My father had on the hand drawn family tree he had given me that my great grandfather, Frank Smith, and my great grandmother were married in Texas. He told me that they had met in Texas, with an entire, elaborate STORY that was told to him by my great grandmother on how they met. It was also told that they married in El Paso, Texas; this made sense, as my grandmother and her older sister were born there.
My next steps were to find my grandmother’s and great aunt’s birth records, as I knew the exact dates and places they were born, and my great grandparent’s marriage record; I could find none. At the time, not all the Texas birth records were online. I had found a birth index for my grandmother, and had requested the record from the El Paso County Clerk; I was disappointed when I had given them the certificate number from the Index, along with the name and date of birth, and they said they couldn’t locate it. What??!! Instead, they sent me a “certified” birth certificate with the name, date and place I had given them, written out in paragraph form, for my $50!!! I was back to square one. I then looked for my great aunt’s birth record, and I could not find one for her either; at the time I had searched, her record should have been online for her birth year. I was so confused. I then searched taking out some identifying info such as her name and gender, and then put in her EXACT birth. I had a hit! I found a birth record for her with her exact birth, her first name, correct mother’s name, and correct mother’s place of birth; although, this Maria had a different last name, different father, and a clerical error of “male” as the gender. When I told my father and uncle, they were surprised! When my great aunt’s daughter was shown the certificate, she did not believe it was her mom’s, of course, because of the different last name and different father, not to mention the incorrect gender; it was in fact hers. Family Secret #1!
I then searched for and could not find their marriage record, so I requested a search through the El Paso County Clerk for the date given, along with a few years before and after; they got back to me and said they could not locate one. What, but we had the date??!! It took me quite a while to find their marriage record, because my great grandparents were not married at the time nor in the place that my great grandmother had told my father and uncle in her stories. I decided later to go down to the county clerk’s office to look up marriage records in the county and state where they last lived, after I had exhausted all my other resources. I could not find anything within a couple of years before to a couple of years after the date that was given by my grandmother, and before my great aunt and grandmother were born. When I widened the search years of the marriage date told, I found their marriage record; it was in a totally different state than where they had said they got married, and a date after their first three children had already been born! Family Secret #2! The names of my great grandfather’s parents on his marriage certificate matched the names given by my great grandmother. I was back to square one again!
These were the first family secrets of hidden identity and more for this family; stay tuned for part 3, as there are quite a few more! 😉