Growing up my parents didn’t talk much about our family history. I heard a few stories from my Mother but none whatsoever from my Dad. I didn’t get curious about my family until after my Mother died and by then it was too late to ask the questions I had.
I had always been told that my Mother and Dad had each been married before they themselves had gotten married. My Mother said she had been married twice before. She told me her first husband had died from typhoid fever and her second husband has killed in a house fire while she had gone out shopping.
Truth #1: My Mother married to Earl Joseph Wilson on September 4, 1936. My half-brother was born in April 1937. This is where the information stopped. However, after much research I discovered that Earl Joseph Wilson had served in WWII in the army, he also moved to Dayton Ohio after the war and he passed away there on December 23. 1993. So much for Typhoid Fever.
Truth #2: She married George C. Lierman on July 19, 1940. On May 14, 1948 George did indeed die in a house fire along with 1 of his step-sons. The newspaper article stated his wife Grace had gone to the store and the kerosene stove exploded shortly afterwards. No mention of my Mother. George and Grace were married in 1946 so apparently he and my Mother had been a divorce prior to that.
Truth #3: My maternal Grandfather’s second wife died February 4, 1948. In her obituary it lists her step-children, John P Smith; Raymond Smith; Mrs. Otto Claxton and Mrs. Ike Cook. My Aunt Mary was married to Otto so who was Mrs. Cook. Of course, it had to be my Mother. There was never a mention of her 3rd marriage the entire time I was growing up!
I had been told that my Dad had been married once before and he and his wife Mildred had 2 daughters. Mildred and the two young girls died of Scarlet Fever.
Truth #1: My Dad married Mildred Shockley November 20, 1937. He was 22 and Mildred was just 17. On February 28, 1938, 3 months after getting married my half-brother Benjamin was born. I never knew I had another brother as I only discovered this about 8 years ago! Benjamin died on May 12, 1938 from Pneumonia. Mildred died on June 12, 1938, also of Pneumonia.
Truth #2: In March 1944 he married Mildred McQuillen Young who had a 2-year-old daughter. They never had any children. They had to have gotten divorced because both were remarried in 1948. Mildred died on December 5, 1981 not of Scarlet Fever. The young girl died in 2008.
I will never know the reason behind my Mother not telling me the truth about their lives. Maybe it was just during that era it was frowned upon to be divorced or married more than once. I also wonder why I was never told about my baby brother who died so young. All I know is I am more determined than ever to leave behind an accurate account of my life, yes even the unflattering things, for my descendants.
Have you uncovered any “untruths” in your linage? I would love to hear about them.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.