Sunday, June 22, 2014

52 Ancestors #25: Marriage Happy!

Ancestor Name: Elizabeth (Morack) Semple Robertson Furlong Vann Pierce ... and Counting?

Some girls just like weddings and can never have too many.

Elizabeth Morack must have been just such a young woman. She was born on 15 May 1915 in Helena, Montana, to Michael and Anna Marie (Moravich) Morack. Michael was born in Moscow, Russia, and immigrated to the U.S. via Canada in 1909. Anna Marie was born in West Virginia. Anna Marie's daughter spelled her mother's maiden name many different ways: Morokovich, Maronich, Marivich, Moravitch, and Marovich.

A month after her 14th birthday Elizabeth married Henry Semple, my third cousin twice removed. Henry was almost 20 years old when they married but said he was 21 and Elizabeth said she was 18 years of age. They were married by a Justice of the Peace on 7 June 1929 in Deer Lodge County, Montana. Like so many of my other ancestors of Scottish descent, Henry was a coal miner.

Less than a year later when the 1930 census was enumerated, Elizabeth was living with her mother and step-father, Fred Jacob (or Jacobs), at Anaconda, Montana. Elizabeth was listed with her correct age of 14 and her marital status was divorced. Her ex-husband Henry was also living with his parents again in Washoe, Montana. He indicated he was divorced.

Elizabeth married for the second time on 5 July 1934 to Oscar Ruben Robertson, who was 32 years of age and had not previously been married. Elizabeth fibbed a bit on the marriage license and said she had not been married before either, yet she used Semple as her surname on the license. I thought perhaps Oscar was the man for Elizabeth. But I probably shouldn't have. It's possible they divorced and remarried in 1936. The records are a bit confusing on this point. They were married at least 10 years and had two children by 1940, but more weddings were in Elizabeth's future.

Oscar Ruben Robertson; photograph courtesy of
member heylolly

Husband number 3 was Joseph Newell Furlong. They were married on 18 June 1946 in Missoula, Montana. Number 4, William Charles "W C" Vann. They married on 9 April 1951 in Deer Lodge County, Montana. Both celebrants had been married previously. Perhaps W C was her soulmate? Sadly he died just a year later on 5 May 1952 in El Dorado County, California, during a fire -- truly an awful story.

As published in the Mountain Democrat on 15 May 1952

Husband number 5 was Chester Pierce. They were married on 16 Nov 1955 in Dillon, Montana. Chester was hard to find because I didn't locate the record for their marriage in the usual places. I just knew Elizabeth wouldn't stay single! So I kept looking. However, this marriage lasted about 4 years before Elizabeth filed for divorce.

As published in the Montana Standard 4 June 1959

I don't know if it took a long time to divorce in the 50s but when Elizabeth's step-father died in 1961, she and Chester were listed as married in the obituary. Did they reconcile?

I have yet to find any information about Elizabeth (Morack) Semple Robertson Furlong Vann Pierce's death. The trail has gone cold. She either married again or is still alive and next year will be 100 years old. If the latter is true, what stories she could tell!

Hunting Elizabeth all started because of my Kiwi cousin and Semple research collaborator. She emailed me one evening just as I was going to bed about Elizabeth's age at the time of her first marriage, wondering if it could be possible to legally be married and divorced by 14 years of age. I researched all morning while Sarah slept and she was hard at it by the time I came home from work. As of this writing, we've both been plugging away on the extended Morack family for five days! It's great fun to collaborate with someone as equally addicted as me. We've now wandered off into the family of her step-father and siblings and step-siblings. I just love interesting sort-of ancestors.

If anyone has additional information about Elizabeth, my cousin and I would love to hear from you.


  1. This is. Very interesting! Wow, 14, amazing! I am quite envious of your working/ writing/ researching collaboration, and the fun you are having together with the work! Love it! Helen

    1. Helen, Sarah introduced herself through an Ancestry message. It's been wonderful getting to know her and she has taught me a lot about how to analyze records. She even guest blogs for me when I can twister her arm.

  2. Hey there cuzin!! I just found this and it's any new family "stuff" to share??? I'm still on ancestry working VERY hard to piece stuff you could say I'm email me any time
    Joni (Bateman) Evans

    1. Actually, I am related to her first husband, Henry Semple, not Elizabeth Morack.