What? Grandma was married before she met Grandpa?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Yesterday, I was searching marriages on Family Search and punched in my Grandma and Grandpa's names. Their marriage information came up which was cool to see.

What a shock when her name Eleanor Fahl came up again! First of all the status on three different entries showed her marriage status when she married my Grandpa, Willis Harold Lyon as being, unknown, married and divorced. What?

So after checking further it said she had been married to a Clifford Archibald Blair when she was 17 years of age and he was 20 years of age. What? They married September 24, 1917.

I really thought about this for awhile, not believing the information so then I called my sister Nancy and asked if she had heard of this before. "Yes" she said. Mom had told her years ago. Why didn't I know that? Especially with me being the family historian! Next I plan on asking my Dad about it. Unfortunately it turns out that marriage was not a good one for her and she got out of it by divorcing the man. It was also surprising, because she came from a religious family and back then - 1917 - it most likely was not looked well upon to have a divorce.

So I looked up Clifford Archibald Blair on Ancestry and came up with his World War I enlistment record which also showed his birthdate. His closest kin was his mother. There is not much information at all on this man and at this point I do not know if he married again, had children, or when he died. Amazing.

My Grandma Lyon was the sweetest woman ever, so this really surprised and shocked me. I told my sister - "if you have any secrets you better tell me, otherwise I will find out about it sooner or later for sure!"


Mary said...

amazing the history that comes out when doing genealogy research. I've found out several hidden secrets in my family - a family who supposedly had no secrets. Maybe Clifford abused your grandma and that's why she had to get out of the relationship. I think her parents would take her back under those conditions

BTW: I LOVE the new look to your blog.

Margel said...

A dear friend discovered that her mother was married before her marriage to her father and was very upset by the news. It seemed to me to be a strange reaction, but I am a child of divorce so a second marriage is not unusual for me. Maybe it was the surprise factor.

Sharon Lippincott said...

You may be able to get transcripts of the divorce proceedings if you know when and where. Nearly 40 years ago my mother dug through old archives in Santa Fe and Las Vegas, New Mexico and got copies of divorce proceedings for her paternal grandmother and great-grandmothers. Both divorced because of alcoholism. G'g'grandfather was a brute, physically abusive. His son was harmless enough, but he couldn't hold a job and his wife and four children were starving.

Those transcripts are timeless. The same stories are being told every day right now.