Thomas Colyer (Collier) & Jenny Thompson Colyer

This lovely couple is Tom and Jenny, my grandmother’s grandparents.  Jenny is my enate great-great grandmother.  There was a family story that they loved each other so much that they got married twice.   Their story probably could have gone on forever if not for one small detail… nosey progeny.

When I first began my research, I found a marriage record for Thomas and Emma J. Thompson dated May 6, 1875.  Being the neophyte supersleuth that I was, I was happy to find the marriage record and believed that name reversal was at play here, as that was very common.  This worked out well in my mind since their only child, a daughter named Addie, was born in 1883.

Fast forward to a random Saturday morning at the Connecticut State Library in Hartford.  For years, cousins and I have been tracking Collier ancestors and trying to put together one of our most elusive lines.  That particular day I decided to peek at the court records on microfilm.  Was I ever surprised to find a listing for a divorce of Emma J. Thompson and Thomas Collier.  I immediately reviewed the file for this couple and it turned out that Emma J. was not Jenny E.  A small tidbit that gave away the shenanigans was a handwritten note by Tom’s attorney, removing himself from the case, as his client had a child out of wedlock.  Other papers told of accusations of Tom’s extramarital activities, most notably with Jenny Thompson.  This marriage was dissolved on October 9, 1891.

A walk back through the census and other documents revealed that Emma J. was most likely the older sister of Jenny E.  Oh boy, Tom.  Way to pick ’em!  I would imagine this caused some sort of a riff within the family, as sisters Augusta and Fannie are mentioned frequently and I even have a few of their personal belongings.  Emma, however, seems to disappear from personal family records at that point.

Years later, on February 5, 1914, Tom and Jenny tied the knot.  At ages 49 and 42, after becoming grandparents five times over, something finally prompted them to take the leap.  What that was, this inquisitive granddaughter will probably never know.


My grandmother saved a few important pictures and papers, much the way her grandmother did before her.  Treasure Chest Thursday is the perfect opportunity to share these gems.

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