Analysis of a Boy Scout Membership Card – Part 1

Thursday, 28 Jan 2010 | by Mark Tucker
James Ross - Boy Scout Membership Application card

Click image to enlarge

This image is of the Boy Scout membership application card for James Ross.  In this first part, we are going to do an initial examination of the card to see what we can learn.

The card is from 1935 and is for the Circle Ten Council of the Boy Scouts of America located in Dallas, Texas.  The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has a National Council which at this time was located in New York City.  Local councils were charted from National to be a support structure to the troops in a geographic area.  This application is for troop 253 located in Corsicana, Texas which is about 60 miles south of Dallas.

There are 5 names on the card:

  1. James Ross – Boy Scout, age 12
  2. Elizibith Ross – mother of James Ross
  3. J. S. Halley – listed as parent or guardian
  4. E. E. English – Scoutmaster of troop 253
  5. J. F. M. Stephens – Chairman, Board of Review

There are three main dates (or grouping of dates) on the card:

  • 16 Jan 1923 – birth date of James Ross
  • Mar 1935 – various dates when James Ross was tested on Scout skills and was signed off by his Scoutmaster
  • 7 Jun 1935 – date when James Ross appeared before the Board of Review and passed therefore achieving the rank of Tenderfoot Scout

There is a possibility that James Ross is still alive.  If so, he would have turned 87 years old two weeks ago.

The Cub Scouting program started in 1930 and this card indicates that James had been a Cub Scout.

Other items of interest is that the Church or Sunday School that he attends is listed as “State Home” and his address is “State Home & School.”  This will require some more investigation.  When was the State Home started?  Who attended it?  Was it located in Corsicana or a nearby town?  Is it still there today? If James was living at the State Home in Corsicana, Texas what is he doing there?  Is his mother still alive?  If she were dead, would her name be written on the card?  Why is there no father’s name listed?  Is J. S. Halley affiliated with the State School?  What does “B.A.M.” below his name mean?

In part 2 we will look at Census records for 1930 to see what we can learn.


  1. [...] part 1 of this series, we looked at the membership card and got a general feel for the information it [...]

    Pingback by Analysis of a Boy Scout Membership Card – Part 2 | ThinkGenealogy — 29 Jan 2010 @ 9:53 am

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