some schooling or had to repeat a grade.

Have you found a surprise or two, like this in your research?  I’d love to hear about it.


Happy Birthday Dad - 1912-1991


Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall



  1. After my husband's father died, his step-mom gave us a bunch of his papers, including an apparently original birth certificate. His name as shown on Social Security, his Army records and all other official records was Walter Esmond. He's always been called Ez, and I presumed they'd used his middle name because his dad was also Walter. His birth certificate showed that his official name was Esmond Walter and when I found grade school records, he was listed as Esmond, but by high school, he had changed it to Walter E. Sure wish I'd seen that birth certificate before he died so I could have asked him about it!

    1. Oh those name changes Darlene. They can certainly be pesky. My ancestors have tripped me up on many an occasion by their nicknames and using other names in general. I guess that's what makes it fun.
      Thanks for stopping by.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.