Monday, February 21, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: Myrtle Van Every at age 19

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them. 

One never knows where one will find important clues to one's family history. This week I transcribe a list of events from the 34th District Court in El Paso, Texas - the list appeared almost 91 years ago, in the El Paso Herald on February 27, 1920.  I found this at the ChroniclingAmerica website on Thursday night.

El Paso Herald
February 27, 1920

34th District Court
Judge W.D. Howe, presiding

State vs. Alberto Lopez, burglary, instructed verdict of not guilty.
State vs. Jesus Martinez, theft from person, not guilty
State vs. Geranimo Campe, Fernandez, Carlos Moreno, burglary and theft over $50, on trial.
Myrtle Connevey vs. Alfred H. Connevey, divorce granted, maiden name of Van Every restored to plaintiff.
Ex parte, Philip Rescineto, application to change name, filed.


1) Before Thursday I had three husbands for my grandmother Myrtle Van Every.  Jack (1919), Dale Ridgely (1927), and my grandfather (1936-).  While I still have yet to identify Jack's surname, I am pretty sure Jack is not a nickname for Alfred.  The letters from Myrtle's parents consoling her on her divorce from Jack were sent in the summer of 1919.  Her divorce from Alfred occurred in February of 1920. So it seems Myrtle married two men the year she was 19, neither marriage lasting long.

2) Is it possible this is a different Myrtle Van Every?

There are other Myrtle Van Everys.  My grandmother was named after her aunt, for one.  However, Myrtle Connevey appears in the 1920 census, taken in January.

This Myrtle Connevey appears within the list of soldiers stationed at the QuarterMasterCorps at Fort Bliss in Texas.  She was 19 years old, and a typist in an office. All these facts match what I know of my grandmother.  I found this record back in 2007 when I began researching, but I figured if it was my grandmother, the handwriting was sloppy enough it might actually read 'Van Every' and somehow she got recorded as a 'wife' instead of 'single' as there was no husband listed with her.  Alfred Connevey is actually recorded as a lodger living somewhere else in El Paso.  My guess is the two of them were already separated, but the divorce hadn't yet been settled.

3)  I have already contacted the El Paso District Clerk's office to request copies.  I should know by the end of the week whether or not the records exist.

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