Monday, January 7, 2013

Hurray! It's Time To Do The Genealogy Happy Dance!

Thanks to Jen Baldwin at Ancestral Breezes, I was able to do the Genealogy Happy Dance yesterday.  On Facebook, Jen posted a link to the Colorado Statewide Divorce Index, 1900-1939 on FamilySearch.org.

I clicked the link to start searching for a divorce for my Great-Grandfather Frederick Emory Webster, a.k.a.
"The Traveling Dentist."  Why was I looking for a divorce record for him?  Because he was married twice.  Ya, I hadn't mentioned that little fact on my blog yet. I descend from his second wife, Esther Matus Villatoro, who was from Mexico.  His first wife was Kate E. Woodhouse.  She was from England.  Kate and Frederick married in Denver, Colorado on December 10, 1888.

I discovered that Frederick had a first wife some time ago.  After learning this fact, I  was really hoping that he hadn't just left the United States and married again without getting a divorce first.

Would you believe I found Frederick and Kate's Divorce Record Report in less than half an hour?  Yep, it was absolutely time to do the Genealogy Happy Dance!!  There is no index in this record set, but it is alphabetized, which does make it easier to peruse.

I have to admit, I was quite relieved to find the Divorce Record Report for Kate and Frederick yesterday.  Thank you again Jen!  You helped me check off one of my research goals for Frederick.  Finding a divorce for Frederick and Kate was on my To-Do List.


Divorce Record Report for Frederick Emory Webster and Kate E. Woodhouse
"Colorado Department of Health. Colorado, Statewide Divorce Index, 1900-1939," images, FamilySearch  (https://familysearch.org: accessed 6 January 2013), image 1569 of 4516 images, Frederick E. Webster and Kate E. Webster, 1899, Colorado Department of Health and Environment, Denver, Colorado.
As you can see from this divorce report, Fred and Kate had two children together – Myrtie Edna Webster and Earl Webster.  This fact isn't new to me and I've done quite a bit of research about them.  I've found a lot of information on Earl, but not so much on Myrtie Edna, or as my records show, Edna Myrtie (don't know which is right on this one).

Webster Dental & Photo Boats 1896 to 1902 at Lake Charles Louisiana
Webster Dental and Photo Boats circa 1896-1902
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Click to Enlarge

And the Date of Decree is March 14, 1899.  I'm not familiar with divorce lingo, and I'm not a lawyer, so I wasn't sure what a Decree was.  I did a little research online and it looks like it means the divorce is final.  I could be wrong though.  If anyone knows the answer to this, please let me know.  I'd really appreciate it.

Also, it looks like Kate was the one who filed for divorce from Fred.  Now I want to know why.  Was he negligent?  Did he travel too much?  Did she travel with him or was she left at home to care for the kids by herself?  I'm hoping that I can locate the actual divorce records to answer these and other questions.

Assuming the Decree date is the actual date the divorce was final, I was curious to see where Frederick was at that time.  So, I looked at my timeline for him and this is what I found.  I have a photo dated 1896-1902 showing Fred Webster's Dental and Photo Boats at Lake Charles, Calcasieu, Louisiana.  I also have another photo with boats with a date range of 1890-1902 in Morgan City, Louisiana.


Is Kate one of the people in this photo?  If not, just who are all of those people with Frederick?  Perhaps Kate didn't like this bohemian lifestyle of Fred's and called it quits.

Whatever the reason for Fred and Kate's divorce, I'm just so glad to find evidence that there actually was a divorce.  And that Fred didn't just sail away in one of his dental boats to a new life without the proper legal separation from his old life.


Thanks for reading!

Copyright © Jana Last 2013

38 comments:

  1. Jana, you are correct. A decree is a final order of divorce, and it is the date the divorce is final. However, Rome wasn't built in a day - and neither are divorces. Depending on how much of a fight there was, the court records could cover literally YEARS, particularly if there were battles over land and/or children (I'm not sure how things happened in Colorado in 1888 as far as women and property, custody, etc.). If you're lucky and you can get your hands on those court records (you have the docket number - might as well try!), you might find scads of information about your great grandfather and his first family!

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    1. Awesome!! Thanks for the information Jenny! It is very much appreciated. And thanks so much for stopping by!

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  2. Jana, I'm doing the Happy Dance along with you. That is awesome! Glad you were able to find that record, thanks to Jen.

    Jenny has a good point in her comment, and I'd like to add to that. I'm currently revisiting a line I did research on, oh, maybe thirty years ago. Back then, I remember finding actual newspaper reports of the divorce proceedings. It was spelled out, blow by blow (and I do mean that literally) in the town's newspaper. While I'm not sure of the appropriateness of that small-town approach to life, in retrospect, something like that does give a more "colorful" description of our ancestors. Hopefully, a newspaper in your great-grandparents' home of record may provide you some answers to your questions.

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    1. Hi Jacqi,

      Thanks for doing the Happy Dance along with me!

      I have tried to find a newspaper article relating to their divorce, but so far no luck. Perhaps I need to expand my search for this. I'm going to try and order the divorce record from Colorado though. That should be an interesting read!

      Delete
    2. Jana, have you looked at coloradohistoricnewspapers.org? They have lots of papers scanned, available online, and searchable by newspaper, date, key word, etc. If you haven't looked for the family here, its worth the time. One of my 1st go-to resources in Colorado.
      I'm so glad the tip on the database for CO was helpful! Happy dance being done in the state, on your behalf! ~ Jen

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    3. Hi Jen,

      No, I haven't looked there. Thanks! I'll check it out.

