walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

No Divorces for Grandma in Spokane; SASE and money order sent to King

In what may have been the fastest turnaround time ever, I got an e-mail back from Spokane County Superior Court. I _sent_ the e-mail shortly before they would have closed in the afternoon, and received it before noon their time the following business day. They searched for all three possible dissolutions in a quite wide time frame and found absolutely nothing. I am in no way surprised.

I spent the early afternoon assembling a package to go to King County Superior Court for copies (fingers crossed) of my great-grandfather's divorce decree (which was listed as granted in a 1963 copy of the Seattle Times, so I'm pretty sure that one really did happen) and possibly his other divorce (less sure it happened or, assuming it did, that it happened in King County). The nice woman who spoke to me on the phone said she'd probably be the one doing the research and figured I'd get it back in a week or so.

I have also established a tentative agreement with someone to go dig the case files out of the regional archives, assuming I really do get the decrees and, thus, a case number back.

ETA: Aha! I took another look at grandma's second marriage certificate. While she got married in Spokane, she is listed as being from Bellingham, which is sort of interesting in its own right and worth further pursuit. But never mind that now. Her husband is listed as being from Clayton, which is NOT in Spokane County, altho it is closer to Spokane, the county seat of Spokane County, than to Colville, the county seat for Stevens, in which Clayton is located.

Always remember: Jurisdiction Matters. Specifically, you can usually get married in any county (and often any state, altho not always), but there are frequently some hard limits on where you can get divorced. I should not have e-mailed Spokane Superior Court; I should have called Stevens Superior Court.

Which I did, today, and they owe me a callback. Since I called them (and they did not call me back before close of business, but that's hardly surprising), I lucked into a notice in the Spokane Daily Chronicle that my grandma's second husband was filing for divorce from her, thus giving me a hard date that I can relay to the clerk if they cannot find anything. Interestingly, this wasn't just my grandma's second marriage (with kids from the first marriage). It was the man's second marriage as well (with two kids from the previous marriage). I missed the earlier one in the Washington Digital Archives (this is the problem with an uncommon last name that looks a lot like a common last name), and until I spotted the 1940 census entry, I had no idea. Dunno what happened with that marriage, altho it was performed by a Catholic priest, but the bride's sister would ultimately marry some guy with an LDS elder officiating.

The Spokane Daily Chronicle notice was truly a lucky strike, because I got it through the short-lived google newspaper scanning project, and they did maybe five newspapers for each month for this title for a few years. The odds of getting anything out of that were Not Great, and I got both the divorce notice AND the betrothal notice for the guy's first marriage.
Tags: genealogy
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