Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Proof Positive

It wasn't but a few weeks ago that I was writing on here about my grandfather telling my that my 2nd great grandparents had been divorced and remarried at one point and hence the second wedding gift was a gold watch I was holding in my hand. You can read about that HERE. I had hoped to get a date of manufacture of the watch by finding the serial number but I wasn't able to narrow it down any. I figured it was another question that was permanently lost to history.

I have an online tree that I check now and then in hopes of new information popping up. It will provide me with hints of information that might pertain to my family and invites me to check them out. However, it find way more hints than I can possibly ever check so I pretty much limit myself to those pertaining to the current generation through my 3rd great grandparents and to anyone I am currently researching beyond that. So when I noticed a hint next to my 2nd great grandfather's name, I clicked it to see what it might contain.

It turned out to be a birth certificate for my great grandfather. It wasn't very remarkable but it did list my 2nd great grandfather's middle name as Washington, not William which is has said on every other document I have. It through me for a bit of a loop so I started reviewing all the documents I had on my 2nd great grandfather when I noticed I had two marriage certificates for him and my 2nd great grandmother and they were both different. They were dated 35 years apart!

I had made a notation on the second marriage certificate questioning if the dates on it were incorrect but then at the bottom, I noticed the clerk had written this message at the bottom:
P.S. After the parties were gone I noticed the answer to 8 and 15 as being both one. It seems to me the groom who filled out the above in pencil did not rightly comprehend the answers. If either party were married before , this marriage was the second.
Questions 8 and 15 asked "the number" of this marriage. In different, heavier script than the rest of the application, someone has written "Second. Remarried". So in other words, I guess the story is true that my 2nd great grandparents were divorced and remarried and my 2nd great grandfather had mistakenly written down "one" since he was remarrying the same person. I found it interesting to see there was some confusion over this and that it was still causing confusion nearly 92 years later. But now I have an answer to when their second marriage occurred.

28 September 1925


Vince said...

Wow, but there's a powerful story in there someplace. Why the bust-up, why the reconciliation. Heavens, you could take it anyplace. Ohh, did they have kids during the first encounter. And was there substitutions in both lives during the hiatus.

Ed said...

Vince - I certainly don't have answers but I do have guesses. My 2nd great grandparents had both their children before the divorce. My great grandfather was born in 1895 and his sister in 1907. (I'm assuming the divorce probably occurred in the 1920's sometime.) My 2nd great grandmother had an independent streak to her. She was an artist and I have a painting of hers to prove it. Legend has it that my 2nd great grandfather didn't approve of her painting and threw it down the stairs one evening when he came home. Scars on the painting seem to support this. In all her pictures I have, she always looks like a very independent lady unlike pictures of other ancestors which look very submissive. I'm guessing my 2nd great grandmother got tired of my 2nd great grandfather trying to keep her under his thumb and said enough is enough. I'm guessing my 2nd great grandfather quickly learned what she contributed to the household by her absence and thus apologized with a very expensive watch and a second wedding. All guesses but marital problems seem to be the same over the ages.

sage said...

that divorce and remarriage stint would create confusion for researchers if it happened a lot!

Kelly said...

I wonder just how often remarriages like that occurred. I know of at least four couples (in my lifetime), two of those being in my immediate family.

My first thought looking at the photo you shared is how difficult it's going to be for future generations to decipher stuff like this, not having learned cursive writing in school!

Leigh said...

Oh those tidbits are so fascinating! Nice you can find hints like that. Genealogy is the most interesting of passtimes.

Bill said...

Family history can be fascinating. I found something similar recently regarding a cousin about 100 years ago. Searching for info about him I found a newspaper ad in an Atlanta paper, serving a divorce notice on his wife by publication. They had recently married and moved to Atlanta. The notice showed that he had commenced a divorce proceeding and that she had evidently left him so that he couldn't serve process personally. The reason I found it so interesting is that they later moved back here, had children and lived a long life together. Presumably they reconciled and the divorce proceedings were dismissed. Maybe they divorced and later remarried. Maybe they divorced, reconciled and never remarried. In any event, no one here ever knew about the "divorce."

Ed said...

Sage - There are lots of confusing things that happen in the branches of family trees. I've often thought that if time travel becomes common, I would probably first head back to confusing times in my family tree to see why things happened the way they did.

Kelly - Among my circle, I don't know anyone who remarried the same person a second time. But I can understand how it happens because often we take things for granted until it is gone and we realize our error.

Leigh - It is definitely a time sink but as far as past times goes, it is a cheap one.

Bill - I often ponder how much of this kinds of things will be found out about our generation with most things being digital records. On one hand it is easy to record and store but how much of all these bytes will still be around 100 years from now? I'm hedging my bet by writing it down and printing out what I can.

Bob said...

My brother and his wife divorced and remarried and seem to be blissfully happy this second time around. That you-don't-know-what-you-have-until-it's-gone thing I guess.

Great story here and I love your theory regarding how/why it all happened! It's incredible the things you can find these days.