      And thanks for sharing in my happy dance there in Colorado. :)

      Delete
  3. I'm dancing with you and Jacqui as well! So great to come across such gems! I wanted to ask you about the writing on the boat photo. Is it Spanish or Portuguese? I am quite fluent in Spanish, but I can't quite make it out. It starts out saying that a French family built this (but then I'm struggling). Have you had it translated?

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    1. Hi Smadar,

      Thanks! It really is an exciting find!

      I did try to run the writing through Google Translate and it seemed to have a difficult time deciphering it too. I think my grandfather must have written it. He spoke Spanish and Portuguese, so it may be a combination of both. Unfortunatley, I don't speak either language.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! I really appreciate it.

      Delete
    2. My son thinks it's all portuguese, this is what we can make out: A french familia built this imitation steam plus a horse with a floor and wheel behind for navigating the boat. I'll ask a brazilian friend for you when I see her next and let you know if she can do better.

      Delete
    3. Hi Smadar,

      Thanks! Your son is probably right.

      I guess I should ask my mom. She was born in Brazil and speaks Portuguese. Silly me!

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    4. I just showed it to my Brazilian friend who said I was very close to correct. It says, A French family built this imitation steam (boat). It's drawn by a horse which walk with a wheel behind it to navigate the boat. Looks like horse-drawn boats were typical in canals. http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/bingley-to-saltaire/canal-boat-horses
      Very cool traveling dentist your great-grandfather was!

      Delete
    5. Hi Smadar,

      How interesting! Thanks for showing this to your friend and for this translation. Very cool!

      Thanks again!

      Delete
  4. Cool! I love finding things when you least expect it. And I hope you're able to figure out the rest of the story.

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    1. Hi Debi,

      Thanks! I'm hoping to be able to find out the rest of the story too.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  5. Happy dances are so much fun! Congrats on settling that mystery.

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    1. Hi Wendy,

      Thanks, and yes, they really are fun!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  6. Social media is so good for leading genies to a dance floor. Congrats Jana I'm doing a dance with you downunder.

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    1. Hi Jill,

      Yep, I'm loving social media for genealogy! We need to spread the word about it's benefits.

      And thanks for joining me in my geneahappydance. Is that a word? Oh well, I guess it is now. :)

      Delete
  7. Wow, Jana, don't you just love discoveries like this? I found a probate record I've been looking for for ages in an unindexed online collection. Congrats on your find, and have fun dancing--it looks like you have lots of people joining in!

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    1. Hi Shelley,

      Thanks! Yep, we're having a virtual genea-dance party over here on my blog. And yes, these kinds of discoveries are just so fun!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  8. This is just so cool! I feel like doing the happy dance for you! This such a major find!!! I'm ecstatic for you.

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    1. Hi Cindy,

      It really is a super cool find, isn't it? I can't believe I was able to find this document!

      Thanks for stopping by and for your comments!

      Delete
  9. What a wonderful find, Jana! You can have another twirl even though it's late at night now! Never too late for another twirl around the computer. :)

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    1. Hi Celia,

      Yep, it's never to late to do the genealogy happy dance! This really is an exciting find.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  10. Happy dancing with you! What a great find. Congratulations!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Andrea,

      Thanks! I'm so excited about this amazing find. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  11. Dear Jana, I am delighted to say your blog has given me so much pleasure over the year, I have nominated you for blog of the Year Award 2012. See my posting http://scotsue-familyhistoryfun.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/was-over-moon-to-hear-from-catherine-at.html. Happy blogging in 2013.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sue,

      Aren't you sweet! Thank you so much for nominating my blog for this award. What an honor! And congratulations on your blog's award. It is much deserved.

      Delete
  12. I have found several detailed divorce proceedings in Chancery Causes. Page County, VA has theirs online, which is really convenient since that's where many of my family landed. Dance on, Jana!

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    1. Hi Wendy,

      Wow! How lucky you are to have those records online!

      I've ordered the Divorce Case file from the Colorado State Archives. They should get here sometime next week. Perhaps I should get the geneamusic ready for more dancing....

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  13. What a satisfying find, for so many reasons! I do remember your earlier photo, I believe, of Fred the dentist, who looked like a fun character. Have any stories come down from his first wife's side of the family about his "bohemian life style," or are you even in touch with those relatives? I am also wondering whether his marriage to his second wife, from Mexico, led him to live in South America. Am I mistaken, or did your Grandpa Debs come to America from Brazil?

    I'm glad, with you, that there was a divorce. I follow your family stories with interest!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mariann,

      Unfortunatley, we have never been in contact with the relatives of his first wife. I didn't even know about his first family until probably within the last ten years or so, after beginning my family history research. So, yes, this first family was a surprising find.

      Yes, you are correct. My Grandpa Debs did come to America from Brazil. I find it interesting that Frederick, Debs' father, moved the family down to Brazil from Mexico. Why, I don't know.

      Thank you for your kind interest in my family stories. You are so very sweet!

      And thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  14. Jana ~ How wonderful! Congrats on this great find! It's always the best feeling to cross something off your To-Find list. What a great way to kick off 2013! Good Luck on your continued research!

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    1. Hi Cindy,

      Thanks! Yes, this find has definitely been a great way to kick of 2013. And it is so satisfying to put that little check mark in the box next to a To-Do list item.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  15. I'll dance along too! It is so much fun to find something we've been looking for. Now for the rest of the story....

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    1. Hi Kathy,

      Okay, let's get our dancing shoes on! It really is quite the exciting find.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  16. Replies
    1. Hi Amanda,

      Yes, this really is an exciting find for me and my family.

      Thanks so much for reading and for your comments. I appreciate it!

      Delete

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