Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: James & Ethel Hunt's 1918 Marriage Record

I solved a mystery this week! I had been trying to figure out exactly when and where my paternal great grandparents, James William Hunt (1891-1961) and Ethel Modena Martindale (1896-1977), were married. Based on census documents and what I already knew, I figured it was before 1920 and somewhere in Oklahoma.  I had been looking for a record under both of their names together, as well as separately. It finally occurred to me (duh!) that Great Grandma Ethel had been married prior to this union, and I wondered if I might have more luck searching under her married name: Ethel Mackey. BINGO!!! A quick Google search led me to the Coal County Genealogical Society, where I found an index of THIS:

It's the Application For Marriage License, the Marriage License and the Certificate of Marriage -- all in one document. Once I found the index, I quickly sent off my $5 donation and a request for a copy of the document. Within a week, this wonderful record showed up in my mail box and I can now see that James and Ethel Hunt were married in Coalgate, Coal County, Oklahoma on January 16, 1918. Ethel was 21 years old, and James was 27 years old. They both resided in Centrahoma, Oklahoma. It appears that they showed up at the courthouse, applied for the license and got hitched by a Justice of the Peace there all on the same day.

James and Ethel raised three children: my grandma, Edith Vivian Hunt Brittain (1920-1993), Edgar James (Bud) Hunt (1922-2004) and George Lee Hunt (1927-1987). James died on April 7, 1961, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Ethel married a third time to Joe Gordon Dobbs (as kids, we knew and loved her as Great Grandma Dobbs). Joe passed away in 1964. Ethel died at the age of 80 on August 3, 1977, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Even though she was three times a widow, she was a cheerful lady who was always happy to spend time playing with my sister, Cindy, and me when she visited my Grandma Edith in Livermore, California.

I'm now hunting for the marriage records for Ethel's first and third marriages, and I've learned my lesson to not just rely on maiden names in my searches, especially when I know that one of my female ancestors has been married more than once!


  1. This is good to know, actually. I haven't begun requesting copies of records (yet) but I know of *gasp* divorces and widows in my family so it's good to know for later (when I do start requesting copies of things).

  2. I love this photograph. It looks like they just took a quick break from work to take it. Is that mud on his boots? It's great!

  3. I don't have a lot of divorces in my family's history, Renee Anne, but there are a lot of widows.

    Heather, he worked in the oil fields in Oklahoma, and they were poor, so those very well could have been his work boots!