Jimmy Rogers headstone

Scott checker758@YAHOO.COM
Tue Sep 28 11:59:37 EDT 2004


While I agree 100% with Ricky that we should butt out of the family
business of how Jimmy Rogers' name is engraved on his gravestone, I do not
believe this entire subject a complete non-issue.  There IS still a valid
issue here: the accuracy of the information we accept, and pass on, as
fact.

When I was doing research on the Little Walter biography, I obtained a copy
of his original Social Security application.  It's immediately obvious
that, because of his very rudimentary level of literacy, several sections
of the application, including the second half of his "signature", were
filled in by someone other than LW - maybe the clerk at the post office
where he filled out the application, or someone else who happened to be
with him and saw him struggling to get through the application, but clearly
not by Walter himself.

I have no idea if a similar situation occured with Jimmy Rogers'
application, but my point is, since the applicant apparently was not
required to fill out the application himself, it IS possible that Jimmy is
not responsible for the "Jay A. Lane" on the application.  It's easy to
imagine him answering a clerk's questions, and the clerk getting something
wrong, either by mis-hearing "James" as "Jay", or by Jimmy giving his name
as "J. A. Lane", and the clerk writing it down as "Jay A. Lane".

It seems likely that the "Jay A. Lane" on his passport, whether it's truly
his given name or not, was probably carried over from his Social Security
card, it being the "official" government document of his identity.  I do
know this: Jimmy never referred to himself "Jay" in any interview I ever
heard or read on him, and I went through everything available while working
on the LW book.  It was always "Jimmy" or "James", although I do seem to
recall him referring to himself as "J. A. Lane" at some point, maybe when
talking about his song credits?  I'll see if I can look it up...

Scott

PS - the 1930 US Census records are available to geneaologists now - since
those were obtained by doing door to door interviews, maybe there's more
accurate information to be found there.


On Mon, 27 Sep 2004 21:56:54 -0500, Ricky Stevens <deltabluz@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>The Social Security Death index lists a "Jay A. Lane" born 3 June, 1924;
>died 19 December 1997 last residence Cook County, Illinois.
>State of issue Mississippi.  A photocopy of the original application may
be obtained by filing a Form
>SS-5--Social Security Number Record Third Party Request for Photocopy with
>the Social Security Administration and paying a $29 fee.
>
>This is by far the best documentary evidence to come to light so far.  The
application was filed in Mississippi and would have to have been signed by
the applicant.  Maybe this is an instance in which the magazines and liner
notes all have it wrong.
>
>For those looking for a Mississippi birth certificate for Jimmy Rogers,
all I can say is good luck.  My father was born in Mississippi in 1929 and
never had a birth certificate; the family Bible record was good enough for
his parents.  Mr. Lane was born in the Delta in 1924.  At that time he was
just another little black baby in a county full of little black babies.
Chances are there is no birth certificate.  If there is one, it's an even
better chance that the State of Mississippi will not release a copy to
anyone except the immediate family as birth certificates are not considered
public records in Mississippi.
>
>Unless HIS FAMILY wants the stone changed-and so far there is no
indication this is the case- we should all just butt out and let this non-
issue die the death it deserves.
>
>
>Ricky Stevens
>Arkabutla, Mississippi

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