March 4th Prompt— Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.
I have a few marriage records in my archives. One courageous grandmother, tops the list. As far as fearless females go, my grandmother Ethel embodied fearless. She may not have described herself that way, but I believe she was. She was also incredibly organized and carefully filed all her documents, having great foresight for this blog prompt! Ethel was born Ethel Girlie Crane Bloomfield in Laconia, New Hampshire, on August 6th, 1921. At the age of twenty-one she married my grandfather Morris Bogdanow and became Ethel Bogdanow.
|Ethel's Engagement Announcement|
from one of the Houston Papers.
(Click to enlarge)
The caption reads:
Mr and Mrs William Bloomfield announce the engagement of their daughter, Ethel, to Morris Bogdanow of Houston, son of Mr and Mrs. A Bogdanow of Jersey City, N.J. The wedding take place in early October. Miss Bloomfield was graduated at Rice Institute and her fiance was graduated from the University of Maryland where he received his B.A. degree, and from the law school of Columbia University.
The wedding took place as promised on October 21, 1942. I recently posted their beautiful wedding picture as part of my Family Tree Wedding Timeline (see the Wedding Photo Challenge post).
|Ethel Bloomfield and Morris Bogdanow Marriage License|
Oct 21, 1942 Houston, Texas (Click to enlarge)
Unfortunately their marriage lasted less than 13 years. Ethel divorced my grandmother Morris in 1955, At thirty three she became a single mother of four small children. Here is where I think the brave part begins. Divorce in the 1940 and 1950s, carried a much greater stigma than today. According to the University of Maryland graph below, the divorce rate has more than tripled since 1955. I'm pretty sure rates were even lower in the Jewish community back then.
|(University of Maryland|
Click to Enlarge)
Four years later, the older and more experienced Ethel—now known by her first husband's name, Ethel Bogdanow—decided to remarry. This second marriage announcement wasn't quite as optimistic as the first, perhaps foreboding of the eventual failure of this second marriage.
Ethel Bogdanow and Irvin Veedell
|Mariage Certificate Ethel Bogdanow and Irvin Veedel|
(Click to enlarge)
Throughout the years my grandmother struggled to support her family. She supplemented her irregular child-support payments with her work as a legal secretary. In 1964, she decided to go back to school. She received a law degree from the South Texas College of Law in 1967. She successfully obtained her degree in three years of night school while working full time and raising four children. Like I said: "Fearless."
A few years laters (November 19th, 1970), my grandmother—ever the hopeful romantic — decided to give the institution of marriage another more chance. This time the now Ethel Veedell, became, became Mrs Fred Alzofon.
Ethel Veedell and Fred Alzofon.
(Click to enlarge)
|Fred and Ethel Alzofon's divorce papers|
(click to enlarge).
Growing up, I was the only kid whose grandmother had been divorced three times. It was a relief when she decided to abandon the idea of marriage and chose not follow Liz Taylor's footsteps. Today, I admire her courage for trying over and over again, as well as her ability to walk away from a bad situation. I may not know the stories of her wedding days, but she certainly left a large paper trail and a heck of a life story!
Visit earlier post in the series:
Women's History Month Day 1: Fearless Females: Favorite Female Ancestor & Genealogy Guru!
Women's History Month Day 2: Fearless Females: Third Great-Grandmother!
Women's History Month Day 3: Fearless Females: The Middle Name That Almost Was
To learn more about +Lisa Alzo's 31 inspirational writing prompts in celebration of Women's History Month visit her blog: The Accidental Genealogist.