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Outcasted

Updated: Feb 19, 2023

Oxford defines outcast as, "a person who is not accepted by other people and who sometimes has to leave their home and friends." At one point or another most of us have likely felt like an outcast, but which of our ancestral stories really defines the term? It could be argued that several of our immigrating ancestors were outcasts, perhaps as they fled things like religious persecution.


Continuing with Week 7 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge, this week's prompt is, in fact, "Outcast." I don't have any real remarkable, untold stories to fit this topic. Obviously my immigrating Puritan and Jewish ancestors were undoubtedly outcasts. My first cousin twice removed was arguably outcasted when she cheated on her husband and ran off to New York City with her paramour. There is one unconfirmed story, in particular, that suggests my third great grandfather was disowned for marrying an Irish-Catholic woman. If true, I would certainly consider him to be an outcast!


My great granduncle Enno deVries was born on 28 August 1872. He married his wife, Anna Gerken in Hoboken, New Jersey on 20 April 1894.¹ Together they had at least half a dozen children.² By 1910, Enno had left his wife and children and was living back with his parents (just a couple of houses down the street) before he seemingly disappeared.³


In every census record thereafter, Anna maintained her status as a married woman, but Enno never appears to have returned to the household. What happened to Enno? Did he die, leaving Anna a widow? Did he suffer an injury or illness which caused him to live in an institution? Was it something even more sordid?

After years of research, it was determined that sometime between 1910 and 1915, Enno actually anglicized his name to Edward, moved to Brooklyn, married another woman (also by the name of Anna), and had roughly a dozen more children!⁴


It is unclear why Anna (the first wife) continued to declare she was married for so many decades after Enno's disappearance. Perhaps it was technically true. Despite significant research efforts, a divorce record has never been found. It was also more accepted by society that Anna remain a married woman, rather than suffer divorce, if one had occurred. So, it is definitely possible that she only continued to state she was married, to preserve her own reputation.


In this story it is unclear who the outcasted person was. Was Anna outcasted by Enno or was Enno outcasted by Anna? Perhaps the separation was amicable, in which case neither was a true outcast. How about you and your family tree? Do you have any better examples of "outcast" to share?


 

1. Hoboken, Hudson County, New Jersey, German Evangelical Church, “Marriage Records 1885-1897, pg 653, for Enno G.J.H. deVries and Anna Katherine Gerken, 20 April 1894; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.

com/imageviewer/collections/6961/images/43104_172028004419_0576-00664 : accessed 16 February 2023), image 660 of 731; citing The Archives of the Reformed Church in America; New Brunswick, New Jersey.

2. 1910 U.S. census, Hudson County, New Jersey, population schedule, Jersey City, enumeration district (ED) 221, sheet 21B, dwelling 242, Anna deVries and children residing in Rudolph Bornemann household; digital images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/7884/images/31111_4330915-00351 : accessed 16 February 2023), image 42 of 47; citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 893.

3. 1910 U.S. census, Hudson County, New Jersey, population schedule, Jersey City, enumeration district (ED) 221, sheet 21B, dwelling 239, Enno deVries residing in Gehard deVries household; digital images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/7884/images/31111_4330915-00351 : accessed 16 February 2023), image 42 of 47; citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 893.

4. 1940 U.S. census, Kings County, New York, population schedule, Borough of Brooklyn, enumeration district (ED) 24-528A, sheet 11A, dwelling 179, Edward deVries household; digital images Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/2442/images/m-t0627-02560-00169 : accessed 16 February 2023), image 21 of 26; citing National Archives microfilm publication T627, roll 2560. Also, Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007, Edward deVries; index, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/9757267:60901 : accessed 16 February 2023), U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007.




 

Disclaimer: Each blog post is created and presented for marketing and entertainment purposes only but are based on larger research which adheres to the standards of The Board of Certification of Genealogists® as set forth in Genealogical Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry Imprint, Turner Publishing, 2014).

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