Depends....ready for a long story. The earliest record on Dad was Oct 1936 when he started working for the L & N RR (he was born c 1911).
He claimed a family that did exist as his own, but I've definitely proven he wasn't part of them...All his official records show the parents as his and that he was born in SD (where the family lived at the time) and lived in Gainesville, FL (where the family moved c 1920). This family had 5 children and I've traced 4 of them to their graves with the 5th (Ward or Edward Grimm b c 1913) only until the 1930 census (he was listed with his mother and sister in Gainesville.
My theory is Dad and Ward were "in the army (CCC/WPA)" together from the early 30's until Dad showed up in Louisville applying for a job with the RR. I surmise that's where he would have been with the CCC/WPA or possibly in the Atlanta Georgia area where Ward's mother and sister moved right after the 1930 census.
Dad went by the name Jackson Whitfield Grimm and once told me the middle name was his mother's maiden name (Ward's mother was Verna Gordon). He also told me he was orphaned at about 10 or 11 and since his parents had no siblings (which isn't true of Ward's parents)and there were no grandparents, he was placed in an orphanage but ran away and was on his own from then on.
Ironically, I found a Jackson Whitfield (born 1911) living with his Grandmother in the 1920 census in Alabama and cannot trace what happened to him. She died shortly after that census. I'm working on this theory at the present time.
Any suggestions or thoughts will be appreciated...and if you need particular information, just ask.