Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Archie's Siblings: Bertha Currie

Previously, I had blogged about my great-grandfather, Archie Currie, and his older brother, Ervin Currie. To continue in the series, this entry is about Archie's older sister, Bertha, whom I recently discovered.

As mentioned in previous posts, my maternal grandmother, Violet, daughter of Archie, never knew much about her aunts and uncles. She knew that her dad had a niece from the Detroit area who always came up to Sanilac County, Michigan, with her Polish husband to hunt on Archie's farm land. She would usually bring my grandmother gifts, and she was significantly older than my grandmother. My grandmother thought the niece's mother's name was Rose and that Rose was Archie's sister, but she could not remember ever meeting Rose, so she was not too sure about the name. After all these years, she couldn't even remember the niece's name or the Polish husband's name, although she had met them several times as a young girl. At this point, I thought I was at a dead end because I did not even know Rose's husband's name, and I could not seem to find a marriage record for a Rose Currie near Detroit nor in Ontario, where the Currie's were before they moved to Michigan. I felt pretty hopeless.

With the rather recent release of Michigan marriage records by FamilySearch Labs, I searched for all Currie's who had married in Michigan with a mother whose surname was Raymond. From Archie's marriage record, I had found that his mother's maiden name was Mary Raymond. Lo and behold, a marriage record surfaced for Bertha Currie and Alton Dye who married on 22 Jun 1918 in Pontiac, Oakland, Michigan. Bertha was age 34 (born about 1884), a resident of Pontiac, had a birthplace of Toronto, Ont., and had parents named Elick Currie and Mary Raymond. Archie's parents were Alexander "Alex" Currie and Mary Raymond, so I knew this had to be a sister! Alton was age 35, a resident of Pontiac, had a birthplace of Davisburg [Oakland County, Michigan], worked as an auto assembler, and was the son of Edward Dye and Florence Friday. Both Alton and Bertha had been married once before, but no married name was given for Bertha.

Michigan Department of Vital Records, Marriage Registrations, 1918, 4 : 240, no. 278, Dye-Currie; digital images, "Michigan Marriages 1868-1925," FamilySearch Labs ( : accessed 3 Mar 2009)

I then looked for Alton and Bertha in the 1920 U.S. Census. I found them living in Pontiac at 346 Central Avenue. In the household is Alvin J. Dye, age 36, born in Michigan, father born in England, mother born in Michigan, and working as a machinist in a foundry. Wife, Bertha Dye, was age 35, born in Canada, both parents born in Canada. There was a daughter, Doris Dye, age 15, born in Michigan, father born in Michigan, mother born in Canada. Alton and Bertha had been married for less than 2 years. Was 15-year-old Doris the daughter of Alton from his previous marriage since they shared the same last name? Or was Doris Bertha's daughter from a previous marriage enumerated under the wrong last name? Or was Doris Bertha's daughter from a previous marriage but adopted by Alton or using Alton's last name? Or, since there was no married name for Bertha listed on the marriage record, were Alton and Bertha married once to each other, divorced, and then remarried?

1920 U.S. Census, Oakland County, Michigan, population schedule, Pontiac (Ward 2), ED 211, sheet 4A, dwelling 66, family 67, Alvin J. Dye household; digital images, ( : accessed 4 Mar 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 790.

I then looked for a marriage record for Doris Dye, on the slight hope that she married before 1926 (the FamilySearch Labs database cuts off at 1925). I found a marriage record for Adam Mazurek and Doris Dye who married on 26 Jan 1925 in Royal Oak, Pontiac, Michigan. Adam was born in Warsaw, Poland!!! I was literally doing a happy dance at this point because I had finally found the long lost cousin/niece from the Detroit area who had married the Polish man!!! In addition, the marriage record stated that Doris was age 19, was born and was resided in Pontiac, worded as a stenographer and bookkeeper, and was the daughter of Alton J. Dye and Bertha Currie. Adam was age 25, resided in Pontiac, worked as a bodymaker, and was the son of Joseph Mazurek and Mary Syrskie.

Michigan Department of Vital Records, Marriage Registrations, 1925, Oakland County, v. 8, no. 1111, Mazurek-Dye; digital images, "Michigan Marriages 1868-1925," FamilySearch Labs ( : accessed 3 Mar 2009)

I decided to look for Alton and Bertha and Adam and Doris in the 1930 U.S. Census. I found Bertha living alone at 52 Lafayette Street in Pontiac. Bertha was a renter, age 41, married, and was born in Canada. Both parents' birthplaces were given as Canada. She immigrated in 1892 and was naturalized. Her age at first marriage was given as 31. I found Bertha enumerated again living alone at 346 Central Street, in the same house from the 1920 U.S. Census. All other info matches the same as that at 52 Lafayette Street, except that she owned this house at 346 Central. The census taken at 346 Central was enumerated on 10 Apr 1930 and the one at 52 Lafayette was enumerated on 16-17 Apr 1930. Did Bertha move during those 6 or 7 days?

