But Myron was a mysterious figure when I was growing up. There were whispers of some kind of scandal, some other woman. One statement, attributed to Myron's mother (my great grandmother Alma) was, "He was more sinned against than sinning." Such a curious comment from a devout Baptist.
I'm a genealogist, and I've been looking around for years for information about Myron. But sometimes I miss things. Just this year I checked out the 1910 census again. He was living in California with a roommate, which I'd seen on previous visits to the census record, but this time I noticed that he was listed as "married". He didn't marry my grandmother Ethel until 1912, so this was a different marriage. I called my oldest cousin, Bob, and asked if he knew our grandfather had been married before. He said no.
I tracked down the Colorado marriage record. February 1909, to a young woman named Edna. And the Colorado divorce record in August 1910. The only appearances in court on the divorce date were Edna and her mother Annie. No Myron. He was in California by then.
I remembered, "He was more sinned against than sinning." I wondered if there had been a baby.
I checked out the 1910 census record for Edna's family. Her parents William and Annie had three daughters: Edna (with my grandfather's last name), age 18; Wilma, age 16; and Dorothy, age two. William was in his early 40s and Annie in her late 30s. I noted the number of years between Dorothy and her two older sisters and I wondered if Dorothy might be the child of my grandfather Myron and Edna. Might William and Annie be raising their granddaughter as their own child? That did happen back then.
I continued searching. In the online records for a cemetery in Greeley, Colorado, I found a family plot. William and Annie are buried there, and Edna and her second husband Wilbur, and Wilma, and Dorothy and her husband Harry. The person who had made the arrangements for the most recent burial - Dorothy, in 1994 - was Sydney, her daughter. I followed the trail. In another Colorado town, I found the mortuary who had handled the arrangements for Dorothy's husband Harry. Their records included an obituary. I asked for a copy.
I found Sydney. She is 80 years old and she lives in Honolulu. I called and left a voicemail. I didn't hear back. Last week I wrote her a letter. I told her about my research and my curiosity. What did Sydney hear about her Aunt Edna's first husband when she was growing up? If her mother Dorothy was my grandfather's daughter, we are cousins. I told her about DNA testing and offered to pay for one if she was interested.
So far, I have not heard from Sydney. Maybe she is on an extended trip, or maybe she's sick, or maybe she's not interested, or maybe she feels threatened. I need to honor all those possibilities.
Harry's obituary includes the name of a granddaughter, Kimberly. She would be close to my age. I'm thinking about seeing if I can find her. But if I don't hear from Sydney, most likely I won't.
I'm still looking for my grandfather. I noted a newspaper article in 1922, from Bakersfield, California. He lived in Long Beach, California by then. He had stopped in at the home of a young woman in Bakersfield on his way back from school in Chico. His wife, my grandmother Ethel, was six months pregnant with my mother then. Who was the young woman in Bakersfield?
"He was more sinned against than sinning."