Friday, October 21, 2016

Journal Entry: Divorce records and probate records

I've been keeping a journal of my journey to help me keep track of my research. Every once in a while I will add some entries from my journal to my blog to share what I have come across.

Journal Entry Oct 8, 2015

It's been a good couple of days for research. I will attempt to explain it all clearly without jumping around. I get excited and lose focus on what I'm writing about.

First, I finally made a trip downtown to the civil courts building to get probate records and divorce records. I was so nervous because parking downtown is not easy. Luckily, I found a spot diagonally from the building. First stop was the 3rd floor for divorce records. The lady told me I didn't have to come down; I could have called. I told her I did and was told I had to come in. Well. now I know. She took down the information and told me I will receive notification in the mail whether they find something or not. She also told me they weren't going to charge me since the records were so old. BONUS! So they are looking up divorce info on Grandpa Les Wheeler and his first wife, Ruth Pirtel; Grandma Ruth ILG and her first husband, Joseph Valdes; Aunt Ruth and her first husband, Joseph Mrazek; and Oma Mae Dennis and her first husband, Edward Buer. Hopefully, I will have some information in a couple of days. (I did end up getting records back on 3 out of 4 couples. I did not receive something anything on Ruth and Joseph Mrazek)

Second stop was the 10th floor: Probate records. I spoke with Jeanie; a real nice lady who is also a genealogist. So she was extra helpful. She got me the probate records of Pauline ILG, Leona ILG, Edward J. Buer, and Maggie Helfrich. The one who didn't have a Will with their record was Edward J. Buer. The probate record I was really looking forward to looking at was Maggie Helfrich's. I was hoping there would be some listing that could lead me to the Helfrich family or back to Tennessee. Sadly, no. Jacob Helfrich wasn't even listed. As of right now, two things stood out. One: Where her signature should be, there was an 'X' in its place. Her "mark". It confirmed what I found in census records. She could not read or write. Even my daughter was like, "That's so sad." (It really put into perspective for her how we take reading and writing for granted) Two: Where it listed who got everything, her daughter Oma Mae Caldwell (New married name) was listed as receiving only $1.00. I asked Jeanie about this and she explained in order to keep family from contesting the will for not receiving anything, they would only give them $1.00. Oma had practically abandoned her daughters, so Maggie raised them. Honey and Auntie got everything. Honey is Maggie ILG and Auntie is her sister, Ruth Kelley. I didn't get copies of every document, but got what seemed important.
That was a good day of research. That was over a year ago. I have collected so much more since then, yet still have the brick wall that is Maggie Helfrich. Maybe one day I will finally break through that wall in Tennessee.