Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - one bride, two husbands, and some twisted branches in the family tree

Just a quick but interesting thing I discovered/rediscovered this week. In going through the files of my Wagner and connected families, I came across a census I had mislabeled. I had thought it was George Greenfield with his first wife Cala and their kids, Boyd, Clarence, Iva, and Charles. The fact that the husband's name was given as W O Greenfield didn't really register as a problem, as census takers do get things wrong sometimes, and George's middle name was Oliver, so I figured the census taker had just gotten the first initial wrong. However, I noticed in going through the census records for George that he had a brother named William, and I found in my notes that Cala had married William Greenfield at some point (didn't know for sure when, but it was before 1930). I had totally forgotten that my great-great-grandmother's second husband had a sister-in-law that at one point had been his wife! I haven't yet dug deep enough to know what became of all the kids, though I did find the three younger children, Boyd, Clarence and Iva, were living with Cala and William, along with a Charles Greenfield, born around June 1919, and I presume the child of the two of them. That would make Charles both the half-sibling and cousin of the other kids in the house, since their mother was his mother, and their father was his uncle. I wonder what that will mean for their kids' relationships?
One other thing that kind of complicated the Greenfield tree was the names of the boys in George and William's family. After going through the censuses I've collected so far on them - 1880 Federal, 1885 and 1887 Washington state censuses - there were three boys whose names got a bit confusing. It worked out like this:

1880 - George C. (3) and Oliver (1)
1885 WA - Charles (8), George (6), and C. (2)
1887 WA - C.G. (10), George (8), and Charles (4)

So between the three boys, there are two Georges, two Charles', and an Oliver. How in the world did the boys know who was being called, when each of them shared one name with another brother? The oldest and youngest of the three were likely named for their father, Charles Greenfield, but I don't know why they felt two sons also deserved the name George. Just one of those unexpected quirks that makes unraveling our family history that much more interesting and intriguing, and at times, head-scratchingly odd.

1 comment:

Joan said...

Head-scratching for sure. And I do know that those good old family names that are given to every cousin, and sometimes sibling & step-sibling, make the job really confusing.