Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dilemma

Well, here is an interesting, and all-to-familiar dilemma...today as I was entering some information into my RootsMagic database, I noticed some information was missing. My dad's cousin, Barbara (who turned 80 this year), had written to me answering some questions that I had asked her about her family. As I entered the data, I realized that I had never checked/entered the census readings for her parents. They were married in May of 1920, so I first checked the 1920 census. Well, the census there was taken in January of 1920, so her father was listed alone, as a "roomer" in someone's home. What caught my attention, however, was that he was also listed as "divorced". What? I never heard that before? I called my dad...he had no knowledge of Barbara's father having been married before he married Barbara's mother.

Now the dilemma...do I ask Barbara about it? Does she know that her father had been married before he married her mother? It is a sticky subject, as I have learned from past experience. The last time this happened to me was when I learned that my mother-in-law's father had been married before he had married her mother (again, found in the 1920 census). When I asked my mother-in-law about it, she became terribly upset and said that her father had NEVER been married before, and that was the end of that. I learned at her funeral from her nephew, that her father had been married several times before he married her mother...so I don't know if she knew that and didn't want others to know, or if she truly did not know that he had been married before. I am often surprised at how upset some people will get when faced with facts that occurred 50 or even 100 years earlier.

Anyway, back to the immediate problem. When I talked to my dad, he did not think that Barbara would be upset if I asked her about her father being married before, so I have written a letter to her asking what she knows.

Meanwhile, I have written a request to the county where her parents were married to request their marriage applications. That should have whether he had been married before or if it was a first marriage. It is only costing me $3 to solve this one!