Friday, May 17, 2013

The Indelicate Subject of Incest

Yesterday I blogged about the Joseph and Lucinda Cashall Meredith family and their oldest child, Maude Mae.  Today I was researching Amanda Caroline Meredith, the daughter of Sarah Ann Meredith, the sister of Joseph.  I found the three of them, Sarah, Joseph and Amanda, living in Forestville, Sanilac County, Michigan in 1870 along with their mother, Rebecca Smith Meredith.  Sarah is older than Joseph and Amanda is 3.  Sarah married Matthew Hawksworth in 1876.  Joseph married Lucinda in 1875.  Rebecca died in 1874.

So I had Amanda down as the child of Sarah, and it bothers me that I have Amanda's father as Matthew Hawksworth, which I know isn't right, so I start combing through Family Search.  I find Amanda's birth record with her mother recorded as Sarah Ann Meredith, but no father.  I click on a hint in Ancestry and find a tree that has these family members and the notation for Amanda that says her birth record plainly states Amanda is illegitimate, her father unknown.  But something tells me that Joseph is her father.  Maybe I'm wrong.  Amanda's death record on Family Search says her mother was Sarah Meredith and gives her father as Matthew Hawksworth. 

So life goes on and Maude Mae, Joseph's child, and Amanda, Sarah's child grow up and get married; Maude to Jacob Thompson and Amanda to William Putnam.  Maude and Jacob's first child is a daughter, Loverta Thompson.  Amanda and William's first child is a son, Claude Putnam. 

I'm in the process of trying to track down when Amanda Caroline Meredith Putnam and discover she died in Detroit, Michigan in 1931.  Interesting.  I have her and her husband consistently living in Rose, Michigan, located in a county I've never heard of,  Ogemaw.  (I guess in my head if I don't hear it in a weather report, the county doesn't exist?)  So Amanda died in Detroit.  Where did William die?  I do some checking and find he also died in Detroit in 1924.  What's in Detroit that would cause this couple to move and then die there?

Turns out it was their son, Claude.  Claude is in Detroit in the 1930 census living with his wife, Laverta Putnam.  Also living with them are children with the last name of Schultz, one a male named Lorn.  Um, what?  Loverta Thompson, daughter of Maude Meredith who was the daughter of Joseph Meredith, the brother of Sarah (the mother of Amanda, the mother of Claude) has married her 1st cousin (and perhaps her uncle?) Claude Putnam.  Her first husband was Lorn Schultz, who I found on Find A Grave buried by himself, no Loverta with him.  He died in 1923 and is buried in Alpena.  The record I found for his death on Family Search doesn't have his marital status.

Claude and Loverta's first child together was Violet, born in 1928.  Altogether they would have 5 daughters, including a set of twin girls, Jean and Joan. 

I've run across incest in families before, but not in mine.  This gave me pause.  And I think someone didn't want me to keep researching this subject because weird things started happening when I started the research last night.  Family Search refused to work when I first started the hunt for Amanda Caroline Meredith around 1 am this morning, so I just went to bed.  Then today when I found the first hint of incest, Ancestry kept giving me errors while trying to add the census information.  Then my own genealogy and personal websites went down.  I called my hosting company to ask about it and was told, "Gee, it's working fine now."  Sure enough, when I checked again, the sites were back up.  The technician at the hosting company said, "Huh, that's weird," when I told him the error message I was getting;  "Your database is not communicating with your server."  I'm half laughing at myself for even thinking these things, but half of me is wondering...really?  Is it that big of a deal, you guys?

I think it just happens in families.  


1 comment:

  1. I was very surprise and interested when reading your blog about Amanda Caroline Meredith who married William H. Putman. I'm a Putman, and William's brother [not son] Claude Putnam was my grandfather. Both were sons of William C. Putman of Wells, Tuscola Co., MI. I have for a long time wondered about the death records for Amanda and William H. Putman. I knew that they had died in Detroit but nothing more. Your story is a very good history of what happened to this family. I was wondering if I could connect the Putman's with the Meredith's and their relatives back in Ontario, Canada, when I began my investigation tonight into Amanda Meredith Putman. I first found that there is a record of Forest Fay Gifford's death 12/19/1946 in Ogema Co., MI, that indicates that her parents were William Putman and Amanda Hawsworth, which I discovered from your post was really Hawksworth. My Putman family came from New York, to New Jersey, then to Pennsylvania, to western New York, on to Canada, and then on to Michigan where my family lives now. You have an excellent post, and I am very grateful that you decided to enter it into the record. Thanks.