|Wanda (Allen) and Fred Moore, 1932|
A funny thing happened when I started writing this post. After all the detailed research I've done (sometimes back to the 1500s), I realized I didn't even have the wedding date of my paternal grandparents! I don't know how I overlooked that all these years.
That is one benefit to writing a genealogy blog. It gives you the opportunity to focus on and summarize all you know about one person or family. This exercise often leads to additional, more indepth research that I had never gotten around to before. This is usually especially true about ancestors who are not in my direct line and often do not have any descendants. I have a lot of interesting photos of ancestors who fall into this category, so this has prompted me to peer into their life a bit more than I would have otherwise. Everyone deserves to be remembered, so I am always happily satisfied to have gotten a bit of their life down for posterity.
Anyway, back to Fred and Wanda, my dad's parents. I knew they were married sometime after the 1930 Federal Census and before my aunt's birth in January 1934. When I realized that I didn't have their exact wedding date, I asked my aunt if she knew what it was. Since she didn't, I sent off an inquiry to the archivist for Washington State. Last Spring when I visited Seattle, I drove by both of my grandparents' addresses from the 1930 Census and realized that they only lived a few blocks from each other. From this I assumed that they must have met in the neighborhood, so I told the archivist that I was pretty sure that they were married in King County. I was quite surprised to receive a very quick reply with a link to their marriage certificate from Jefferson County dated September 12, 1932. I was even more surprised to see that they were both recorded as residents of Umatilla, Oregon at the time of their marriage. For me, this document has led to more questions than it gave answers: Why would they both be living in that small town just over the Washington State line BEFORE their marriage when I know they must have met each other in their Seattle neighborhood?
My mother just told me that Wanda and Fred met in a library where Wanda was a librarian and that Wanda's family didn't approve of her marrying Fred, so maybe they ran away to Oregon together. But, then, why would they come back to Washington to marry? I don't recognize the names of the witnesses at all, so it appears they married at the Methodist Parsonage of Edmonds, Washington with neither of their families in attendance.
Why did they get their license in Jefferson County, but get married in Snohomish County, causing the recorder to cross out "Jefferson" and write in "Snohomish" as the place for the marriage?
Why is it marked "Unofficial"? When I inquired in this regard, the archivist explained:
"I believe the reason it is 'unofficial' is that in 1932, marriage certificates were filed in the county in which the marriage took place, which was Snohomish County, and probably specifically Edmonds. A copy of the certificate was filed in the county where the license was issued, which is Jefferson. This particular record came from Jefferson County. You might find a 'non-unofficial' record at the Snohomish County Auditor’s office. (Marriage licenses are now file with the State Department of Health)."
It seems there is more of this story to discover.
The following is really more fitting for Treasure Thursday, but because of the serendipity involved, I will include it with this post.
Another funny thing happened today. As I was writing this post, my mom came over and gave me the fan that Wanda gave to me before she died, not knowing that I was writing about her today. It is very special because my father had given it to Wanda when he was in the Navy and then she gave it to me. On the outside of the box is his inscription to her and and hers to me: "For: Mom, From:Tony" and "For you, CeCe, now. Much love, Grandma"
The fan is made of pure ivory and purchased in Hong Kong during my dad's naval days, c.1959. I had forgotten all about it and was pleasantly surprised to receive it today. Of course my favorite part is the writing on the box - first my dad's and then my grandmother's. I am so glad that she had the foresight and sentimentality to make this special gift. I will cherish it and, one day, add my writing to it.