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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    « The Clue in the Cupboard: A Letter from Albert Edwards | Main | Hear Tips to Organize Your Family Archive on Family Tree Magazine Podcast »
    Thursday
    Jan262012

    Nancy Drew Goes to Salt Lake City

    Before I can get to Roots Tech, I've got a SLC ToDo List that's more Detective than Digital. I'm playing Nancy Drew and tracking down clues to a mystery that's nearly a century old. If you would like a brain-teaser to occupy your little grey cells before the waves start buzzing with conference tweets and posts… please, feel free to leave your own ideas for

    The Case of the Disappearing Husband

    . . . in a previous episode of The Family Curator we posed several questions about our heroine, Arline Kinsel Paulen, and her life in Salt Lake City.

    Albert Edwards and Arline Paulen
    Armed and Ready 

    The facts, as we knew them were few --

    In 1914 Arline was living in Salt Lake City at 144 S. 5th West with her young daughter Lucile. She received frequent letters from her ex-husband Roy Paulen who worked as a business secretary at the Bingham Mine Company about 28 miles outside the City. Arline and little Lucy occasionally visited Roy in Bingham, but Roy's letters show that he longed to see them more often.

    Then, in August of 1917, Arline Paulen (age 26) and Albert Edwards (age 36), both of Salt Lake City, traveled to Evanston, Wyoming where they were married by a Justice of the Peace before two local witnesses.

    Within a few months, Arline moved back to her mother's ranch in Colorado and in September 1919 was served with divorce papers by Edwards.

    "I'm sure he pushed it through in a hurry as I think he was just as anxious to get rid of me as me him," she wrote in a letter to her mother.

    Inquiring minds want to know --

    1. What was Arline doing in SLC?

    2. Who was Albert Edwards?

    3. Why did the couple leave SLC to be married? (Heck, why did they get married at all?)

    4. Why Evanston, Wyoming? (Was it the Gretna Green of the time?)

    5. What happened to Edwards?

    Like any good detective, I have my casebook in hand and a list of witnesses to question. I want to check the Salt Lake City directories to see if Arline and Edwards are listed, and also try to figure out where she might have worked. I'm sure there are more clues in her letters from those years, but they haven't all been transcribed... yet.

    I also have a nagging memory that Edwards might have been in the service. It certainly would have been the right decade. I'll have to check into that.

    The Wyoming wedding mystifies me; I'd like to find out more about Utah marriage laws in 1917. Maybe there was a restriction on divorced persons remarrying? or maybe they weren't really divorced? 

    Lots of questions... any more ideas?

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    Reader Comments (3)

    I hope you find some answers in Salt Lake!! What an interesting mystery. :)

    January 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

    Something else to check. Did the State of Utah have a mandatory waiting period for a previously married, now divorced person, to remarry? I know that in the mid-1900s Idaho had a mandatory six month waiting period before a divorced person could remarry. If Utah did, and Wyoming did not, they might have gone to Wyoming to avoid the law.

    (I did a quick search and found that in 1917, Utah had a time period. Even today it appears it could take up to six months for a decree to be final.) Also, you said Airline's husband filed for divorce. Grounds appear to be different for men and women. Could prove interesting.

    Evanston was 81 miles from SLC on a major highway and was the county seat. Probably the most convenient spot.

    See you there, Nancy!

    January 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterfootnoteMaven

    Thanks for the clues, fM. Albert filed on grounds of desertion. I have to check on the first divorce. I'm bringing my deerstalker to SLC.

    January 28, 2012 | Registered CommenterFamily Curator

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