Meeting the GPS – a brief case study



headstone gustave j adam
Headstone Gustave J. Adam. Greenlawn Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan.

Identifying the former Mrs. Gustave J. Adam(s)

On 16 June 1944 at Redford Receiving Hospital, Detroit, Michigan, Gustave J. Adam, succumbed to injuries received in an automobile accident. He was the son of Emil C. Adam and Mary Link. [1] Burial followed in the Adam family plot at Greenlawn Cemetery.[2] Born 2 May 1887, he was fifty-seven-years-of-age.[3] His brother William, with whom he resided at the time of death, indicated that Gustave was divorced. William gave no indication from whom.[4] The inference that Gus had been married, led to the question this case study explores. What was the former Mrs. Gustave J. Adam’s maiden name?

A search of Michigan divorce records identified three potentially relevant records. These documents consist of two decrees and a court record book entry. They do not contain direct evidence to the maiden name of the wives. Nor do they disambiguate one Gustave from another or even from the Gustave who died in 1944.

Results for Gustave J. Adam, residing Detroit

Docket No. Name Marriage Date Divorce Date Spouse Action
84631[5] Gustave J. Adam 8 Nov 1911 19 Apr 1921 Bessie M. Adam Withdrawn
148021[6] Gustave J. Adam 8 Oct 1905 12 Oct 1929 Bessie M. Adam Granted
224529[7] Gustave J. Adam 12 Feb 1929 19 Aug 1936 Geneva A. Adam Granted

As part of the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS), reconciliation of the four potential Gustave J. Adams of Detroit were addressed. The divorce and corresponding marriage records were correlated. Then the 1910 census for Detroit was examined. There was one Gustave Adam living in Detroit at the time. He was identified as the son of Emil C. and Mary Adam. The entry provided  the evidence of the age, place of birth, parents and even a brother William, for the deceased Gustave J. Adam of the 1944 death certificate.

1910 Census – Emil C. Adam household, 409 West High Street, Detroit[8]

Name Relationship to Head Age Birth Fathers Birth Mothers Birth Occupation
Emil C. Adam Head 54 Germany Germany Germany Liquor Salesman
Mary E. Adam Wife 54 Ohio Germany Germany
Katherine R. Adams Daughter 30 Ohio Germany Ohio Department Saleslady
Otillie Adams Daughter 18 Kentucky Germany Ohio Factory Examiner
Gustave A. Adams Son 23 Michigan Germany Ohio Manager [illegible] co.
William Adams Son 20 Michigan Germany Ohio Chauffer auto co.

Marriage records are created at the time, or close to the event, for the purpose of documentation. They typically contain credible direct evidence of a woman’s maiden name, from a primary informant.

Extract from 1911 Detroit Marriage Record[9]

Name Age Residence Birth Occupation Father Mother
Gustav J. Adam 24 Detroit Michigan Autoworker Emil C. Mary Link
Bessie McCann 21 Detroit Kentucky McCellan Anna

 Extract from 1930 Wood County, Ohio Marriage Record[10]

Name Age Residence Birth Occupation Father Mother
Gustave J. Adam 42 Detroit Cheboygan, Michigan Engineer Emil C. Adam Maria Link
Geneva A. Pearson 36 Detroit Saginaw, Michigan Wentworth Weaver Caroline Ledgrow
gustave j adam
Gustave J. Adam of Detroit, Michigan

We can now propose a hypothesis. Gustave J. Adam, son of Emil C. Adam, and Mary Link, was married twice. He was also divorced twice. He was first married in 1911 to Bessie McCann, daughter of McClellan and Anna McCann, in Detroit.[11] The couple were granted a divorce in 1929.[12] Free to remarry, Gustave wed Geneva A. (Weaver) Pearson, daughter of Wentworth Weaver and Caroline Ledgrow, in 1930, in Bowling Green, Ohio.[13] They were subsequently divorced in 1936 in Detroit.[14]

The marriage records give credible direct evidence to the names of the women Gustave married. There are no discrepancies regarding Gustave’s age, place of birth, occupation, or parents. We have identified one man, married to two women, at separate times.  There are no conflicts within the timeline of events. The divorce decrees support this assertion, even with the various conflicting suggested marriage date from these records. They are erroneous, and can be disregarded. The key source are the marriage records themselves.

