Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Uncle Frank's First Family???

My mother's side of the family is not very close knit. I think that is due in part to the fact that my grandmother passed away very young. I have observed that it is typically the mother that holds extended family relationships together. I did, however, know my grandmother's sister, Ann.

When I was in my teens I would spend my summers in Florida; one month with my with my father's sister's family and one month with my maternal grandfather. Grandpa always made sure that I got to spend a day with his sister-in-law, my Aunt Ann.

I didn't get the sense that Grandpa and Ann were close. They simply lived near each other in Florida. He never stayed for the visits I had with Aunt Ann. He would just drop me off there at her condo for the day.

This was in the late 1980s, early 1990s. Thus it was after Ann's husband, Frank had passed away. I do however, vaguely remember my great uncle, Francis Thomas McGarry. My spotty memory clearly recalls his spotty memory. Uncle Frank suffered from Alzheimer's disease at the end of his life. I recall Ann and Frank coming for a visit to NY and stopping by our house with my great grandmother in tow. I was little. It was around the time of my parents' divorce; maybe 1982 or so. I recall Frank as tall and lanky and that Aunt Ann repeatedly told him that they were at Carol's house.

My mother, the aforementioned Carol, repeatedly told me that she loved her Uncle Frank dearly. Ann and Frank were childless and doted on their nieces and nephews as far as I could tell. I knew from my mother's stories that Frank was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania and was significantly older than Ann; 15 years older. Apparently Ann's parents were not happy about the age difference. However, Frank was warm, loving, and very generous so ultimately I suppose they accepted him. So when a hint popped up for Uncle Frank on my Ancestry tree today I explored it.

If this hint is correct Uncle Frank may have been married before. And if that is the case, he and his first wife appear to have had several children all of whom died very young; all boys Donald age 4 months died in 1933, Francis age 1 day died in 1935, John age 3 days died in 1937, and Baby Boy McGarry was just a few hours old when he died in 1939.

Is this my Uncle Frank's first family? If I had any relationship with my mother I would ask her if she knew if Frank was married before Aunt Ann. Would my mother even know? Did Ann know? I can't figure out what happened to the first wife, if this indeed is a first wife.

I see a Frank McGarry and wife Ruth in the Scranton City Directory for 1937 living at 407 Madison Avenue in Scranton. And then I see Ruth in the Scranton City Directory for 1940 living at 641 Madison Avenue, no mention of Frank. Hmm...

Then I came across the marriage license number for Ann and Frank in Manhattan in 1943. Today I am going to order that document from the New York City Municipal Archives to see if there is any indication as to Frank being married once before. To some extent it is cheaper to go into the Archives to get the record but its 11 degrees out this morning and the cost of the train ticket...eh, I'll just order it.

Stay tuned...

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