Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More cousins in Beverly New Jersey ?

The daughters of Richard Swanson and Mary Agnes Rementer Swanson have by and large had happiness elude them.One notable exception was Bessie Katherine , youngest child,who married Dan Ulmer and seems to have fared very well.Of the six daughters three are dead at an early age leaving motherless children.

Margaret Swanson sister of my grandmother may have had another child before she passed away in 1923. Recently we found that Margaret had had a whirlwind courtship in 1906 which ended at some point in divorce.Her bridegroom was a Baseball player and local legend John Westley Reasnor and they eloped to the chagrin of his fans.

My cousin and I have been trying valiantly to unearth details.Margaret's son John Westley Reasnor, also a Baseball player of some renown goes by the name of John Westly. He and his two sisters are found in a children's home in 1920. Newspaper clippings of 1918 that reported that John Rasnor died in WWI in France were possibly inserted by him or a friend as he is found alive afterwards. Another news story in 1920 indicates his mother had a "Dream" that he was still alive and asked the local police to try to locate him. Is it possible she wants her grandchildren properly cared for and knows he is shirking his responsibilty?

Family stories are that the couple divorced and that Margaret is deceased by 1920. Imagine our surprise to find a cemetery record for Margaret Swanson Gorgand while other relatives interments were being searched. The spelling was very wrong but it seems that Margaret Swanson remarries by 1922 or at least by her death Feb. 7, 1923 to one Orest Gorgana or Gargana.She is buried in a Swanson family plot in Monument Cemetery in Beverly NJ .

The 1930 census shows Orest Gargana and a second wife Florence with Evelyn and Anthony.Evelyn does not seem to be a child of that new marriage as she is seven and they are married in 1925.

Our faithful Burlington County genealogy buddy researcher has found that Evelyn , if she is daughter to Margaret Swanson is raised in Beverly NJ as a daughter to Orest and Florence Gargana. Her obituary names them as parents and names Anthony,Rosemarie and Raymond as siblings.We await a birth record from NJ Archives to know for sure who Evelyn's mother was.

Questions that always linger for me is how in such a tiny town were such large secrets kept?
Why was life so hard for these girls in this family? Only one of the sisters lived to raise their children as one lost her only child and one lived with a man for many years without marriage or children. A last question would be poignant,did Margaret marry to try to provide a home for her children or did she place them in a home to try and salvage a life for herself?

UPDATE ~ Birth records show Evelyn Gargana is not the daughter of Margaret Swanson so this one time at least I can not be upset at the Swanson family lack of cohesiveness.

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