The first Mrs. Gustave J. Adam – Bessie McCann

Bessie, was born 20 Sep 1891 in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.[15]  No birth record has been found.[16] She died in 1937 in Detroit at the age of forty-six-years. Acting as informant of her death was Geo. Adams, of Cadillac, Michigan.[17]  In all probability, this was her son George J. Adams, who was living in Cadillac in 1940, and identified in her obituary.[18] He provided credible primary information when he attested Bessie was divorced from Gustave Adams, and her parents were McClellan McCann and Annie Dyer.[19]

George may well have known his maternal grandfather. McClellan McCann died in 1919 when George would have been about thirteen years of age. [20] The direct evidence of Bessie’s kinship’s can be considered reliable from George. It is reasonable for him to have known how his own mother referred to her parents. Additionally, he had experienced the direct relationship between his parents.

Locating the family of McClellan McCann and Anne McDyler to directly connect Bessie with her parents, has proved troublesome.  The first census Bessie would appear in was 1900, and to date, the family has not been located. By the 1910 census McClellan McCann had remarried, and was found with his new wife and their children in Louisville, Kentucky.[21]

What is known is that sometime between 1897 and 1902, the McCann family moved from Covington, Kentucky to Hamilton, Ohio.  In 1899 McClellan is listed in the city directory in Covington.[22] He then fails to appear in any census or directory until 1902, when he is recorded in the city directory of Hamilton.[23] The 1904 directory for Hamilton included entries for Edith and Katie McCann of the same address as McClellan McCann.[24]

It is probable that Bessie’s sister Edith married a Chester Case sometime between 1907 and the 1910 census. [25] No effort to secure a marriage record has currently been made.

1920 Census – C. Case & A. Adam Households, 147 Perry Street, Detroit[26]

Name Relationship to Head Age Birth Fathers Birth Mothers Birth Occupation
Chester Case Head 38 Ohio Indiana Indiana Brick Layer
Edith Case Wife 34 Kentucky Indiana Kentucky
Philip Case Son 15 Ohio Ohio Kentucky
August Adam Head 33 Ohio Germany Germany Machinist
Bessie Adam Wife 29 Kentucky Indiana Kentucky
George Adam Son 12 Ohio Ohio Kentucky

The implied active relationship between George and his maternal aunt increase the reliability of George’s knowledge of his grandparents. Not only did George live in close proximity to Edith in 1920, but he can be found in the Case household in 1910, without his mother. [27]

A birth record for a son born to Gustave and Bessie would potentially provide a collaborating source of evidence to Bessie’s maiden name. In 1930, George identified his town of birth as Hamilton, Ohio.[28] A search of the Hamilton, Butler County, Ohio birth records (1905-1910), identified only one possible record, of a George, with any connection to a McCann mother. This was an entry for an illegitimate birth of a George McCann, born 1906.[29] This corresponds with the McCann family presence in Hamilton in 1906.[30]. There were no Adam(s) births in Ohio of interest during this same time period. Gustave’s kinship with George was probably not one of consanguinity, although his obituary identifies Major George J. Adam as his son. [31]

Gustave’s World War I draft card suggested one additional potential source of relevance.  Gus declared that by 1918 he was a veteran with 5 years of service with a wife and child to support. [32] Military records are considered a potential gold-mine for dependent details, such as evidence of children’s births or wives’ maiden names. Unfortunately, an attempt to secure the file determined that it had been destroyed.[33]

The Second Mrs. Gustave J. Adams – Geneva Weaver

Geneva was born 12 June 1892, to Wentworth Weaver, and Caroline Ledgrow. Her birth was registered 18 June 1893 in Clare County, Michigan.[34] A seven-year-old Geneva, can be found in the 1900 census with her family living in Surrey.[35] The conflicting birth evidence of Saginaw in the marriage record to Gustave, can be discounted as inaccurate. Possibly attributable to Gus assuming this was her place of birth when he applied for the marriage license.  The Weaver family had lived in Saginaw County in Geneva’s youth, and her mother remarried there after her father died.[36]

Gustave and Geneva married in Bowling Green, Ohio in 1930. [37] This was considered an easy place to get married during the 1930s. By law, one of the parties was supposed to be a resident of Wood County and the questionable witness would attest to this.

“We had a judge at that time who would accept anyone as a witness, and people drove in particularly from the Detroit area.”

Ohio Genealogical Society Fellow, Lolita Guthrie[38] .

