I have been researching my birth father's family. Since I never met any of them, it has been a bit of a struggle but I have made quite a bit of progress.
One real stumbling block is tied to my 2x great grandmother.
Here is what I know:
On Feb 18, 1882 Eugene Stephenson (2x Great Grandfather) married a Rhoda Ingram (2x Great Grandmother) in Nankin, Wayne county Michigan. I found a copy of the Marriage return and also ordered a copy of the marriage document from Lansing.
According to the paperwork, Rhoda was 24 years old and was born in Nankin. Neither of her parents are listed in either document.
In 1885, my Great Grandfather George Stephenson was born. I have the Birth certificate (although it wasn't filed until 1940) and the marriage certificate from his second marriage; Both documents state that Rhoda Ingram is his mother.
Eugene got married again in 1897, so obviously something happened to Rhoda; either they divorced or she passed away sometime between 1885 and 1897.
In the 1900 Census, George is living with Eugene's parents in Nankin, Eugene is in Southfield with his new wife and their infant daughter. On the census, it say 'Don't Know' where Rhoda's birth place should be.
Now, I have done a search on Ancestry.com, Family Search, seeking Michigan and the internet in general and can find absolutely no Death record for a Rhoda Ingram or Stephenson.
I have also done a search of the Census' from 1860 through 1900 and can find absolutely no Rhoda Ingram that was born 1857-1859 and living in Wayne County. In fact, there are no Ingram's in Nankin at all until the 1920 Census.
I have written to Wayne county to see if they have any Divorce records but they state their records only go back to 1897.
I have contacted the church that the Preacher who married Eugene and Rhoda (Halloway Sawyer) was associated with and they have come up empty as well.
I found several Plat maps of Nankin and found one person with the name of Ingram but further research shows that this person was Eldridge Ingraham and according to what I have found, he was never married.
On a hunch, I did a search of anyone named Rhoda that was born between 1857-1859 in Nankin, and the search came back with one result: Rhoda C Hicks.
The Hicks farm was fairly close to the Stephenson farm but that doesn't mean anything.
Rhoda is listed in the 1880 census as a school teacher and in the 1900 census she is living in Oregon and listed as a physician. In the 1930 census she is found in Garden City MI. She passed away in 1936.
I have found her in a few family trees and they all state that she never married.
I know that a lot of the time back then, school teachers were not suppose to marry (I have this on authority of my grandparents), so it might make sense that she was married under a false name and the fact that she was in Oregon in 1900 and George was living with his Grandparents lines up as well.
Now I know all of this is theory and circumstantial but I'm grasping at straws at this point. Obviously, I can't document any of it so it will remain in the 'Theory' folder.
Does anyone out there have any further suggestions where I could look to try and find the identity and origin of Rhoda Ingram?
Thanks for your time.