Okay… it’s 1910 and you are starting life over in a different part of the state. You’re not with your husband and you have one child. The City Directory comes around and asks about your status (occupation, address, etc). As a woman in 1910, do you list yourself as a widow when you’re divorced? Or do you just leave off the husband information? If you divorce, would you change your married name back to your maiden name? Or does your family have you confused and you kept your married name because you truly are a widow?
I found this information FASCINATING. My mother’s great-aunt Gertrude Long married a man named Edward T. Rang in Huron County, Ohio in April 1895. The marriage records in that particular year only had people state they were at least of a certain age but no other information was recorded (i.e. parents). Edward and Gertrude Rang had a child in May 1895. The birth certificate of Edward and Gertrude’s daughter identifies them by name only.
By the 1900 US Census, Gertrude says she’d been married five years and had one child. The 1910 US Census says that she is divorced. The 1920 US Census lists her as widowed.
The Columbus City Directories lists Gertrude as Gertrude Rang (widow of Edward) or Mrs. Gertrude Rang throughout the decade of the 1910s. After that, she is simply Gertrude Rang.
So, was she divorced and claimed she was a widow in the public city directory? Was she truly a widow and a mistake was made in the census? It’s fascinating. I guess I now need to go to Huron County, Ohio records to see if Aunt Gertrude Rang’s husband died or they were divorced. Oh, the joys of genealogy and digging into people’s past. Wa-ha-ha!!!
Here’s something very interesting. There are two Edward T Rangs in Huron County, Ohio at this time. One appears to be perhaps an elder to the younger one. One Edward T Rang could have been Gertrude’s spouse and remarries in 1905. This record identifies this Edward’s parents and mentions that this marriage is his second. Very, very fascinating.