 

At the time of her marriage to Gustave, Geneva’s name was admitted as Geneva A. Pearson. The record shows erroneously that she had been married only one time previously. In 1911, Geneva married Dennis Bolger in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.[39]  There was no acknowledged issue of this union. The couple divorced in October 1920 in Detroit.[40] Two months later Geneva married Earl J. Pearson.[41] There was one son, Earl N. Pearson born of this marriage about 1923-1924. In June 1928 the couple divorced.[42] Subsequently, they remarried in February 1929, and divorced again by December 1929.[43]

Timeline of Marital Events for Geneva Ann Weaver

Date Event Name Age Residence Father Mother Spouse Place of Event
5 April 1911 Marriage Eva Weaver 19 Detroit Wentworth Weaver Caroline Ledgrow Dennis Bolger Windsor, Ontario
15 October 1920 Divorce Geneva A. Bolger Dinnis Bolger Detroit, Michigan
23 December 1920 Marriage Geneva A. Bolger 26 Detroit Ledgrow _ Earl J. Pearson Detroit, Michigan
25 June 1928 Divorce Geneva A. Pearson Earl J. Pearson Detroit, Michigan
9 February 1929 Marriage Geneva A. Pearson 37 Detroit Beecher Dunlap Weaver Earl J. Pearson Detroit, Michigan
31 December 1929 Divorce Geneva A. Pearson Earl J. Pearson Detroit, Michigan
12 February 1930 Marriage Geneva A. Pearson 36 Detroit Wentworth Weaver Caroline Ledgrow Gustave J. Adam Bowling Green, Ohio
19 August 1936 Divorce Geneva A. Adams Gustave J. Adams Detroit, Michigan

The table above illustrates the timeline of marriage and divorce activities of Geneva Weaver. Additionally, the table clarifies the provenance of Geneva’s surname from her maiden name to the time of her marriage to Gustave.  The conflict of the Dunlap/Weaver parents is erroneous.  Geneva or Earl supplied her parent’s names as they knew them to be at that date. They identified her step-father as her father. Geneva’s discrepancies in age can be dismissed as a personal bias of a woman shaving a few years off her age.

Geneva died in Sarasota, Florida, on 13 October 1988. The death certificate stated she was a widow. Furthermore, it inferred she had married once more.  The informant was Earl Pearson, who in all probability was her son.  He identified her parents as Wintworth Weaver and Caroline Lagrow. [44]  This can be considered primary evidence. Again, it is reasonable for a son to have known how his own mother called her parents. Geneva’s death record, even with the alleged remarriage, collaborates her maiden name. Furthermore, when added to the trail of marital records, supports the developed theory that the second Mrs. Gustave J. Adams was, Geneva Ann (Weaver) (Bolger) (Pearson) Pearson, later Newhouse.

Conclusion

With a slight adjustment to the original query to read “What were the maiden names of the former Mrs. Gustave J. Adams?, we conclude the question can be answered with sustainable proof.  Gustave J. Adam, son of Emil C. Adam, and Maria Link of Detroit, was married and divorced twice before his death in 1944.  The first Mrs. Adam was Bessie McCann, daughter of McClellan McCann, and Anne McDyer.  The second Mrs. Adam was Geneva Ann Weaver, daughter of Wentworth Weaver and Caroline Ledgrow. The key sources, Gustave’s two marriage records, identify his wives. One directly by name, and the other implied. All of the sources, including the corresponding divorce decrees, the death records, and the census records confirming this decision.  There is no direct, indirect or negative evidence incompatible with the conclusion.

Footnotes

[1] Michigan Department of Health, certificate of death no. 323822 (1944), Gustave J. Adam; Michigan Vital Records Office, Lansing.

[2] Greenlawn Cemetery (Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan), Adam family marker, section 14, lot 235, personally read, 2006. Michigan, cert. of death no. 323822 (1944), Adam.

[3] “Michigan Births, 1867-1902,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6PS4-X11 : accessed 2 March 2017), Wayne County return of births, August Adams, 2 May 1887, p. 648, no. 9658; citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing.

[4] Michigan, cert. of death no. 323822 (1944), Adam.

[5] Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1923, Gustave J. Adam-Bessie M. Adam, record no. 84631, 25 April 1921; image, “Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1952,” Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 2 March 2017), image 395; citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing.

[6] Michigan, Divorce Records, 1924-1938, Wayne County Certificates 29,290-33,686, Gustave J. Adam-Bessie M. Adam, state file no. 82 29328, docket no. 148021, 12 October 1929; image, “Michigan, Divorce Records,  1897-1952,” Ancestry (http://ancestry.com : 2 March 2017), image 44; citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing.

[7] Michigan, Divorce Records, 1924-1938, Wayne County Certificates 59,534-63,829, Gustave J. Adams – Geneva A. Adams, state file no. 62458, docket no. 244-529, 19 August 1936; image, “Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1952,” Ancestry (http://ancestry.com : accessed 2 March 2017), image 2930; citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing.

