walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

Stalking the Past

I've been tracking down marriage/divorce information on several people in my tree (graph?) on ancestry.com -- specifically, I've been focusing on people who were married and/or divorced at least three times. The person I'm currently working on is still alive, so I'm trying to be careful how I describe him. I'll call him B.

I have a theory about how B. met his first wife, who I suspect was very young when they married. While they married in King County, I'm almost positive they met in Bellingham, where the rest of B.'s family was living after his mother married his second stepfather. Since B. was a young _man_ at the time, I wasn't entirely certain what he was doing. I _think_ I found his next younger brother in Bellingham High School, using his stepfather's last name. It's possible it was through the high school that B. met his first wife, who would have been between B. and B.'s younger brother in age.

I was about to start searching on B. using the stepfather's last name, on the chance something might turn up, but thought I should first do a general search again on ancestry to see what I might have missed on an earlier search or what might show up that was the result of the continual addition of new records. And lo! B. was working as a deckhand on boats going between Bellingham and Vancouver, BC. One of those records even lists his birthplace (a not-very-populous state), thus eliminating any possible ambiguity. It's one of those instances where an enterprising record keeper wrote in information not called for by the columns. They had mixed up the Race/Nationality columns and drawn an arrow to flip them, and for B., who is listed as "American" for nationality, and "Canadian" for race (but then flip them, per the arrow) has the state name (abbreviated) written overlapping the columns for "Physical Marks" and "Remarks".

I _love_ stuff like this.

ETA: I've now got three of these. By the third one, he's getting hired in Seattle, the "Canadian" part of his identity is entirely gone, replaced by "Dutch" for race and "U.S." for nationality. He's still the young guy on the boat and he's gained ten pounds and an inch in height. Oh, and he's a "Seamen" instead of Deck of D.Hand.
Tags: genealogy
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