That’s Not My Sister

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Another family mystery has turned up. One of my distant found cousins made mention of a person in my tree that they thought wasn’t correct. We are related through the Oakley line on my mother’s side of the family. Her grandmother Alice Prudence Oakley was my great grand aunt. The question was concerning Alice’s husband Guy’s family. Guy Irvin Benson was one of, what I thought at the time, 5 children. The one child the question was about was his “sister” Annetta. I went back and found the information in the Olean, New York, 1910 Census and sure enough it said she was a daughter.


This time I looked closer at the Census and was surprised what I saw. There was a “wf” after Annetta’s name and if you looked really closely you could see in-law scribbled below in very tiny, blurry hand writing. Right above her, not transcribed, was Guy, who had listed himself also as married for 8 years. I looked at the notes that I had gathered on Guy and noticed that I had been told that the belief was, he had lived with someone else before his marriage to Alice in August, 1915.


I turned to and decided to search there to see what I could find and up popped 2 stories from 1912 about Mr. and Mrs. Guy Benson. I took another look at what I thought I knew about Annetta. From the Census I had her birth year of 1876 in Pennsylvania. I knew that the Benson’s had lived in Bradford Pennsylvania in 1900 from the 1900 Census, which puts the 2 of them together in the right place.


A bit more Google searching turned up a new research site, WNY Legacy for the Western New York area and they had Olean, New York Directories. I decided to hunt through them and see if I could determine when Guy and Annetta had moved back to Olean from Bradford. The 1910 Census was the first place they showed up in Olean. The 1911-12 City Directory has Guy as and electrician, boarding at the Olean House. Although other listings show the spouses, Annetta is not listed. The 1914-1915 City Directory lists Guy as an assistant engineer and also lists his wife, Annetta living on Garden Avenue. The directory for 1914-1915 was most likely created in 1913, and some things had changed before or shortly after its release.


In the 1920 and 1930 Census, Guy is shown married to Alice Prudence Oakley and lists himself as having only been married once.


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