Once again I'm looking at one of the side branches of my family tree and comparing a family tree drawn up on January 1990 to the events and records I can locate online in 2015. You may recall that in the "Extra Children of a Bigger Mystery - Part 1" I was also using a hand drawn family tree as a guide post in figuring out those collateral branches. Both of these hand drawn trees appear to have been created by the same person.
|Hand-drawn Family Tree for Martin m. Innes (created Jan 1990)|
The side branch I am look at this past week is that of Robert Martin and Carrie Young. As with the other tree a number of the names listed are nicknames or abbreviations. For examine, Carrie Young's full name is Caroline Elizabeth Young. Some names have provided interesting challenges. The marriage of Kathleen to a "Cowhut" was a curious one. She actually married Alex Coward but since she disliked that surname and on the connotations surrounding it she always went by the married surname of "Cowaret"1.
Cowhut ... Cowaret ... Coward
When said out loud I can see the connection. Yet that isn't the one name that has had me been baffled. At least some of her life had been documented and recorded. The name that has provides some challenge is that of 'Cap' West, the husband of Grace Martin
Since I have the tree on Ancestry that is the place I started looking. I have no problems with looking at the various public family trees on Ancestry. I just don't trust any of them and the conclusions that have been made by others. Like the hand drawn tree above I make use of the public trees on Ancestry and elsewhere as guide posts and clues. But I don't ever link those people or trees into my tree. I look, read the source records, analyze the information, then make a judgment call to include or exclude based on what I have previously found.
Just a quick note before we go any further. I am skipping some of the explanations of how and why I find some of the records. Sometimes the route to locate a given record can be a strange or even circuitous one where I look at a number of records at once and that provides the clues to get to the key record I mention.
One record that I came across in several trees was that of a "Grace Olive Walsh nee Martin (Vandenbergh former married name)" dated 23 Sep 1938. This was found in the "Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956" collection on Ancestry.
There were several interesting statements recorded on this record:
- She had been denied admission into Canada
- She last resided at 1913 E Pine Street in Seattle, King County, Washington, USA
- Her destination has been her mother Mrs. C. E. Martin, 204 18th Street, North Vancouver, British Columbia
Some interesting tidbits are recorded (other than having two highballs before getting on stage last night):
- She has a daughter Dorothy that is residing with Grace's mother
- She lives with her brother Arthur R Martin in Seattle
- She claims US citizenship by way of her marriage on 8-16-16 to Caspard Letrio Vendenberg in San Mateo
- She claims US citizenship by way of her marriage on 10-18-32 to Thos Wash at Seattle
- She claims US citizenship by birth
Note, there is no mention of a 'Cap' West. But Caspard does start with 'Cap', could that have been a nickname? Can we find her marriage to Caspard? Nothing found in California using the various California collections on Ancestry and Familysearch. However, since I do know she was residing in British Columbia for the 1911 census of Canada could she have married there or in Washington State. Nothing was found in British Columbia but the Digital Archives of the Washington State Archives did have a possible match. A search for Caspard and Martin on their site returned back only one match. That of a marriage between Caspard Van and Olive Martin. Yet that marriage is recorded as taking place in 1912 not 1916. Fortunately for me the entry also had a marriage certificate I could view and unlike many of the later certificates this had information on the parents.
|Washington State Archives, "Marriage Records," database, Washington State Archives - Digital Archives (http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/ : accessed 3 Feb 2015), entry for Carpard Van and Olive Martin, married 16 Jun 1912.|
This appears to be the right person. Olive Martin, the daughter of R. W. Martin and Caroline Young. But his name is listed as Caspard Van and the place and date of marriage is way off. Yet she may have been nervous or just couldn't recall the date and place of her first marriage.
Take a look at his profession ... yup, an actor. Of course we've never heard of people have a stage name or changing their names have we? How about Issur Danielovitch3 or Ramon Antonio Gerardo Estevez4 for example? Could that be an explanation of the 'Cap' West name? Easier in the business than explaining time and again how to spell his birth name?
Another search, this time for any Thomas Walsh marriages in Washington State, returned a marriage certificate for Thomas F Walsh and Grace Van den Bergh. They were married on 16 Oct 1933.
