This is week 12 of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of us blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year. To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.
I have been busy spying on my ancestors. The Michigan Archives has released marriage, divorce, and death records up to 1952. Week 11 of 52 Ancestors I wrote about the three divorces of my Great Uncle Eddy (Budny). Curious as a cat, I pried in to the lives of two generations of my aunts and uncles.
I remember the story of my grandmother sisters trying to find two sisters given up for adoption. To bring them back to the fold. My great grandmother Minnie White lost her husband, Ernest Anderson in 1925. She remarried to a William O’Neil in 1926. There were five children still at home when Ernest died. The oldest daughter, Vietta, was married already. The six and youngest Betty Jane, was born just after her father’s death.
William and Minnie’s marriage did not last long. I have a feeling the relationship was not harmonious. As a laborer at Consumers Power, William may not have had the income to support the family. Some of the older girls get married. My grandmother, Edith, who was 13 in 1930, was sent to live with one of Minnie’s sisters in Detroit. As of the 1930 Census, Lucille, Betty Jane, and William and Minnie’s daughter, Rosetta O’Neil reside at 609 North Jefferson Street in Bay City, Michigan.
The family story goes on to say that Arthur left for California and the family never heard from him again. So what did happen to Arthur? A person of the same name does end up in California. The 1931 city directory for Bay City, MI; shows an Arthur Anderson at 509 Ketchum St. Arthur is not listed at that address on the 1930 Census. A few blocks away at 1615 N. Sheridan Street lists Ruth Pettit as a clerk at Woolworth’s.
Michigan marriage records for Bay County provide the next clue in Arthur’s life. The license application states Arthur A. Anderson, 22, single, never been married before, and is a bus driver. His parents are Ernest and Minnie White. Ruth Pettit, 18, born in New Jersey, the daughter of Martin Pettit and Elizabeth Madden, is the bride to be. This license is dated the 10th of January 1931. The marriage takes place on the 19th of January (1931). Incorrectly typed on the certificate is the year 1932.
Not sure if the young couple got caught up in desire and romance when they met as Ruth may have been pregnant at the time of their marriage or given birth just before their wedding date. A short three years later, a divorce decree ends the marriage. Dated October 4, 1933; the absolute decree, lists two children, three year old Ernest Anderson and 1 year old Bonnie Lee Anderson.
The petition was filed by Ruth on January 15, 1933 for non-support. The marriage date is listed at January 19, 1930. A year off the marriage license. Could be an error? Could be someone provided an earlier date to show all the children were born within the marriage. Sometimes the first baby comes before the wedding date.
There is no further listing of Arthur Anderson in the Bay City Directories that I have found. He could be residing elsewhere. A California death record for a similar name, listing the mother’s birth name of “White” could be a clue.
Other than that, the story grows cold for Arthur. And, heats up for Ruth Pettit.
Arthur Arlington Anderson Death record
Event Date: 05 Jun 1986
Event Place: Los Angeles, California, United States
Birth Date: 14 Feb 1909
Mother’s Name: White
Source Citation: “California Death Index, 1940-1997,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VPVM-H8B : accessed 29 March 2015), Arthur Arlington Anderson, 05 Jun 1986; Department of Public Health Services, Sacramento.