Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Like Mother, Like Daughter in Marriage

I'm fascinated by family similarities. Some may be the result of a person's environment, such as a similar occupation or religious denomination. Others seem to be more of a personality trait, like the person who loves music and singing in the choir who then finds out that an ancestor also loved music and was a music teacher.

On my mother's side of the family, I found another interesting pattern. My 2nd great-uncle, Henry Jay, was married to Rachel Renner. Rachel had a niece, Bertha Renner, who was married at least 5 times. Bertha had a daughter, Gloretta Womack, who also was married at least 5 times. Fascinating.

Bertha Renner's father moved from Pennsylvania to Texas, got married, and then moved to Oklahoma where Bertha was born. By the time she was 18, she had married John Womack and had their first child, son John. Gloretta came along 2 years later. The first marriage didn't last and, when Gloretta was 6, her mother married Monte Heck and they were living in Los Angeles, California. Over the next 10 years, she had married a man with the surname Heird and then husband number four, Wilbur Morton. When she was in her 50s, Bertha got married one last time to Wesley Slayton who left her a widow.

Daughter Gloretta Womack not only married multiple times but lived in multiple states. She was born in Norman, Oklahoma, and then her family moved to Los Angeles. Gloretta married Hollis Thomas Grove at the age of 15, even though the record indicated she was 18. Perhaps the marriage was declared null when it was discovered what they had done, but that didn't stop Gloretta. She married again at 16 (but with her mother's consent), this time to Roy Keith Bruner and, four years later, they were living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At 24, she married Thomas H. Walker and, over the next 6 years, lived in Hollywood, Oklahoma City, and St. Louis. In her early 40s, she married husband Roland Ray Spencer back in Los Angeles. Three years after that wedding, she was using the married name of Gooding.

Were mother and daughter free spirits? Hopeless romantics who felt that each new man was "the one"? Or were they trying to fill a void in their lives? Whatever the reason, their marriage patterns were remarkably similar. Fascinating.

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