[8] 1910 U.S. census, Wayne County, Michigan, population schedule, Detroit, enumeration district (ED ) 111, p. 1-B (penned), dwelling/family 33, Emil C. Adam household; National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm publication T624, roll 683.

[9] “Michigan Marriages 1868 – 1925,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-D4GQ-ZX : accessed 2 March 2017), image, Gustav J. Adam–Bessie McCann, 8 October 1911, p. 566, no. 80779; citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing.

[10] Wood County, Ohio,  Probate Court, Marriage Records, Gustave J. Adam–Geneva A. Pearson, 12 February 1930; image, “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GT99-5V2 : accessed 2 March 2017); citing Wood County Court House.

[11] “Michigan Marriages 1868-1925,” database with images, FamilySearch, Adam – McCann.

[12]  Michigan, Divorce Records, 1924-1938, Wayne Co. Cert., Adam-Adam, no. 82 29328, 1929.

[13] Wood Co., OH, Marriage Records, Adam–Pearson, 1930.

[14] Michigan, Divorce Records, 1924-1938, Wayne Co. Cert., Adams-Adams, no. 62458, 1936.

[15]“Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950,” database with images, Ancestry (http://ancestry.com : accessed 2 March 2017), image, Bessie Adams, 27 October 1937, no. 231225; citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing. “Obituary, Mrs. Bessie Adams,” Detroit Free Press, 29 October 1937, HTML edition, archived (https://freep.newspapers.com : 2 March 2017), p. 27, col. 8.

[16] [Statewide registration for births in Kentucky did not begin until 1911.  County based birth records (1852-1910) are sporadic at best. A search of records returned no entries of interest.] “Kentucky Births and Christening, 1839-1950,” database, FamilySearch (http:www.familysearch.org : accessed 2 March 2017), search results.

[17] “Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950,” Ancestry, cert. image, Adams, 1937, no. 231225.

[18] 1940 U.S. census, Wexford County, Michigan, population schedule, Cadillac, enumeration district (ED) 83-8, p. 6-B (penned), household 124, George J. Adams; NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 1838. “Obituary, Mrs. Bessie Adams,” p. 27, col. 8.

[19] “Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950,” Ancestry, cert image, Adams, 1937, no. 231225.

[20] “Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1964,” database with images, Ancestry (http://ancestry.com : accessed 2 March 2017), certificate image, McClellan, 19 July 1919, no. 21334; citing Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Frankfort; “Kentucky, Vital Statistics Original Death Certificates (1919-1964),” microfilm 7016221.

[21] 1910 U.S. census, Jefferson County, Kentucky, population schedule, Louisville, enumeration district (ED ) 113, sheet 15-A (penned), dwelling 295, family 324, McClellan McClann household; NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 485.

[22] Williams & Co., compiler, Covington & Newport Directory (Cincinnati : Williams Directory Co., 1897), 319; citing, images, “U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995,” Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2 March 2017), image 170.

[23]  Williams & Co., compiler, Hamilton Directory 1902-1903 (Cincinnati : Williams Directory Co., 1902), 234; also subsequent years by same title: (1904) 267, (1905) 275, (1907) 318; citing, images, “U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995,” Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2 March 2017). [McCann, McClellan and Mrs. Anna.]

[24] Williams, Hamilton Directory, for (1904) 267. [McCann, McClellan (Anna), Edith, Katie. 623 Heaton.]

[25] “Obituary, Mrs. Bessie Adams,” p. 27, col. 8. [1907 listed in directory as Edith McCann.]

[26] 1920 U.S. census, Wayne County, Michigan, population schedule, Detroit, enumeration district (ED ) 243, p. 3-B (penned), dwellings 54-55, families 74-75, Chester Case and Augustus Adams [Gustave Adam] households; NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 808. [Augustus possible corruption by enumerator. The error of Gus’ mother’s birth place can be discounted.]

[27] 1910 U.S. census, Montgomery County, Ohio, population schedule, Dayton, enumeration district (ED ) 64, sheet 5-B (penned), dwelling 113, family 117, Chester H. Case household; NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1216. [George Berry, age 3, born Ohio. George listed his name as George Berry Adams on his marriage application.] “Florida Marriages, 1830-1993,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKH4-N1TG : 2 March 2017), image, George Berry Adams – Lillian Ruth Busby, 27 December 1930.

[28] “Florida Marriages, 1830-1993,” database with images, FamilySearch, image, Adams – Busby, 1930.  “St. Petersburg Time,” Florida, GenealogyBank (http://genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obitOFF3742878A24722 : 5 March 2017), Lt. Col. George J. Adams.

