Tuesday, December 03, 2013


As I mentioned in the previous post of this series, I'd found a "Certificate
Of Registration Of American Citizen" over on for my distant
cousin Benjamin Curtis Donham. It had been issued by the American Consulate
in Seoul, Korea which was amazing, considering the year in which it was done.
But what was my cousin doing here, and could the document help me find out
the answer?

Examining it, I learned:
1. It had been issued on May. 20, 1908, according to the stamped date at the top
     of the document.

2. Benjamin C. Donham had arrived in Seoul on October 6 1905. There is no
     mention of whether he had been there on earlier occasions.

3. He was there "for the purpose of constructing waterworks."

4. He was married to Edith McKean, who had been born in San Francisco and they
    were residing in Seoul with two children.

5. Son George Alden Donham was born in Seoul  Korea  on February 7 1904.
     Daughter Dorothy E. Donham was born there on November 13, 1906.

6. Benjamin had been identified by two men as an American citizen. The first
    man's name is hard to read and appeared to be H.E. Collbran. The second name
    is E.Hamilton Holman.

7.The Certificate was due to expire in a little over a year on April 8, 1909.

The questions I now had were:

1. What sort of waterworks was Benjamin C Donham constructing in Seoul, Korea?

2. Were he and his wife Edith McKean married in the U.S. or in Korea? 

3. Were the two children Benjamin's children or stepchildren?

4. The Certificate was issued in 1908, yet the two children had been born in Seoul
    previously in 1904 and 1906. Had Benjamin left Korea for some reason and then
    returned to Seoul in 1908?

5. Who were the two men who identified Benjamin as an American and what was
    his relationship with them?

I set about looking for answers.

To be continued.

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