That’s a terrible title isn’t it? But man, I don’t know what else to call it. I’m really hoping that the records aren’t telling me what I think they are telling me. Please, be the judge. Find my mistakes, point them out. Help me disprove my own position.
So here goes.
In May of 2015 I shared that diagram up there and wrote, among other things, “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.”
At the time that I wrote that, I was operating under one rather large assumption – that Rosey was gay. Why did I think that? Well, my Grandma knew Rosey. She describes her as a gay barber. I know that isn’t definitive, but relying on that piece of information allowed me to consider a better conclusion than incest.
So what was the conclusion I was considering when I wrote the post mentioning their possible marriage? Because he had never married previously and she was, in my Grandma’s estimation, gay, I wondered if they legally married so that he could more easily leave his property to her. They were both living in a country other than the ones in which they were born. No one knew their family. Could Uncle have married Niece for the simple purpose of keeping property in the family?
In the intervening months I have learned more about each of them. But let’s start at the beginning. This handwritten note is just one section of an outline created by Vera Duval in the 1960s. Vera is my great grandaunt. She is the daughter of Alice Hyde Duval. She personally knew all of the people at the center of this post. In the first section she names her aunt, Rosey as having 3 last names – Hyde, Kingham, Carlson. In the third section she writes:
“Robert Hyde the II [Vera is only indicating that he is the second known Robert Hyde in the family, she does this often. Robert’s parents are Henry and Sarah] – 1st husband of Rose Hyde – Born – England – Died – Vancouver, Wash. – about yr 1926 – 75 years of age – old age. Henry – Arthur – Robert – Brothers – orig – 5 bros – Eng – Louie & John – 1 sister Letitia died at 16 – Eng…”
In the entirety of this document I have so far only proven things to be correct, or very nearly correct, as I have looked for sources. There are plenty of things that seem suspect, like the millionaire bachelor that owned diamond mines, but the things I have researched from this document have been mostly accurate with just slight variations from what Vera wrote. When I first read the section about Robert Hyde being married to his niece Rosey I thought that I was definitely misunderstanding, that couldn’t be what Vera meant. Here are the records I have found.
Robert Hyde was born 18 July 1861 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England to Henry Hyde and Sarah Marsden.
In 1871 Robert is found living with his parents Henry & Sarah and his siblings Ann, John, and Arthur. His oldest brother Henry, the father of Rosey, is already out of the home.
This birth record is for a daughter born to Henry Hyde and Ann Whiteley on 7 November 1884 in Golden, BC. Vera listed Rosey’s birthdate as 14 October 1883 in Golden, BC. I can’t find a birth record that matches the date Vera gave. Ann died 3 days after this child was born. Henry was gone for work and came home to find his wife had given birth to a daughter and then died. He packed up his two (possibly three) girls and went back to England. He married his deceased wife Ann’s younger sister Alice in January of 1885. [This union makes everything more confusing because his older daughter is also named Alice.] He leaves Rosey with his parents in England and then Henry, Alice, and Alice head back to Canada and eventually settle in Alaska.
In 1891 Rosey can be found living with her grandparents, Henry & Sarah, in Sheffield. Also in the household are Rosey’s Uncle Arthur and his 1st wife Mary with their daughter Ann, and Rosey’s Uncle Louis.
What follows next is a quiet period. I know that Rosey leaves England, possibly with her Uncle Arthur as they are both found near Henry & Alice in later years. Robert also heads west but I have not yet found any travel or immigration records for Robert, Rosey, or Arthur. There is a 1900 Census record in Nome, Alaska for a ‘Miss Hyde’ that could be Rosey. Unfortunately, the record only lists her name, no age or birthplace.
Rose Elvera Hyde is born 6 April 1908 to Robert Hyde & Rose Hind in Clark, Washington. As later records will prove, Rose Hind is Rosey Hyde. No marriage record for Robert & Rosey has been found.
On 19 April 1914, Rosey Hyde married Harry Kingham. She is listed as a spinster which doesn’t jive with the note written by Vera stating that Robert was Rosey’s 1st husband.
In 1920, Robert Hyde is found living in Bush Prairie, Clark, Washington with his sister-in-law Alice Whiteley Hyde. At this point Alice has already been married to Henry & Arthur, Robert’s brothers. On this census they are both listed as married but she is listed as his sister, not his wife. Alice was most recently married to Arthur who died in 1919. No marriage records have been found for Robert.
On 4 July 1927, Rose Elvera Hyde married Peter Williamson in Vancouver, BC. Importantly, she lists her parents as Robert Hyde born in England, and Rose Hyde born in Golden, BC.
