Historical Notes: What’s in a Name? Roe’s marriage certificate discovery and a feisty Minister

Sometimes, bits and pieces show up in the oddest ways about Roe. While researching family history at Ancestry.com, I took a break and began looking for information on Frances Roe not expecting more than census records. Anyone browsing the website knows about the hit and miss nature of finding familial lines since trails rarely run straight about family. Add to the mix, Roe is a common name. Plus the fact she was born 175 years ago, with variations of her name- Frances M.A. Mack, Fannie A., Frannie, etc. in census records.

Surprise! The state of Ohio uploaded marriage records from 1774-1993. The marriage certificate facsimile appears as: “Fannie A. Mack” married Fayette W. Roe on the 19th of August 1871. The ceremony took place in Hamilton County, Ohio. Not New York, Washington D.C., Connecticut or Virginia where Mack and Roe family lines were firmly established; but Ohio. Remember, Fannie and Faye met at his Uncle’s school of languages in Elmira New York. And Faye’s obit provides a short bio on Fannie studying vocal music two years in Cincinnati, Ohio, while Faye was enrolled at West Point as a cadet in New York.

General U.S. Grant Cadet appointment recommendation for Fayette W. Roe at West Point

Piecing together the logistics, Faye received his cadet appointment at West Point in 1867 (see above letter of recommendation) and graduated in June 1871 as a commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Twenty-Fourth Infantry (Roe requested the 3rd Infantry and President Grant allowed his request). He headed straight to Ohio to claim Fannie as his bride and began their new adventure in the Army in the far West.

I would surmise, Fannie and Faye made plans; especially Fannie who was three days shy of her 27th birthday and Faye 21 years old when they got hitched.

In consideration of their age difference

The Civil War disrupted more than a nation drawing battle lines between the North and the South. It unsettled the ebb and flow of society. The debutante balls announcing a young woman’s eligibility were at best- thrown into confusion. Young women raised with expectations to marry and have children were put on hold at best. Societal protocols were cast under a shroud of buried soldiers unbalancing the ratio of eligible men. Fannie’s suitors were likely serving in the Union; whereas Fayette was 10 years old at the start of the War (Civil War April 12, 1861 – April 9, 1865).

Lastly, the marriage certificate lists her name as “Fannie. A. Mack.” Thus, she has no additional surnames (if she was a widow, her legal last name would reflect this).

Onto the Marriage Certificate-

The marriage certificate does not list witnesses. However, the Minster of the Gospel- M.J.W. Ambrose presided over the ceremony.

Cont’d: Who’s M.J.W. Ambrose and does history care?