By now we all know DNA can produce unexpected results. We’ve seen the human interest segments on the news, or watched the 20/20 or Dateline episodes featuring stories about unknown children, unexpected parents, and everything inbetween.
I was not so naive as to think our DNA would be exempt. Many of our matches have names that mean nothing to me—even though I can frequently link them to a particular family line, based on shared matches I do recognize. They are people on a descendant line I simply have not followed up on.
Nevertheless, it was still a bit unexpected when Mike’s brother emailed me about having been contacted by some guy who was a DNA match. I was puzzled about why we hadn’t been contacted, but realized I had a public tree (where this guy could see his connection to Mike), while Mike’s brother did not. I explained to Mike’s brother how they were related, and told him I’d take care of answering the guy.
It turned out he was a half first cousin to Mike & his brother. His mother, Marjorie, was an older half sister to Mike’s dad, Jerry. Marjorie and her brother, Fred, were children from their mom’s first marriage. The chart below may help:
Marjorie was 19 when Jerry was born (and her mother died) in 1928. If she wasn’t already out on her own, her mother’s death possibly sealed the deal. By the 1930 census, John Joseph had no children living with him; they’d all been farmed out to other relatives.
I didn’t know much about Marjorie, but finding a half cousin prodded me to make an effort to flesh out her family line. She had a somewhat complicated story. Since many of the descendants are living, I did not include them in the chart above, and will not be using those names in the narrative.
I’ve still not found Marjorie in the 1930 census, but found the record for her 30 August 1930 marriage¹ to Roy L. Dale, which took place in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The marriage license said she worked as a housekeeper, and provided an address—the same as Roy’s address. I located that street and house number in the 1930 census (taken in April), but neither one was living there. It seems they weren’t living in Indiana during the census—at least not at that address.
Roy was a widower, so I tracked down his first marriage. That took place in Port Huron, Michigan, where he married² Thelma L. English, 15 July 1922. Thelma died 23 March 1930, shortly before census day, explaining Roy not being in Indiana!
Thelma’s surname raised a red flag. Marjorie’s maternal grandmother was Eliza Jane English. Were Marjorie and Thelma related? It turned out, yes! Thelma’s father, Frederick, was Eliza Jane’s brother, making Roy Dale’s first and second wives first cousins, once removed. That was unexpected!
I’ve been unable to determine if Roy and Marjorie had any children, or how their marriage ended. Some online trees suggest Roy died in 1999, but have no sources to substantiate that. There’s more than one Roy Dale out there! I also found a Ray Dale with an identical birth date, and the same parents. Was Roy playing fast and loose with his name? When I tracked down the birth register, I saw Ray and Roy were twins. That was another unexpected twist, though it didn’t fill in the gaps in Roy’s history.
Presumably Roy either died or they divorced prior to 16 February 1938 . . . at which time Marjorie married³ Roy Dunn, in Wood County, Ohio. The marriage license is extremely curious. She was living in Bowling Green, Ohio, but Roy was living in Sarnia, Ontario (across from Port Huron). Marjorie also presented herself as not previously married. She was “Miss” and using her maiden name of Marshall. Yes, she is the right woman in both documents, and both licenses (rather than registers, which sometimes have less information) have details like birth date and place, parents’ names, that are consistent.
I don’t know if Roy Dunn didn’t know she’d been married before, or she and Roy Dale simply split up (or he deserted her) and she never went through the effort to secure a divorce. I’m sure there’s a story there . . .
As with the first Roy, I don’t know what happened to Roy Dunn. Some online trees suggest he and Marjorie had 2 children, but their names are privatized. I presume Roy and Marjorie returned to Canada after the wedding, since he lived there. I didn’t find them in the 1940 US census, and there is no comparable census for Canada. It’s just a mystery.
At some point, Roy was out of the picture, and Marjorie married Jean-Marc Bedard. The two of them appear in voters’ lists in British Columbia as early as 1958. I haven’t found a marriage date, nor births for the 4 children who show up, privatized, in online trees. I found Jean-Marc’s 2007 Find A Grave memorial in Quebec (where he had been born). One tree suggests Marjorie was also buried near there, though I can’t find an entry for her, nor a death certificate.
As a result of that unexpected contact, I’ve acquired a number of details for Marjorie, though, as usual, new questions pop up as quickly as old ones are answered. I guess that’s to be expected!
¹”Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007″, database, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FamilySearch Record Search (https://familysearch.org), Roy DALE (35) and Marjorie MARSHALL (21) accessed 2 July 2019, 30 August 2019; citing Allen County, Indiana, Marriage Registration, Indiana Commission on Public Records, Indianapolis; reference vol. 74, p. 393, image 197 of 303; citing FHL microfilm 4165102.
²”Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952″, database, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com), accessed 21 June 2020, citing Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics, Port Huron, 1922 Muskegon-1922 Wayne, film number 164, record # 17294. Roy L. DALE (26) and Thelma L. ENGLISH (18).
³Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013, index and images, accessed 2 July 2019, citing Marriage, Wood County, Franklin County Genealogical & Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, FHL microfilm 4,260,731, image # 52 of 332. Roy DUNN (24) and Marjorie MARSHALL (29); FamilySearch.