On 7 September 1893 Arthur Oram married Josephine Durgetto in Erie, Pennsylvania, the closest out of state city to Cleveland. Why did they need to travel 100 miles to get married?
Our first question is to find out if either Arthur or Josephine were under 21 years of age.
We are not 100% sure of Arthur and Josephine’s dates of birth. During our research we have found that there is a good correlation between the age given by parents at a child’s first census and the age given by their relations, perhaps from a birth certificate when they died. The truth can be allowed to slip in between.
For Arthur the two benchmarks suggest that he was born between 5 March 1872 and 31 May 1873. We feel that this verifies a birth date of 16 May 1872 given by an ancestry.com researcher. So Arthur could be married legally.
Using the same criteria for Josephine her birth date was 24 Nov 1871, so could marry legally.
The second question is whether Josephine had a child or was expecting one. The answer is that Nathalie was just born legitimately as her social security death entry shows:
|birth date:||16 September 1893|
|social security number:||295-40-8757|
|place of issuance:||Ohio|
|last residence:||Summit, Ohio|
|zip code of last residence:||44313|
|death date:||15 November 1973|
|estimated age at death:||80|
But this does not answer our original question: Why did Arthur and Josephine need to travel 100 miles to get married? They were legally entitled to get married and their child may or may not have been ‘legitimate’. If the family disapproved, well, they could have taken a cheaper train ride within Ohio. Maybe it was a romantic gesture or some issue that we will never know about.
Separation / divorce of Arthur and Josephine
Looking through the documentary trail left by Josephine it seems as if she always had to earn a living with little or no support from Arthur. Their nieces who helped Daphne write the Oram Saga suggested that the couple were divorced. When Arthur died in 1934 his martial status was not disclosed. When Josephine died in 1964 the Ohio Department of Health considered her to be a widow. Arthur avoided all the censuses after 1880 (1890’s was destroyed in a fire). Josephine said that she was a widow in 1910, divorced in 1920, widowed in 1930 and divorced in 1940 (after Arthur’s death). Not only that, Josephine’s age did not always increase by 10 years between censuses.
All we can say is that in 2012 we found no evidence of their divorce, so we are saying that they were definitely separated and probably divorced.