[29] “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” database with images, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X67N-4P8 : 2 March 2017), image, Geo. McCann, 12 February 1906. [Birth marked illegitimate. Father listed as Geo. McCann. No mother listed.]

[30] Williams, Hamilton Directory, for (1905) 275, and (1907) 318. [1905: McCann, Edith and Katie, of 742 S. 13th and in 1907: McCann, Bertha, Edith and Katie, of 742. S. 13th.]

[31]  “Adam – Gus J.,” death notice, Sunday Detroit News, 18 June 1944, part 1, page 12, col. 8. [Copy of newspaper page in authors file.]

[32] “United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images, FamilySearch, (https://familysearch.org/ark:61903/3:1:33S7-818M-HS1 : accessed 2 March 2017), card for Gustave J. Adams; citing Detroit City no. 1, Michigan, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C. : National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,675,135.

[33] Tremayne Young, National Personnel Records Center, to Juli Anderson, letter, 15 November 2011, military record request for Gustave J. Adam; Personal Correspondence, 2011; Adam Family, Anderson Research Files; privately held by Anderson, Wilmington, North Carolina. [The fire on 12 July 1973 at the Archives destroyed the portion of the Army military records for the period 1912-1959, which included Gustave’s file.]

[34] “Michigan Births, 1867-1902,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DB5S-RZD : accessed 2 March 2017), Clare County, image, Geneviva Ann Weaver, 12 June 1892, no. 98; citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing.

[35] 1900 U.S. census, Clare County, Michigan, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 30, sheet 9-A (penned), dwelling 194, family 197, Wentworth Weaver household; NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 707. [“Eava.”]

[36] 1910 U.S. census, Saginaw County, Michigan, population schedule, Saginaw, enumeration district (ED ) 70, sheet 10-B (penned), dwelling/family 154, Wentworth Weaver household; NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 672. “Michigan Marriages 1868-1925,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6S5S-B49: accessed 2 March 2017), image, Willie C. Dunlap-Caroline Weaver, 11 November 1914, p. 73-100, no. 21684; citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing. “Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950,” database with images, Ancestry (http://ancestry.com : accessed 2 March 2017), image, Went Weaver, 15 October 1911, [no apparent state number]; citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing.

[37] Wood Co., OH, Marriage Records, Adam– Pearson, 12 February 1930.

[38] Jennifer Feehan, “Legendary Teamsters boss was wed in Bowling Green,” The (Toledo) Blade, 25 May 2006, HTML edition, archived (http://www.toledoblade.com/frontpage/2006/05/25/legendary_teamsters_boss_was_wed_in_bowling-green.html : accessed 18 March 2017), paras. 9, 11; citing print edition, p.1. “Lolita Thayer Guthrie,” Ohio Genealogical Society, OGSblog, 14 September 2015 (http://www.ogs.blog.org/2015_09_01.archive.html : accessed 18 March 2017), para. 8.

[39] “Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1801-1928, 1933-1934,” database with images, Ancestry (https://ancestry.com : accessed 2 March 2017), image, Bolger-Weaver, 5 April 1911, no. 024691; citing Archives of Ontario Toronto.

[40] Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1923, Geneva A. Bolger – Dinnis Bolger, record number 79277, granted 15 October 1920; image, “Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1952,” Ancestry (http//ancestry.com : accessed 2 March 2017), image 408; citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing.

[41] “Michigan Marriages 1868-1925,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-67Q9-DKC: accessed 2 March 2017), image, Earl J. Pearson–Geneva A. Bolger, 23 December 1920, p. 658, no. 207474; citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing.

[42] Michigan, Divorce Records, 1924-1938, Geneva A. Pearson–Earl J. Pearson, record number 82-21789, docket 155601, granted 25 July 1928; image, “Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1952,” Ancestry (http//ancestry.com : accessed 2 March 2017), image 1243; citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing. [Earl N. Pearson, 4 years.] “Michigan, Divorce Records, 1924-1938,” Geneva A. Pearson – Earl J. Pearson, record number 82-30777, docket 175116, granted 31 December 1929; image, “Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1952,” Ancestry (http//ancestry.com : accessed 2 March 2017), image 1492; citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing. [Earl N. Pearson, 6 years.]

[43] “Michigan Marriages 1867-1952,” database with images, Ancestry, (http://ancestry.com : accessed 2 March 2017), image, Earl J. Pearson-Geneva A. Pearson, 9 February 1929, no. 82-52162; citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing.

[44] State of Florida, certificate of death no. 108980 (1988), Geneva A. Newhouse; Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics, Jacksonville.



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