The desire to marry off other people
I’ve recently begun dipping my toes into the treacherous waters of matchmaking. Mostly, I want my single friends to marry my single cousins, so they’ll officially be part of the family. I get laughed at a lot. I totally deserve it.
Matchmaking is tricky, and rarely works out. I hate it when people try to set me up on dates, but I find myself doing the same thing.
Yesterday, I spent the afternoon and evening indexing. How to explain indexing…
Okay, you know when you search genealogy sites, and you’ll find a typed record of, say a birth certificate, census, or marriage license? Well, for all but perhaps the past 50 years, these records tended to be hand-written. In big, florid or spiky handwriting that the computer can’t decipher. Some sites pay people to read those names, then type them into a data base. The LDS family history site, FamilySearch.org has people sign up as volunteers to do data entry. This is called indexing. It’s actually quite enjoyable, and highly addictive. You don’t even have to be Mormon to do it. For more information, check out this website.
So, I was indexing a census record from the 1910 census in a small town in Michigan. I noticed that in this particular neighborhood, there was one household that consisted of a 65-year-old widower, and his 26-year-old twin daughters. Next door, lived a 60-year-old widow, and her great-nephew of about 14. Both the widow and the widower were German immigrants, and came to the US at about the same time. And that’s all I know about those two households. I immediately thought that the widow and the widower should get married.
It didn’t take me long to realize how stupid that idea was. First of all, both would have been dead long before my grandparents were born–they were the same generation as my Great-Great Grandparents. I know nothing of what their personalities, their situations, or even their mental status were. This was a small enough community, and in a time and place that I would have been very surprised if they didn’t know one another.
Maybe they did court or date or whatever they called it back in 1910. Maybe they did get married in 1911 or 1912, or even later in the year.
I didn’t write down the names somewhere where I could retrieve them, and I submitted that batch, so I no longer have access to it. I’m not sure I’d want to find out if the romance that played out in my mind actually happened or not.
It would make a wonderful story, though.