Sunday, October 27, 2013

Looking for Virginia Tutt

Virginia Tutt, who is she and where did she come from and go?  Virginia, I learned quite some time ago, was my fathers first wife from 1943 to 1952.  As mentioned, Virginia was once part of the family and oral family history mentions there might be children.  So, I've been interested in finding out if I have siblings out there unknown to me or not.  In researching Virginia, I've found many facets of her life a mystery because of  incomplete records, no records or misinformation on the record.  These issues aren't unique to Virginia's research at all.  Its actually quite common to have incomplete data recorded on the many records that shadow our lives.

Tracing Virginia through genealogy records has been a bit of a challenge as I didn't have enough information about her in the first place and very little to make any concrete connections with records found, so nothing much beyond the information I had at hand.  I started the search with what I had; a marriage and divorce documents, of neither had a lot of information, but it was a start.

Virginia married William Reynolds in 1943 Lincoln Nebraska.  The record offered some hints such as; Virginia's date of birth, which is about 1914. This proves later not to be the case.  Also, this was Virginia second married.  Again not the case.  The record indicates that Virginia's parent were Berl Tutt and Nellie Murphy of Illinois.  The record also gave up the name of Virginia's previous marriage surname of Rhodes.

You would think the above was enough information to continue researching Virginia, but it proved a bit difficult as the data was not accurate and left many questions during the search.  For example Virginia's fathers name was Bert not Berl.  Actually, his name was Gilbert.  So, searching for a Berl Tutt and variation was not profitable.  Lots of records, but nothing making a solid connection for me.  If you have read any of my other genealogy post, I have a rule of three.  I need to have at least three solid connections to a record before I will accept it.  Some will say that's a bit picky and others will say not picky enough.  For me, it has worked out as I have made no connections that later proved wrong and caused me to back up.

The next record to investigate was the divorce document between Virginia and my father in 1952.  Nothing there to help this research.  Interestingly however, it was my mother that filled the petition of divorce for my father in Washington state of which she lived.  No indication of Virginia's where abouts was noted on this document.  The research at this point peters out, though I have revisited it a few times over the years, nothing more have I found to progress the search for Virginia.

Yesterday, I have received a hint that moved the research along.   The hint was Virginia's middle name and believe it or not that clue was enough open a few doors and solidify some records.

First, I discovered Virginia's first marriage, then a 1910 census for Chicago Illinois, then another marriage and a 1940 census for California.  The 1910 census records Virginia with her parents in Chicago Illinois at the age of one. The census also provides a name correction for Berl Tutt to Gilbert Tutt.  Gilbert is a clerk in the Dry Goods industry.  Virginia is recorded as being born in Wyoming.  Thus far, the family was in Illinois prior to Virginia's birth and after.  So, for me Wyoming as a birth place is a question mark!  I wonder if Nellie gave birth during a vacation trip to Wyoming or some other place west.

The first marriage for Virginia was to a Herbert Rhode in Jun 1931 Washington D.C.  Then, in November 1937 she remarries to a James Howard in LA California.  I must say, Virginia sure did a lot of traveling in her time.  In the 1940 census, Virginia is still listing herself born in Wyoming, she is living with her husband James, mother Nellie Tutt and a daughter; Gloria.  Gloria is eight years old and was born in Washington D.C.  Doing the math, Gloria is a product of Virginia's first marriage to Herbert.

These discoveries opened the door to yet more hints and more possibilities, but nothing more on Virginia after the 1952 divorce.  So, I still don't know if any children were produced during the years marriage to my father or to where Virginia got off too!

Where did the hint of Virginia's middle name come from in the first place.  Well, yesterday, my older sister who is also doing genealogy research told me about a very recent contact by one of Virginia's half-sisters; Janet. I should mention that my sister had already made some progress in her research of Virginia that made possible the this contact from Janet.  Thanks Phyllis!

Fingers crossed more hints to come......

UPDATE:  More information has been found and some shared by an anonymous commentator.  So, a follow up blog will post soon about the Vampire of Chicago!