Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

With such an unusual name, I thought for sure we would easily find a living descendant for Dommaris “Dom” Day Shrimplin, but I was wrong. Back a few weeks, Iggy did an amazing job at deciphering the spelling of her first name and provided us with some information on her and her family, but after that, nothing.

Over the past weekend though, it happened. Someone was searching for their relative, Dom Shrimplin. I got goose bumps when I read that Clifford had been searching for a photo of his great-great-great-aunt for 30 years. And I had one. Wow.

Clifford has been doing extensive genealogy work on his family and provided a little more detail to Dom’s life. Dom, born in 1848, was sister to his 2nd great grandmother, Mary, and there were a total of seven brothers and sisters in the family. Mary and Dom must have been close because they are the only two of the family to have left Ohio and come out to California.

Dom married Louis Carr Shrimplin in 1869 and they emigrated to San Jose, CA by the early 1880s. They built a home at 30 South 5th Street, where they lived for many years. After Dom died in 1908 it was converted to a boarding house as it was quite near the campus of San Jose State University. The home is no longer there, having been removed along with others to make room for the new San Jose City Hall several years ago.

Louis was also from Ohio, born in 1847. When he and Dom came to California, he found work as a machinist and engineer, last working for the San Jose Independent Mill & Lumber Company. He underwent some type of surgical procedure in 1892, from which he never recovered, and he died at the young age of 44 years. His funeral was handled by the Ancient Order of United Workmen and took place in the family home, January 26, 1892.

Their one confirmed child was Lewis Selwyn Shrimplin, born in 1882. I say confirmed because various census records accredit Dom with two children. It is possible they did have another child who did not survive due to the high childhood mortality rate in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, Clifford has not been able to find a name or other record for this mystery child.

Lewis went by Selwyn, I can imagine to reduce confusion between him and his father. Around 1902 he married a woman named Marie, and they eventually set up house in San Jose. Selwyn worked at first for the Mercury Newspaper as a clerk and later worked for the Herald. Later on, he set up shop as a musician and sold sheet music and strings for musical instruments. Selwyn’s death is intriguing, as he died in the Napa Insane Asylum in 1944. Of course, mental illness was not understood at the time as it is today (which still isn’t an exact understanding) so it is possible he was suffering from anything from bipolar depression to schizophrenia and anything in between. Marie outlived him, dying in Los Angeles in 1962. No children are known from their marriage.

As I said, family member Clifford has done quite a lot of work. He has set up several Find A Grave memorials for his family. Click on this link to go to Dom’s memorial, and then you can click around to read about others if you are interested. I have mailed the original of Dom’s photo to Clifford so he can keep it with his family treasures and share it with other family members. This is a very satisfying family reunion!

6 thoughts on “Family Reunion: Dommaris “Dom” Day Shrimplin

  1. Mustang.Koji says:

    Excellent job in researching!


  2. mousleyka says:

    Hi Clifford!

    After being under weather for some weeks, this was a much needed treat!


    1. Clifford J. Laureno says:

      Hello mousleyka… :)


  3. Clifford J. Laureno says:

    Wonderful job Martha! Thanks.


  4. ljhlaura says:

    Just found your blog … good stuff!


  5. Nicely done! A special portrait that deserved a closure like this.


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