Sunday, August 4, 2013

Don't Jump to Conclusions

I was looking at the marriage license application for some distant cousins, and it appeared that the uncle of the groom signed the document as the father of the bride. The document, as many marriage applications do, testified that the couple were not first cousins. The bride wasn't of legal age, which is why the father had to sign his permission.

No, I'm not going to post images, or name names. The marriage took place in 1938, and while the bride and groom are deceased, I'm sure there are living relatives.

I am positive it isn't a coincidence of names. The father/uncle's 1969 obituary clearly identifies the bride as his daughter, and the groom's mother as his sister.

However, there are two pieces of evidence that suggest the marriage was not as it seems.

1) The bride was born in 1920. She doesn't appear in the 1930 census with the father who signed her marriage license application in 1938.

2) Her tombstone follows the Jewish custom of including the father's Hebrew given name. And the inscribed given name doesn't match.

So my current hypothesis is that at some point between 1930 and 1938 she was adopted. So the marriage wasn't one of genetic first cousins. I'm unsure how the law at the time treated relationship through adoption.

Unfortunately, her death was too recent for her death certificate to be public, and I am not a close enough relative to request a copy. So the easiest way for me to confirm this would be to contact family members. While we live in the same area, this isn't a branch of the family that my family has maintained contact with over the years, and I have only learned about them through research. Even if I have found or do find close living relatives, delicate questions such as these aren't the ideal ice-breakers.

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