Although the information recorded doesn't include her parents names and the year and day of the marriage is off it seems like this is Grace's second marriage.
|Washington State Archives, "Marriage Records," database, Washington State Archives - Digital Archives (http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/ : accessed 3 Feb 2015), entry for Thomas F Walsh and Grace Van den Bergh, married 16 Oct 1933.|
But still no closer to figuring out this 'Cap' West. But it does seem that Caspard Van is the same person as Caspard van Den Bergh. I do however find a few mentions of Caspard in the San Francisco Chronicle when on 24 Sep 1930 Grace O. Van Denburgh files a divorce suit against Caspard L.5 and then on 10 Nov 1930 the divorce is granted in "Van den Burgh - Grace O. vs. Caspard O."6
There were two other clues I can use besides the marriage to Grace. They had at least two children, Dodie and Marjory. Maybe they will provide me with some clues. In the 1921 census of Canada there is a Dorothy Van and Margory Van listed as lodgers living in the same household as the widow Caroline Martin. I also find Dorothy and Margory Van heading up to Alaska. Could these be the same children as mentioned in the family tree chart?
In glancing at the various family trees on Ancestry I came across a funeral home record for Marjory/Margory. That record indicated that she was married to Glenn Willard (he's another one that caused me some grief with his names and this time an obituary provided both of his names) and her parents were Casper Van Den Burgh and Grace Martin7. That looks like a match. But does it get us any closer to this 'Cap' West person?
In the 1930 federal census of the United States there is a Grace O., Dorothy M., and Marjorie C. with the right approximate ages and they were all born in Canada (English speaking part). However they have the last name of West and the head of the household is Guy Toby West.
|1930 U.S. census, San Francisco County, California, population schedule, San Francisco, enumeration district (ED) 181, sheet 1A, p. 144 [stamped], dwelling 2, family 11, Household of Guy Toby West; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 4 Feb 2015); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 201; Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.|
Strangely enough, an out of country death record does provide an additional clue. Caspard L. van Den Bergh died in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico and fortunately the "Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1835-1974" collection on Ancestry had an image of his "Report of the Death of an American"8 form. On that form he listed a wife, Rosalie, and a son, Gary Guy van Den Bergh who was serving in the U.S. Navy in 1951. Caspard was also the proprietor and lived at "Toby's Motel" in Los Gatos, California. Hmmm ... Toby's Motel ... curious. A Google search for his son "Gary Guy Van Den Bergh" (regrettably from his family's point of view and great for a researcher's perspective) turned up a very recent obituary9 for him. There it mentions his "father Toby and mother Roaslie van Den Bergh".
All those documents, taken individually, would seem to indicate that 'Cap' West, Caspard van Den Bergh, Caspard Van, and Guy Toby West would be different people. However, when examined together they all point to one most likely conclusion ... they are all the same person. However, there are still clues to track down and documents to find. The perfect document would have all his known aliases but I'd be happy just find some document with two of the known names listed for Caspard van Den Bergh.
[05 Feb 2015 11:55 - Updated to reflect Caspard's spelling of his surname per his signature on his US World War 2 draft registration]
1. Canadian Museum of History, Virtual Museum Canada (http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/expositions-exhibitions/fort_selkirk/english/ps/psmiss.html : accessed 4 Feb 2015), Kathleen Martin Cowaret, Fort Selkirk Power and Sovereignty: The Missionaries.
2. You do know to check the image before and after on Ancestry to see if there is an additional page or two? The Passenger List sheet is a prime example since many times they span two pages.
3. Kirk Douglas
4. Martin Sheen
5. GenealogyBank (http://www.genealogybank.com/ : accessed 4 Feb 2015), Divorce Suits Filed; citing the San Francisco Chronicle, 25 Sep 1930 edition, p 12, col 6.
6. GenealogyBank (http://www.genealogybank.com/ : accessed 4 Feb 2015), Divorces Granted; citing the San Francisco Chronicle, 11 Nov 1930 edition, p 10, col 6.
7. "California, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985," database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 3 Feb 2015), entry for Marjorie Cecilie Willard, died 25 Jun 1941; citing N. Gray and Company Funeral Records.
8. Ancestry.com, "Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1835-1974," database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 3 Feb 2015), entry for Caspard L Van den Bergh, died 9 Nov 1951.
9. "Obituary for Gary Guy van Den Bergh," The Union Democrat, 3 Jun 2014, online archives (http://www.uniondemocrat.com/News/Obituaries/Obituaries-for-June-3-2014 : accessed 3 Feb 2015).