On 8 July 1928, Robert Hyde died in Orchards, Clark, Washington. His parents are listed as Henry Hyde & Sarah. His birth date is listed as 7 July 1858 – which does not match our Robert. He is listed as divorced with his former spouse being Rose (Kingham) Hyde. The informant on the death record is Robert’s sister-in-law Alice Whiteley Hyde (Rosey’s aunt) who was living in his home in 1920.
The birth date difference gave me a glimmer of hope that maybe the Robert who married Rosey and lived with Alice was not their Uncle and brother-in-law. I scoured FindMyPast, Ancestry, and FamilySearch looking for a Robert Hyde with the birthdate found on this death record. But alas, the only Robert Hyde near this birth year who could match the man in this death record is the Robert Hyde born to Henry Hyde & Sarah Marsden.
On 27 March 1937, Rose Kingham married Neil Carlson in Whatcom, Washington.
On 9 August 1945, Rose Elvera Hyde Williamson entered the US to visit her sister Norma ?rance who was living in Mt. Vernon, Washington. Rose Elvera lists her birthplace as Washougall, Wash and her birthdate as April ? 1908. Washougal is in Clark County, and her birthdate is 6 April 1908, so this is a match to her birth record. But who is Norma? Are they full sisters or half-sisters? I haven’t found any other mention of Norma so far.
On 1 March 1970, Rosey Carlson died in Delta, BC. The informant is her daughter Elvera Williamson. Rosey is listed as a widow. Her parents are listed as Henry Hyde & Ann Whitley, both born in England. Her birth is listed as 14 October 1883 in Golden, BC. This birthdate matches the handwritten note by her niece Vera Duval, but not the birth record I found in 1884. [Does this mean Henry & Ann had 3 girls, not 2? I’m still not sure.]
So, were the Robert Hyde & Rosey Hyde, who were the parents of Rose Elvera Hyde Williamson, uncle & niece?
I keep reviewing the records hoping to see a different explanation. I can’t find one.
I hope so.
30 thoughts on “Incest?”
It sure sounds like your reasoning is correct. And so Robert and Rose had a child, Rosey, meaning it wasn’t just a marriage for inheritance or convenience. The whole family seemed to be quite “close”—Alice living with the the three different brothers over time. As for the inconsistent dates on the records, I see that all too often. I assume Alice had Robert’s birth date wrong (maybe it was one of the other brother’s?). What a mess! Good work!
Yes, I’m guessing she just had it wrong. It’s not anyone else’s birthdate in the family so I’m not sure where the other date came from. Yes, definitely a mess! Thank you Amy.
Thought provoking. In earlier generations it was very common for adult brothers and sisters to form a household.
Thank you Janet. 🙂
I have to say it does look like you’re correct in your analysis. Is it possible that Rose was pregnant before the marriage to Robert? Could he have married her to protect her and the baby? I have found a couple odd relationships in my research. One ended up being a brother who married his recently divorced sister-in-law who had a baby that was evidently fathered by her former husband but claimed and raised by the brother who married her after the divorce. There were also first cousins who married and had a large family. The difference in dates is not that unusual, I have several people who had different birth dates and finally settled for the one on the tombstone as the correct one when no other adequate documentation was available. Is it possible that Rose Hind is really Rose Hind and not Hyde? It is also very possible that Robert Hyde is not the one you think he is. I don’t know if there will be documentation to find. I have noticed that for a period when you’d think the records would be more accurate and complete (after 1900) they’re not. I’ve had more problems finding records of people born between 1900 and 1940 than anything before that date spread. I suspect it is exactly as you’ve worked it out. Best of luck with this confounding puzzle.
Thank you. I have wondered if Rosey was pregnant and married Robert so her child had a father but they were in the extreme West – there didn’t seem to be nearly as much stigma about illegitimacy there. But you are correct – it would be nearly impossible to prove, unless I find some living descendants. I did consider the Rose Hind/Rosey Hyde thing – but then the records following (Rose Elvera Hyde’s marriage and Rosey’s death) support Rosey Hyde not some other woman. I agree it’s entirely possible that Robert Hyde is a different Robert Hyde – but then why would his sister-in-law Alice list his parents as Henry Hyde & Sarah? If anyone would know for sure that he was the brother of Henry & Arthur – it would be her since she was married to two of them and lived with the third one. The only record that might shed additional light (that I know exists) is the homestead paperwork for a homestead started by Henry Hyde (Rosey’s father) and completed by his second wife Alice Whiteley Hyde and his brother Arthur Hyde. Henry died in 1907 and Rosey’s daughter was born the next year. If she was living on the homestead while it was being completed, the paperwork might mention something about her.
