Monday, February 29, 2016
LEAP DAY AND FINDING JESS
Today is Leap Day -- February 29th -- which happens only once every four years. My Grandpa Charlie's half brother Uncle Joe (Gary) was born on Leap Day in 1912. If he was still alive, he would have been 104 today but only would have celebrated 26 birthdays.
Four years ago, (wow, have I really been writing this blog that long?) when I wrote about Uncle Joe on this blog, I mentioned that I had very little information on his wife Jessica, who we actually knew as Aunt Jess. However, just recently I found more information on her.
First, I found her in the California Death Index. She did outlive Uncle Joe and I do remember her living in Glendale, California so I was sure that this was her. The death record gave her birth date as 18 Oct 1890 which meant she was 22 years older than Joe. She did always seem a lot older than him. It said that she was born in Kansas (new information) and that her death date was 7 Sep 1979 (which seemed right).
I then found Joseph Gary (her husband) in the California, County Marriages records. According to the record, Joseph Gary married Jessica G. Ray on 5 Oct 1941 at the Wedding Manor on Western Avenue in Los Angeles. Joseph was listed as living with my Grandpa Charlie and his family in the US 1940 census. So "Ray" was either Jessica's maiden name or married name from a previous marriage. The marriage record did not include the marital status of Jessica. Also listed on the record were the names of Jessica's parents -- Harry E. Williams and Minnie Denney.
I also found Jessica Gertrude Ray in the 1940 US census. At that time she was 49 years old and her marital status was divorced. Researching her mother (Minnie Denney), I found that Jessica had 5 siblings (which was big news to me because I had never heard of any relatives of hers). She had an older brother Franklin, 2 younger brothers - Roger and Archie and 2 younger sisters -- Clara and Helen. So, I found out a lot more that I had known previously. Now I wonder how much of this information did my parents and grandparents know.
Well, back to Leap Day -- according to an Irish legend this is the day that allows women to propose to men. I wonder if a lot of this is happening in Ireland today.
Happy Leap Day!