Thursday, October 17, 2013

~ Scandalous ~

     Nowadays if a teenage girl finds herself in trouble it's no longer a hush hush situation.  There's no need to drop out of school because many high schools offer daycare for teen moms as well as job training.  There are even reality shows on television such as Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant.  Some girls are turning an unfortunate situation into a profitable one.
     Flashback fifty or more years and that same girl would be sent away to live with relatives in another town or a home for unwed mothers.  The baby would be given up for adoption and the girl would get on with her life.  or she might get married...   like Alice did.
     Alice was my best friend's paternal grandmother.  I had been working on Lillian's genealogy and focusing on her mother's side of the family because it was easier.  I had more names, dates, and records for the maternal line.  All I had for the paternal line were the names of her father and his parents.  I had Lillian's father's date of birth then found the date of marriage for his parents from a site which had been very helpful to me.  I told Lillian and she replied "So, my grandma was knocked up when she got married?"  Lillian's father was born May 25, 1925 and his parents were married nine months before in August of 1924.  I told Lillian not to say things like that. I told her that there are plenty of people who conceive on their honeymoon or on their wedding night.  Lillian didn't believe me.  Alice was only 16 when she married Alexander.  I know the names of Alice's parents but know nothing about Alexander so I've ordered their marriage certificate so I can get Alexander's parents names then trace his family.
     In December of 1916, my maternal great-grandmother Josephine married Samuel.  Six months later, a baby girl was born.  That baby was my grandmother.  Scandalous?  Maybe...  for the time...  it was only 1916...  but Josephine was 21 years old and not a 16 year old teenager like Alice.
     Were these 'happily ever after', 'death til we part' marriages for the two young couples?  Yes and No...
    My great-grandparents stayed married until Samuel's death in 1947 but it wasn't a happily ever after.  They had four more children after my grandmother's birth then eventually separated.  At some point, Josie moved to Brooklyn with their two daughters and the boys stayed in Poughkeepsie with Samuel and his parents.  Josie and the girls sometimes visited on weekends.  Maybe Josie would have been happier if she and Samuel divorced just like Alice.
     Alexander and Alice had one more son about five or six years after Lillian's father was born.  In 1930 they resided with Alice's parents but were divorced by 1940 according to the federal census.  What caused the rift in their marriage? Why did they divorce?
     Did the marriages crumble because they married before they were ready?  With a baby on the way maybe they felt they were doing the right thing?  I'll never know about Samuel and Josie since they stayed married and just lived apart but I could order the divorce record for Alexander and Alice to satisfy my curiosity about them.
     I wonder if I'll find any more 'scandals'?