I thought I pretty much knew everything there was to know about my maternal 2nd-great grandfather, John William WRIGHT, after all these years of working on genealogy. I had his parents, his dates of birth and death, tombstone photos, census records, etc. I had a pretty good picture of his life and where he was living during his adult life.
John was widowed in 1913 when my 2nd-great grandmother, Ellen (KING) WRIGHT passed away. John himself lived on until 1945. I found him living in the same location: Monroe Township, Madison County, Indiana, exactly where I thought he would be in both the 1920 and the 1930 census as well as various phone books and directories up until his death.
Imagine my surprise when doing a cursory search at the Family Search pilot which seemed to indicate a heretofore unknown second marriage for John in 1922. I was searching using his parents, Joseph WRIGHT and Rebecca HEATON, hoping that I might find other records on brothers and sisters, etc. The record that came back showed a marriage between John W. WRIGHT and Margaret L. WILLETTS on May 13, 1922. This John was the son of Joseph and Rebecca (HEATON) WRIGHT, so it appeared to be the right person. The county was not given by the record, only a filmstrip number.
I called Central Records at the Madison County courthouse the next day and asked if they had a record of a marriage in 1922 between John W. WRIGHT and Margaret L. WILLETTS. They were able to locate the record, and I made arrangements to pick it up.
Application is hereby made for a license for the marriage of John W. Wright to Margaret L. Willetts
1. The full christian and surname of the man is John W. Wright
2. Color White
3. Where born Brown Co., O [Brown County, Ohio]
4. When born Feb 23 - 62 [February 23, 1862]
5. Present residence Alex Ind [Alexandria, Indiana]
6. Present occupation Farmer
8. Is the male contracting party of nearer blood kin to the female contracting party than second cousin? No
9. Full christian name of father Joseph Wright
10. His color White
11. His birthplace Brown Co., O [Brown County, Ohio]
12. His occupation Dead
13. His residence Dead
14. Full christian and maiden name of mother Rebecca Heaton
15. Her color White
16. Her occupation Dead
17. Her birthplace Brown Co., O [Brown County, Ohio]
18. Her residence ditto
19. Has the male contracting party been an inmate of any county asylum or home for indigent persons within the last five years? No
21. Is this his first marriage? No
22. If not, how often has he been married? Once
23. Has such prior marriage, or marriages, been dissolved? Death
25. When? 1913
26. Is the male contracting party afflicted with epilepsy, tuberculosis, venereal, or any other contagious or transmissible disease? No
27. Is he an imbecile, feeble-minded, idiotic or insane, or is he under guardianship as a person of unsound mind? No
1. The full christian and surname of the woman is Margaret L. Willetts
2. Color White
3. Where born Pittsburg, Pa [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]
4. When born Aug 19 - 72 [August 19, 1872]
5. Present residence Anderson, Ind.
6. Present occupation H Keeper [house keeper]
7. Full christian and surname of father James Lewis
8. His color White
9. His birthplace England
10. His occupation Rld [Railroad?]
11. His residence Pitts Pa [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]
12. Full christian and maiden name of mother Margaret Powell
13. Her color White
14. Her occupation H Keeper [house keeper]
15. Her birthplace England
16. Her residence Pitts Pa [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]
17. Has the female contracting party been an inmate of any county asylum or home for indigent persons with the last five years? No
18. Is this her first marriage? No
19. If not, how often has she been marriage? Once
20. Has such prior marriage, or marriages, been dissolved? Death
21. When? 1918
22. Is the female contracting party afflicted with epilepsy, tuberculosis, venereal, or any other contagious or transmissible disease? No
23. Is she an imbecile, feeble-minded, idiotic or insane, or is she under guardianship as a person of unsound mind? No
This is definitely my 2nd-great grandfather, getting remarried on May 13, 1922. Interestingly, his first marriage also took place on May 13th in 1886.
By the 1930 census, John was living with his youngest son, and was listed as a widower. His obituary in 1945 does not mention this marriage at all.
I've done a quick search in trying to locate Margaret in the 1920 census and in the 1930 census, without success. Did she die between 1922 and 1930, or did they later divorce? Will have to check out Madison County records for a divorce. A quick search of the obituary and cemetery databases at the Anderson library do not show a Margaret WRIGHT dying during that time period in Madison County.
Just when you think you know everything there is to know about someone, a new mystery develops.