If I could post these, perhaps the names and situations would ring a bell with people familiar with local history. There are several paternal relations I'm researching of which mysteries persist. Notably:
1) The Case of the Bigamous Belgian: My 2x-grandfather Jules Joseph Carre, a French-speaking immigrant who married an Irish immigrant named Anna Elizabeth Degnan in Rockford, had two children by 1880, then deserted the family and wound up in the newspapers at some point because he had gone on to marry two other women, one in Green Bay, Wisconsin and one in Belgium. My family refers to him as "the Bigamous Belgian." When eventually exposed and rejected by all three women in 1897, he declared his real surname was "Lequarie" and disappeared. Anna Degnan Carre styled herself as "widowed" for the rest of her life. The story seems to have been carefully ignored by the Rockford papers, possibly because the Degnans were a long-established family of some prominence. Their daughter, Mary Louise Carre, married Charles Arthur Simpson.
2) The Hidden History of Martha J. Simpson: My 2x-great-grandmother Martha J. Simpson, married to Theodore Simpson--they came out as a married couple from Franklin County, Pennsylvania, in the 1880's. We have no idea who she was prior to marriage; no record of their marriage, actually. No maiden surname ever given, nor mention of parents of siblings, even in her brief obituaries. They didn't have any biological children and wound up adopting Charles Arthur Simpson from Ogle County, whom I suspect was also a relative of Theodore's because he had a large family there. After her husband's death, Martha dealt in real estate and ran a boarding establishment on the second floor of a commercial building on Main Street (it's a half-derelict faux Spanish building with a defunct theater now) where my grandfather, Milton Reeder Getz, met her grand-daughter, his eventual second wife, Mary Elizabeth Simpson.
3) The Strange Estrangement Between Milton Reeder Getz and First Wife Margaret Pearl Driver: Margaret grew up poor and neglected and before marrying Milton brought up another man on charges of "bastardy." We never did find out what happened to that child. She and Milton married shortly thereafter, had a son, Donald, and then in 1919 had a daughter, Mildred Berenice. Milton immediately put his son in his stepmother's care in Winnebago and went to live in Martha Simpson's Rockford Boarding establishment. Margaret Pearl sued for spousal support, which the courts denied her for no declared reason the newspapers even got close to mentioning. She wound up living with little Mildred in the Jennie Snow Home for Aged Ladies until 1920 when the couple appeared in court and agreed to give up Mildred for adoption. There happened to be a couple looking to adopt a child at the courthouse who promptly took the baby off the judge's hands (I suspect social-worker collusion). I've traced Mildren to a long life, perhaps never knowing she was adopted. My uncle and aunts--her half siblings--had never heard of her prior to my investigations. Obviously, Milton did not believe that Mildred was his daughter and the courts agreed with him without publicly stating why, but I found no evidence that a divorce was ever requested. Neither Milton nor Margaret appears to have been at all religious. Sometime after the adoption, Margaret Pearl wound up in the state asylum in Dixon and died in 1930 at the age of 34 of pneumonia. She's buried anonymously on the hospital's grounds somewhere. She certainly had a sad life, and someday I'm going to petition an Illinois judge to get her records. Milton, by then age 35, married my grandmother, age 18, within four months of Margaret's death.
--Charmaine Getz, firstname.lastname@example.org