Thanks again to helpful readers, the mystery of Grandpy’s first marriage is finally cleared up!
No, not really. In fact, it might be even murkier…
It seems that Charles L. “Kune” of Boston, MA married Berthelma H. Waters of Kirksville, MO on July 25, 1910 in Moberly, Missouri.
Now, before you think, “Ah, ha! Kune isn’t Keene!”, let me show you something.
In the 1930 census record for Grandpy and Nana, Keene has been incorrectly transcribed as “Kune.” You can see this in the record below.
I know this is the right family, because this is the transcription for the census page below:
Those are my grandparents and their children, including my father, Charles, Jr. The double-e in Keene has been misread as a “u” by the transcriber. Just as it had been on the 1910 marriage record between Charles and Berthelma.
Now, back to their story.
Here is the 1910 census record for Thelma. I believe that she was working as a waitress in a hotel when the census enumerator came around on April 15, 1910. Which is why she is listed with seemingly unrelated people.
Charles and Thelma most likely met when he was working as a chef, perhaps in the same hotel. And, I can place Charlie in Moberly, MO in July, where the marriage to Berthelma took place, based on a postmark of July 5, 1910.
On their marriage record, Charles has claimed that he is over the age of 21, which is correct, as his birthday was April 24, 1883. He would have just turned 27.
According to the census, Thelma was born in 1893, which would have made her only 16, as her birthday wasn’t until September, according to her death certificate. But, the death certificate gives her year of birth as 1892, making her 17 at the time of her marriage to Charles.
Somebody fudged the truth on their marriage certificate, regardless. Thelma’s age is stated as being as over 18. Which can’t be true given either 1892 or 1893 as her birth year.
I think that this record of marriage is correct for Charlie and Thelma, but that begs the question just whose is the first marriage certificate found for Charlie and Anna?
In fact, I have a lot of questions.
Who is Charles L. Keene of the St. Joseph, MO, February 10, 1910 marriage license? This Charles also gives his hometown as Boston, MA and his age as over 21.
My Grandpy was in St. Joseph when this marriage license was granted, based on postmarked cards sent home, from January 10 through March 9, 1910. What are the odds that two different men with the exact same name and hometown were in St. Joseph at the same time?
I don’t know!
I did find a “Charles L. Keene” on the 1910 census in St. Joseph, Missouri, but his birthplace is New Hampshire in 1880. However, he, too, is working in a hotel as a cook.
I am not sure that this is my Grandpy, as we have a postcard from him dated April 11, 1910 from New York, NY. (Remember that the census was taken April 15.) But, he certainly could have been back in Missouri by the 15th, if he rode the train. But, then, why the incorrect information of hometown and birth year? This Charles is listed a “single”, so he couldn’t the one who married Anna just two months prior.
Arrggg….. But, wait, there’s more!
Why is Thelma’s maiden name “Waters” on the marriage record, but “Page” on her death certificate?
What happened to Charles and Anna? Although not exhaustive, I did search the 1910 census for them. They should have been enumerated as a married couple, as the marriage would have taken place in February, and the census was taken in April. However, I could find them under neither Keene or Kune.
Perhaps an annulment? A quicky divorce? (Seems unlikely in 1910.)
I am thinking that a more likely possibility is that the marriage between Charles and Anna never actually took place. The records are for an application for a marriage license and a marriage license was granted. But, perhaps someone got cold feet.
And, now my head hurts. As I’m pretty sure does yours.