Sunday, January 12, 2014

Finding Stories while Digitizing Records for Scribe

I have been using Scribe to help digitize records for the Washington State Digital Archives, and while it is kind of time consuming it helps everyone in the long run. I started out with the Spokane County Marriage Applications since they were from 1939- and my parents got married in Spokane in 1942, so I was hoping to find their application, but I guess several others liked the Spokane County records since the names were typed on a typewriter, and soon they were well past when my parents got married, so I started working on Pend Oreille County Marriage Affidavits. These are the applications for a marriage license and they have the signature of the bride and groom, ages of both, and residence of both. Some have an occupation, and some have a section filled in by the parents if either the bride or groom were under age when they applied for the marriage license.
Why Pend Oreille county? My dad's parents homesteaded near Blanchard, Idaho and the nearest town to Blanchard was Newport, Washington the county seat of Pend Oreille county and so I know a lot of the people in that area.
After doing the affidavits for a while I found out a lot of people from Spokane came to Newport to get a marriage license, but people from all over came there also. I did affidavits for couples from Acron, Ohio, Cripple Creek, Colorado, Omaha, Nebraska,  and Portland, Oregon. I also had several were one of the bride or groom were from California, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Oregon. Since Pend Oreille county is close to Idaho a lot of people from Idaho came to get their marriage license, and even many from British Columbia in Canada. Now does that mean they got married in Pend Oreille county? Not necessarily, since that license could be used anywhere in the state of Washington, but it was an easy stop on the Great Northern Railroad, and at least in Spokane they did not publish those marriage licenses in the Spokane newspapers.

Well One day I ran into a couple in one of the pages I was working on:
Alfred M. Vanderpool and Faye E. Gertler June 1, 1933

This was an index page for the affidavits, and so I was hoping for the actual affidavit, but I did not find it. My Great Grandmother was Donna Vanderpool, so I was wondering if Alfred was related. I sent this to my cousin Myra Vanderpool Gormley since she has the Vanderpool genealogy that has been collected for years by various Vanderpool descendants. She sent me back an E-Mail that Alfred was part of the northern Vanderpools and wanted to know more about him and Faye. Seems that Alfred was the THIRD husband for Faye, and that Faye and husband #2 Nels Gertlar were in the 1930 Spokane census. I already had a request to go to the courthouse so I asked if I could look up a divorce for Nels and Faye. Myra E-Mailed back that Faye and Willis LaFayette were in the 1910 Spokane census so look for that divorce also, and the divorce for Faye's parents, and a divorce for Alfred and Faye so now I had FOUR divorces to look up.I now knew That Alfred was a 13 or 14th cousin also.

Spokane County Court records are indexed on two different microfilms, criminal and civil cases, we all know what criminal cases are, and civil cases are everything else, so armed with the approximate dates and names the clerks started looking. Found the divorce case for Nels Gertler and Faye Gertler. The microfilm showed that Nels and Faye filed for divorce August 20, 1922, but the decree was never completed so were they divorced when she married Alfred in 1933? I did not find any of the other three divorces, but did find a lawsuit where Willis Lafayette sued Nels Gertler. So husband #1 was suing soon to be husband #2. That microfilm was very interesting Willis was accusing Nels for taking away his wife, and in that suit filed in April of 1914  said Faye had filed for divorce from  Willis about November 13, 1913 and that Nels had taken his wifes love and affection away from Willis. Willis was asking $10,000.00 damages. Now a little background, Nels and Faye were both musicians and they played at various venues occasionally and were friends. Well they described riding together on street cars to Natatorium Park and a couple of other places, and meeting on the streets and talking. Natatorium Park had dances a lot on weekends and that had local musicians play for the dances. 
Reading to the end of the lawsuit, all charges dropped by the plaintiff Willis as he found after further investigation that all the charges were false.

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