Chipping Away At That Wall

I have been working very hard on my genealogy again. While I do have a very good lead on that ever elusive “immigrant ancestor”, I have still been looking for more information on my father’s first wife.

I have now proven that the lovely lady I mentioned in this post, is in fact Trudie. I used Facebook, of all things to get the needed info.

Using the Blair County, Pennsylvania, Genealogy Society Facebook page, I found the email for their research assistant, Patti. She was ever so helpful. For a small donation to the society, she found Don & Trudie’s marriage documents.

Marriage certificate for Donald Campbell and Mary Gertrude Lyman.

Not only did she find the certificate, she found the application as well.

Marriage application

Now being the nosey guy that I am, I couldn’t help but wonder where did the ceremony take place? Was it in a church, the city office, where? The first step was to figure out who the Thos. W. Kelley was that performed the actual ceremony was. My oldest sister remembers dad saying that Trudie was Catholic. My new friend Patti was able to locate a Father Thomas W. Kelley that was listed in several other marriages at St. Therese’s Catholic church in Altoona. And on the scan of the city record book, it lists Fr. Kelley as “Priest”.

Now that I knew they were married in the Catholic tradition, if not in a Catholic church building, a big question popped into my pointy head. Did my dad have to convert or at least sign a statement of some kind that he would convert to Catholisim? This is a very common thing with many of the world’s religions.

So, with the help of my other friend, Google, I was able to locate St. Therese’s church in Altoona. They don’t have a website, but they do have an email. After much pondering, moreover what to ask, than if I should even send an email, I sent an email asking if they had any records of the marriage and if my dad had to make any kind of conversion promise.

Lo and behold, this was the answer I received;


Dear Mr. Campbell, 
The marriage of Donald Sherwood Campbell and Mary Gertrude Lyman took place at St. Therese Parish, whether in the Church or at the Rectory is unknown.  Mary was a member of St. Leo’s Parish, and received the permission from Fr. O’Connell for the marriage to take place at St. Therese.  The records shows that the couple received a dispensation for Mixed Religion.  And that indicates that Donald was still a Protestant at the time of the wedding.  Mary would have signed a document promising to raise any children Catholic to the best of their ability and that this marriage would not endanger her faith.  Father Kelley would have informed Donald that Mary made these promises.  
During the day of Bishop Guilfoyle, he was strict about non-Catholics marrying Catholics wanting the non-Catholics to convert.  However the Bishop seems to have signed the dispensation.  
Documents are sparse.  We have only the granted dispensations and the record in the registry.  I hope this helps.   If Donald became Catholic it was after his marriage.

Sincerely,
Fr. D. Timothy Grimme
Pastor

Pretty cool. I could cross this off my genealogical to-do list. The next step in my search on Trudie is to find a cause of death. I have requested a death certificate from the folks in Washington, D.C. but have not received anything back.

It is interesting that her name is listed as Mary Gertrude. I understand the use of Mary, as it is normal, if not required, to use a saint’s name in the Catholic tradition. The odd thing is that every other record I have of her lists her as Gertrude M., the names are reversed. Even in early records such as the 1920 census when she’s still with her parents, she’s listed as Gertrude. Oh well. I’ve seen odder things.

Mary Gertrude “Trudie” and Donald Sherwood Campbell.

I really do wish I had a date for that picture. Love the pencil thin mustache my dad’s sporting!

Peace,
B

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