Sunday, November 22, 2015

Icie Caroline Brewer-Gillihan-Meester

My grandmother. What can I say? I loved her but she is a genealogical nightmare. She gave  out misinformation on vital records and, as the eldest daughter, was often the person asked for vital information. She reported information based on saving face and avoiding any "talk". She also gave out information she thought was true, or wanted to be true, without any proof.

Her parents were Icie Caroline Brewer and Henry Newton Gillihan. Icie's parents were Parthena Catherine Massey and Argyle Homer Brewer. Everyone in the family that knows anything about the family, or does any research, knows this. There is a marriage record for both couples and the couples appear on censuses together.

Three documents with misinformation immediately come to mind:

First - my grandmother's own delayed birth certificate. She was born in 1900, at home, and there was no certification required. In 1947 she had the need for a birth certificate and filed for a delayed certificate. Her mother signed it as well. They filled out, and signed, the birth certificate with her mother's current name (2nd husband - Meester) and not the name she had at the time my grandmother was born (first husband - Gillihan).

Second - my grandmother also supplied the information for her mother's death certificate in 1956. She states her other's name as Icie Meester Gillihan. Her parents were divorced and her mother remarried a man with the surname Meester. Her middle name was Caroline, not Meester. Because Henry & Icie found their way back to each other sometime before she died, my grandmother used Gillihan as Icie's surname when it was actually Meester. Modern family holds steady that Henry & Icie never remarried and I haven't been able to find a record either.

Third - on the same Icie Brewer death certificate my grandmother lists her father's name as John Brewer. Who the heck is John Brewer? My grandmother was only two years old when her grandfather died so she couldn't have remembered him by name. His name was Argyle Homer Brewer. Luckily she got her grandmother's given and maiden names correctly on the document.

Fourth - Icie C Brewer-Gillihan and Henry N Gillihan were divorced. My understanding is that Henry was a ladies man and got another woman pregnant outside of his marriage. Since I don't have divorce information for Icie and Henry I cannot prove that. Both remarried. When Icie remarried in 1923 she listed her name as Icie Brewer, it should have been Gillihan, and as a widow. She was divorced, not widowed.
  • Apparently Icie and John Meester were not together very long (per family lore) but I've never been able to find a record of their divorce.
  • Icie used the Meester surname despite not being with, or possibly divorcing, Mr. Meester.
  • Family lore is that Henry Gillihan returned to Icie and nursed her through her illness, and ultimately, her death.
  • The couple is buried together as Henry & Icie Gillihan although there is nothing to indicate they remarried.

Marriage Certificate for Henry Newton Gillihan & Icie Caroline Brewer

Headstone for Henry & Icie

Icie Brewer from Brewer family photo

 Marriage record for Icie Brewer-Gillihan & John Meester
Death certificate for Icie Meester

Delayed birth certificate for my grandmother

Genealogy Roadshow Update

I heard back! A couple of days ago I received an e-mail saying that I had not been chosen.

I was feeling badly about not posting more often but then it dawned on me that I created this as a genealogy blog but mostly to chronicle dead ends. How much activity does one expect on brick walls anyway? So now I feel better knowing that I will only be posting when there is something to say regarding my dead ends/brick walls.