ancestor story

A Marrying Mess

Whiteley - Hyde

I’ve been failing at my goal to post each week.  I think it’s been about a month since my last post so I thought I’d try to make up for that with a bit of genealogical entertainment straight from my tree.  Welcome to the Whiteley and Hyde families Marrying Mess, complete with hand drawn flow chart – a good use of coloring time with my 3 year old.

Henry Hyde and Ann Whiteley are my 3rd great grandparents.  They married in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England in 1873 and moved to Canada.  Eleven years later, Ann died leaving Henry with two (possibly three) young girls to care for.  Ann died in November and Henry returned to England and married Ann’s sister Alice Whiteley in January.  He left his infant daughter Rosey with his parents and took his daughter Alice, his new bride Alice, and moved to Alaska.

Henry and Alice spent 22 years together before his death in 1907 in Alaska.  About two years after his demise, Alice married Henry’s brother Arthur.  Alice and Arthur spent about 10 years together before his death in 1919.

All of this I knew.  And I had known it for sometime.  But just last week I made some new discoveries that make this story even more interesting – and matrimonially messy.

After Arthur died, Alice lived with his brother Robert.  I’m not sure how long they lived together or what the nature of their relationship was, but in the 1920 census they are living together in Brush Prarie, Clark, Washington.

Sometime between the 1920 census and Robert’s death in 1928, it appears he may have married his niece Rosey Hyde – his first known marriage and her second of three.  Hmmmmm.  That is a story worthy of its own post.

Meanwhile back in England, Ann and Alice’s mother Eliza died leaving their father George Whiteley a widower.  George married Martha Marsden, his sons-in-law’s mother’s sister – his second marriage, her third.

And for just a dash of extra spice, Arthur was married in England with four children prior to his arrival in Alaska.  I don’t know what happened to his wife, but his children are alive and well and living with neighbors after he leaves England.  I have a theory about this.  But that is also a story for another day.

And there you have it – the Whiteley and Hyde families Marrying Mess – and what a beautiful mess it is!

Do you have any families in your tree that had multiple matrimonial connections?

19 thoughts on “A Marrying Mess”

  1. Did the family live in a very small community or very remote location? Was there property amongst them that they wanted to consolidate? These are some of the questions that come to mind when I read about these kinds of patterns. Were there any social pressures for a widow or widower to get remarried as soon as possible?

    I can understand this last possibility when there are small children involved. In my family I’m learning about a situation something like Henry’s but slightly different in the choice of the second wife.

    My maternal Great-Great Grandfather Sabato had three children spanning from age 9 through age 3 when his first wife died. He was 36 years old. The deceased wife was Fiilomena Ruocco. About 6 months later he married Antonia Ruocco who was just 20 years old. Antonia was not directly related to Filomena but we think Sabato felt comfortable with the larger Ruocco family grouping. They all came from a small town that was some distance from the inland towns. We see this several times in our family. The men remarry quickly when there are children. If they are older and their children are grown widows or widowers sometimes observe 1-2 years of mourning before marrying again.

    I think the social influences didn’t give people much choice. Marriage was the accepted state of life.

    1. Hi EmilyAnn! Henry Hyde was the only one with children and traveled back to England and remarried immediately. Quite a trip from Golden, BC to Sheffield, England for a wife. The other marriages seemed to occur for a variety of reasons. Alice marrying Arthur probably had a lot to do with convenience and the need for support. She was completing a homestead in Fairbanks, Alaska with Henry when he died. She went on to complete it with Arthur’s help. I think the marriage between Rosey and Robert was about property. George and Martha were older when they married – probably about companionship. It sure makes for an interesting state of relationships!

  2. Wow. At least not all those marriages produced offspring, or you’d end up with quite a puzzle figuring out whether siblings were double or triple cousins!

  3. Amazing story! I have many marriages between branches of my tree, as well as sets of brothers marrying sisters (from different families) – but nothing quite like this! I can’t image how you could figure out the cousin relationship between them all!

  4. Oh I loved it! I have a similar family group problem. I can invision it in my head but really need to draw up a flow chart similar to yours to help my readers understand what I’m thinking and writing about.

  5. I am slightly surprised by the uncle and niece marrying. I wonder if they had to get a dispensation from someone. That seems to be crossing the line of propriety. 🙂 love to read your “post for another day.”

  6. Wow, and double wow. This is soap-opera material. I guess that marrying extended family members is probably not that uncommon, yet although I’ve traced most of the members of my tree so far to the same quite small area in Fife, Scotland, I have yet to find any evidence of this kind of intermarriage.

  7. Entertaining post! I think you did an excellent job of untangling the whole “mess”! I too have a couple of sets of brothers marrying sets of sisters. The only one I’ve found where a widower married his sister in-law did make me think about how it came about. At first I thought about it with our current mindset and stuff we see on TV. Were they sneaking around and then the sister died and they could be together. Doubtful. They were probably thrown together a lot and it was mutually beneficial.

Leave a Reply to londoncab53Cancel reply