St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Madness Monday: Here a Marriage, There a Marriage

Looking for ancestors using the census can be frustrating.  Then again, it can also be entertaining when the hunt is on.

I knew of the name George W CALDWELL, Jr, from the 1870 census detailing the family members of my 2g-grandpa, George W CALDWELL, Sr.  Jr is found again in later census records.  Only, the later entries can make my eyebrow rise.  How so?

The 1900 census (which was taken June 2) shows Jr living with his dad in a boarding house in Pittsburgh.  Of interest is the note Jr is divorced.  I have yet to find a divorce record for Jr.

What has been uncovered is legal documentation which has made life entertaining as I try to decipher what was really going on in Jr's life.  Let's look at the sequence of the documentation:

1-  Dec 27, 1900
There is a marriage found in Mahoning Co, OH, for George W CALDWELL Jr and Emma BAKER.  The groom's parents are the ones I expect to find.  The bride's parents are James BAKER and Emma SAFFIEL.

2- 1904 Pension Papers for Daddy
George W CALDWELL, Sr, is living with Jr in Johnstown, Cambria, PA, when his pension file for the Civil War is updated.  Listed in the pension file are the names of daddy's children, all as expected.  The surprise is that all children are listed as married.  So, was Jr married at this time? Added to this is the knowledge that one child appears to have died in a 1903 accident.

3- Mar 7, 1905
There is a marriage record found in Clinton Co, PA, for George W CALDWELL Jr and Jennie GILLESPIE.  On the record is the notation that his first wife died in 1899.   Hmmm, really?

The details from the 1910 to 1940 census records flow along with the earlier documented information.  There is a son born abt 1908 who is named George G CALDWELL.  I suspect the middle name would be GILLESPIE, although I find no definitive trace of the child after the 1910 census.  Of course, I will now be interested to see how long it takes for other researchers of the family to incorporate this name without finding supporting evidence of their own.

Now, the head scratching begins as I wonder who the first wife was that died in 1899 and the final whereabouts of the wife from 1900 and the one from 1905.  How maddening it all is!

Ahhh, genealogy.  Two marriages are documented.  The census would indicate a divorce before 1900.  The son disappears.  No graves found for any of the group yet.  Will the real story please stand up?

©2013 AS Eldredge

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