Marriage, or not, divorce and family secrets

In my family research, I’ve come across quite a few areas where “family history” falls over in the face of facts, as I’m sure most family historians have dealt with.  Two instances make me giggle every time I think about it, and really make me wish there was some way for me to know more about what some of my ancestors were like, you know, as people.

The first is the enigma that is my great grandfather, Harvey William Harlow.  This man, like most really poor people in the early 1900’s has been very illusive.  When I started, all I knew about the man, at all, was that he died when my grandfather was 3, and he was buried in Hindustan, Indiana.  (Yes, there’s good ol’ Hindustan.)

As I was able to dig a little further, with some help from my grandfather (names and such and the story of Harvey’s death, at least as my great grandmother told it to him), I found the marriage info for Harvey and my great grandmother (Ella Hacker Harlow Eller).

It turns out that they were married in April of 1925, my grandfather having been born in January 1925. *giggle* And his brother was two years older than he was.  So, I called my grandfather, because I thought maybe I had his birthyear wrong, but no, and he said that not only was he not surprised, that was the second time they’d gotten married to each other.

Now, while that’s kind of giggly, in that, in 1925, that was a terribly frowny thing, getting married *after* the babies, what’s more interesting to me, is that I have not been able to find *any* evidence whatsoever of them being married and/or divorced before that.  Granted, maybe I just haven’t found the right documents, maybe I’m not searching in the right place, but at this point, I am prone to think that they didn’t get married at all till ’25, and either told people, or Ellie told her kids that they had been.

I think I find it so funny, because I’m having a hard time reconciling this unwed “shacked up” woman with my great grandma Eller, who died when I was in my mid 20’s, who I’d known very well, I thought. *grin*

The other story is about my great great grandparents on the other side.  I knew that my great grandma Godsey’s (Anna Myrtle Zike Godsey) mother (Theodocia Wooden Godsey) had died when grandma Godsey was fairly young, and that her father had eventually married a woman a couple years younger than her (That’d be my great great grandma Grace. That’s what we called her-Grandma Grace.), but looking through postings on the Monroe County mailing list at Rootsweb, I came across the divorce notice, Docie divorcing Samuel Zike, claiming that he’d abandoned her and the children to go live with some other woman.  At the time of divorce, I don’t think Anna was born yet, if she was, she was very small.  It makes me wonder, though, if Samuel fancied himself a ladies man. *grin*

These are the kind of things I look for, clues to what these folks were like as people, rather than just names on a list.  You know, I wonder, as I’m sure others do, if some of our own weirdnesses and eccentricities are genetic.  Who do I get my artistic nature from? (Gramma Harlow (LaVera Maxine Godsey Harlow), but where did *she* get it?) Who do I get my talkative nature from? Who did I get my temper from? You know, questions like that.

It just goes to show that you never know what random piece of information will help paint the picture of the human beings behind that list of names, and it’s one of my favorite parts of research.



Where it started, for me

I was a teenager when my Grandma Harlow (LaVera Godsey Harlow) showed me what our family referred to as The Zike Book, by a gentleman called Harry Virgle  Smith.  This was always brought out with a good deal of reverence, and the story of “Old Jacob Zike”, my ancestor from Hesse-Kassel Germany who, according to stories, came to fight for the British, and immediately switched sides, and fought for the rebels.

Here is where those of you who also have Hessian soldiers as ancestors can give a hearty eye roll. *grin*

I can always tell when someone online, chronicling the Zikes has used that book as reference without checking, because in that book, my grandmother is listed as “LaVerne Maxine Godsey”, something that just sent her into a froth every time someone mentioned it.  My dad and my uncle used to call her LaVerna, just to watch her swell with indignation.

After Gramma’s death in 2002, I started researching the family in earnest, because as much as I knew about the Zikes, that was only a small part of the people who made me me. My grandma’s mother was a Zike (Anna Myrtle Zike Godsey), but what about the Harlows, and the Godseys? And who else is there that I don’t even know about?

I’m sure you all know how the bug is when it first bites you. *smile*

So, now, I’m very focused on Monroe County, as a whole, and several towns, villages, and townships.  This moment, I want to find out everything I can about Hindustan, Indiana.  I have a pretty good sized chunk of family buried in the Hindustan cemetery, and now  my goal is to find out what Hindustan had that encouraged my people to move there, and stay there for as long as it looks like they did.

A welcome, and a why

Welcome to what I hope will be an interesting look at Monroe County, Indiana, and probably some surrounding counties.

I always tell people, when they ask, that I grew up in Monroe County (Bloomington, to be exact), even though I have not lived there since I was about 9 years old.  I have family that still lives there, and growing up, I spent all my summers there, at my grandmother’s house.  She exposed me to the idea of family history, and coupled with my fervent desire to “know where we come from”, I began researching our family history, in earnest, a few years ago.

I’ve found, over the years, that a massive chunk of my family was rooted all over Monroe County, coming from all sorts of places, sometimes leaving a lot of information behind, sometime (most times, really haha), leaving not so much.

So, I find myself learning all sorts of things about Monroe County, with very few folks to share it with.  Thus I find myself here. *grin*   Hopefully, with this blog, I can share stories and information, and pictures with other people who’re interested, while sparing my longsuffering hubby from having to listen to me blather. *laugh*

As a forewarning, I am not much of a writer; I think I’m a decent story teller, but don’t expect grammatic excellence, you’ll be disappointed. *laugh*  I am also a bit flaky, in that sometimes I’ll write all the time, then I’ll go a couple weeks and not write.  I’m hoping to be relatively regular in my postings, but I also know myself. 😀

So, before we get underway, let me close by saying, of course, if I have any information that you’re interested in, I will absolutely share it with you,  and I welcome any stories, photos, or info that you have regarding the families of Monroe County, both old and current.


Hello world!

Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!