Alton J. Dye was living at 12 North Saginaw in Pontiac on 3 Apr 1930. He also rented, was age 45, married, age 34 at first marriage, was born in Michigan, had a father born in England, had a mother born in Michigan, and worked as a collector in his own office. This makes me wonder if Alton and Bertha were in the middle of a separation or divorce.

Adam and Doris were living at 114 W. Maryland in Royal Oak. Adam Mazurick was age 30, age 24 at his first marriage, was born in Warsaw, Poland, had both parents born in Poland, spoke Polish before coming to the United States, immigrated in 1910 and was in the middle of completing his naturalization papers, and worked as a machinist in an auto plant. Doris M. Mazurick was age 25, age 19 at first marriage, was born in Michigan, and had a father born in Michigan and a mother born in Canada. They had four children: Maxine M., age 5, Edwin A., age 3 11/12, Virginia M., age 2 11/12, and Marion T. (son), age 7/12.

Still wondering if Doris was actually Alton or Bertha's natural child (though she listed both as her parents on her marriage record to Adam Mazurek), I looked for all three in the 1910 U.S. Census. I figured from the ages on Doris's marriage record and on the 1920 U.S. Census that she was born sometime between 1904 and 1906. I could not find Bertha or Doris in 1910, though I did find Alton J. Dye and May E. Dye living at 58 Jackson Street in Pontiac. This must have been Alton's first marriage. Alton was age 26, married for 3 years, was born in Michigan, had a father born in England and mother born in Michigan, and worked as an assembler in an auto factory. No daughter named Doris was enumerated. Does this mean Doris was Bertha's natural child and not Alton's?

I then found a marriage record for Alton J. Dye and Mae E. Miller on 29 Jun 1906 in Fenton, Oakland, Michigan, at FamilySearch Labs. Alton was age 23, was born and resided in Davisburg, worked as a farmer, and was the son of E. J. Dye and Flora Friday. Alton and Mae must have divorced between 1910 and 1918, or Mae must have died.

I also found another peculiar marriage record at FamilySearch Labs. This one was for Bertha Currey and Otis J. Hicks who married 2 Feb 1898 in Mount Clements, Macomb, Michigan. Bertha was age 20 (born about 1878), born in Canada, resided in Pontiac, and was the daughter of Alex Currey. The age is not exactly the same as those suggested by the census records and the other marriage record, but the location of Pontiac does match. The father's name and birthplace also match. In 1898, Bertha would have been about 14, so maybe she lied about her age in order to marry without parental permission. I have not found Otis and Bertha in the 1910 U.S. Census either, so perhaps they divorced before 1910. I have not found them in the 1911 Canadian Census either or the 1900 U.S. Census either. Is it possible that Doris is the daughter of Otis and Bertha?

In summary:

Abt 1884 - Bertha is born in Ontario to Alexander Currie and Mary Raymond. Her marriage record said she was born in Toronto, but I have doubts about this because I have since found Alexander and Mary in Elgin County, which will be the topic of future posts.

Abt 1885 - Alexander and Mary immigrate from Ontario to Sanilac County, Michigan.

2 Feb 1898 - Bertha, residing in Pontiac, Oakland, Michigan, possibly marries Otis J. Hicks in Mount Clemens, Macomb, Michigan. She is about age 14, but her age is given as 20 on the marriage record.

Abt 1904-1906 - Bertha gives birth to a daughter, Doris, at about age 20-22.

22 Jun 1918 - Bertha married for a second time to Alton J. Dye in Pontiac, Oakland, Michigan, at the age of 34.

Jan 1920 - Bertha, Alton, and 15-year-old daughter Doris are living at 346 Central in Pontiac. Bertha's age is given as 35.

26 Jan 1925 - Bertha's daughter, Doris, marries Adam Mazurek in Royal Oak, Pontiac, Michigan. Doris is age 19.

Apr 1930 - Bertha is living alone at two different locations in Pontiac: a rental house at 52 Lafayette and her own house at 346 Central. Alton is living alone in a rental house at 12 North Saginaw in Pontiac. Both give marital status as married. Adam and Doris are living in Royal Oak, at 114 W. Maryland and have 4 children.

To-Do List for Bertha:

1) Look for a divorce record for Bertha and Alton in Oakland County, c. 1930.

2) Look for land records for Alton and Bertha in Oakland County to see when the house at 346 Central was sold.

3) Look for additional marriage records for Bertha in Oakland County after 1930.

4) Look for a death record and obituary for Bertha in Oakland County.

5) Continue to look for Bertha in the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census records.

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