It is getting around traveling time again and I need to get myself organized. Family Tree Maker has a research journal feature that I have dumped information in for local research. The good news is that I have been doing it all along, up until lately. I usually get all wound up right after returning from a trip, granted it is a little too late at that point! I had forgotten what all I had entered in the journal to locate.
With this information I then plan on what direction I take to my final destination. Cemeteries and courthouses along the way can be planned into the trip. A friend at work’s father planned all of their family vacations the same way, rolls her eyes at me when I tell her about my “sightseeing” plans. She remembers many vacations cooling her heels in a library, the “fun” part of the vacation on hold, while her father played with dead people facts.
Once I arrive, I will probably stop at the local historical society first. The folks there are always a big help, love ancient gossip and speculating on divorces, pregnancies and marriages. Who needs soap operas when you can visit them twice a year and listen to them speculate why your relatives had moved, gone broke or divorced. Their theory is that nothing much has changed over the years, just the fact we are more likely to do it right out in the open now.
Their speculation concerning the birth of my great great grandmother’s child, late in life and the fact that her husband no longer lived with her just a couple years later, had me perched on the edge of the chair leaning forward. “I bet she had an affair” one said, just getting wound up on the story. “They did those things then too.” “Oh, you could be right” another chimed in, “It is odd that she had another child 13 years after the first.” You could practically see the wheels turning in their heads. “Go over to the courthouse and look for divorce papers” they told me. “Yup, I bet that is what happened. She had an affair. He found out about the affair because of the child and left her. I am pretty sure that I remember seeing a divorce notification for them in one of the papers.”
By the time I got to the courthouse the next day, my mind was spinning with “facts” I just had to prove. I dug through an enormous book for the years that a divorce would have been granted. No divorce was on record. I next requested copy of the Will for my great great grandfather. There wasn’t a Will, but there were records, a huge envelope of debts that would take my great great grandmother 2 years to pay off. Although the historical society’s version was way spicier, the reality of the story was, grandpa had drowned himself in debt trying to be an oil producer. Grandmother had seen that happen with her own father and I am sure she had enough and tossed gramps out.
This time I want to see what they have to say about another great great grandmother. This one moved to Pennsylvania from Germany with her husband, had several children and then seems to have married the husband’s brother. Somewhere, in the midst of marrying brothers, she married a third guy. This should give them a delightful scandal to speculate on!