There are two additional theories I have considered. 1 – If Rosey was the “Miss Hyde” living in Nome, Alaska in 1900, why was she there? There were very few women there. Nome was the next big gold mining town when Dawson ran out of gold. Usually the women in those towns were either daughters of ministers/preachers/missionaries, or they were prostitutes. Was Rosey a prostitute who found herself pregnant and listed her Uncle as the father on the birth record? And 2 – What if Henry Hyde (Rosey’s father) wasn’t really the brother of Arthur and Robert? Henry isn’t found in his parent’s household on a census record. He is found with his father’s mother on one. His first marriage record ties him to his parents but that’s it. What if we have it wrong? But then again, no other solution makes sense for his parents so could we have really gotten that wrong?!
I really want a different explanation for the parentage of Rose Elvera Hyde. But, maybe there isn’t one…
There’s just so much that either is lost or unknown and the people who did know are gone now so can’t be asked or didn’t leave any written records. That area too seems to be a problem inducing spot for a couple other people I know working on their family history. There always seem to be more questions than answers with something like this. I have a few of my own about the spouse’s family which are maddening and there just isn’t any kind of record available. It got to 1940 and it seems like everyone just turned invisible, I know part of it is that the records are too recent but some of it too is that people started to move to warmer areas as they aged instead of staying in the general area the family was in. It’s a pretty puzzle you’ve got, but maybe something will turn up to shed some light on what was really going on.
Thank you, I hope so! If nothing else, at least I know more know than when I first read the handwritten note by Vera. I’m making progress even if I have more questions than when I started. 🙂
Wow! What a tangled web of conflicting info you have. I’ve read it twice now and I think you’ve covered all the scenarios I can think of. Your research seems very thorough and I think the players are who you think they are, but their relationships may not be quite as straightforward. I think you’ve made a couple of compelling alternative hypotheses to incest, but there is probably no way to actually tell. Where’s that time machine when you need it?
Thank you Su. Yes, a time machine would be sooooo helpful. That is, if everyone would tell the truth. 😉
Hm, I guess that’s true. But equally, if you can have a time-machine, you can have truth serum too. After all, we may as well think big!
Excellent point! Let’s set all of the parameters. 😉
I remember that flow chart!! It seems like your analysis is right on. The biggest sore thumb I noticed was – who is Norma?
Exactly! Who is Norma? I tried a few things and haven’t tracked her down. One thing about this family that is particularly hard is that they moved around a lot between Alaska, BC, Washington State, Oregon, and California. Most of them missed the 1910 and 1911 Census – in the US in 1911, in Canada in 1910. The ones that were married or born in Alaska are especially hard – no records. I’m wondering if Norma was born in Alaska…? But who is her dad? Hyde, Carlson, or Kingham? I need to spend some more time searching with every possibility.
This is a long shot, here in Scotland I have filled gaps in the 1918-1940 using school admission records, for contact purposes they noted the responsible parent,their occupation (though why that was needed I do not know) and an address.
Interesting! How did you go about tracking down school admission records? Did you have to contact the school itself? Thanks for stopping by and sharing an idea Hazel! 🙂
In my case they were held by the local authority archives but as I said this was in Scotland
Good to know, thank you. A huge chunk of my tree is Scottish. 🙂
My 2x grandparents were uncle and niece. It took me forever to work that one out. And he had lived with her parents most of his life. No doubt held her as an infant. Ewww! But no records in 1862/3 in Wisconsin so don’t know if they were really married or not. His probate calls her wife. She left their kids with her mother and brother, married and moved to S.D. She is not my favorite ancestor. I don’t want to judge her; times were different then, but it still creeps in.
Oh! That is difficult. I’m sorry. The fact that she left her children and moved makes me wonder about abuse. Did she choose to be with him? I understand why she was not your favorite. It can be hard when an ancestor made choices that we are not okay with. Thanks for topping by, Toni. And chin up! 🙂
He was very, very dead when she remarried and dumped the kids.
Yes, but it made me wonder if the relationship wasn’t healthy and his death freed her from something and gave her the courage to leave…?
No matter what was really going on, I am sorry for the pain you have felt because of all of it. Hugs to you!
I suspect husband #2 didn’t want someone else’s kids. They were 4 and 6 when she remarried. She’d been a widow for 2 years. All her family lived near by so I don’t think abuse was an issue. She could have followed her mother’s lead and left him if there were issues. Her grandmother left her husband also. The next generation -her children- died very young but my grandmother kicked my grandfather out. It runs in the family. I’ve been happily divorced for over 40 years.
No pain here. Just wonderment. And trying to remember that times were different then. Everyone apparently kept in touch. Everyone has a dysfunctional branch in their family.
So true! Always a dysfunctional branch or two in each tree. I’m glad it’s not painful for you. 🙂