Monday, September 24, 2018
Examining Another Possibility
There are some states which provide genealogists with exactly the information they are seeking: scans of documents with full information on, say, the two parties who are about to say, "I do." As I'm finding out, Nebraska is not one of those states.
It would be handy to be able to look up the marriage record for Adolph Brockman and Verna Nieman—or, in some cases, the spelling shows up as Neiman—but, barring a quick trip to the brisk clime at Nebraska at the start of autumn, we have no other recourse.
Yes, it would be helpful to know the exact date when Adolph and Vernie tied the knot, but it would be even more helpful if we could browse through the records in Cuming County, Nebraska, to see if, by chance, any other Brockmans had gotten married at about the same time. More to the point, it might also be helpful if we could peruse any entries for the Nieman family, too.
Here's why. Let's revisit the wedding photograph shared with us by Jeff in Oregon, labeled with Adolph and Vernie's names. Remember when we first saw that and realized the Adolph in Jeff's picture wasn't quite the same as the man whom our label had told us was Adolph Brockman? The young gentleman in our photo looked similar to the man standing to the far right in the wedding party for Jeff's photo.
That man was Adolph's brother William. The only problem was: I can find no marriage records for William Brockman. He is listed as single in the 1920 census, the 1930 census (as W. E. Brockman), and the 1940 census. Besides, he reported himself to be single in the draft registration for the first world war, and for the second world war, we can infer the same from his listing his mother's name and address as closest contact, rather than a wife or child. Even at his burial place at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, I don't see any indication that his headstone also bears an entry for a spouse.
To complicate matters, there was another William Brockman in Nebraska. Born in Cuming County, Nebraska, a little over a year before our William, this William did get married—to Verda, a name almost too similar to our Adolph's wife Verna's name—and was living, by the time he registered for the draft, in Pilger, Nebraska.
However, following the whereabouts of our Brockman family, we know the parents and the younger Brockman children moved from Nebraska to Morgan County, Colorado—and that our William ended up in the same location, as well. Whoever that other William Brockman was—and he could likely be another relative—we can be certain our singleton William was a different person.
When I brought that photo identity puzzle up to Jeff—after all, he is a Brockman, and should know a little bit more about his family than a stranger like I am—he suggested an alternate identity. You see, Adolph married a woman from a neighboring family in Cuming County, whose surname I've seen spelled, alternately, Nieman or Neiman. By the time of the 1910 census, Verna Neiman had two older brothers and two younger sisters.
If you notice from the wedding photo Jeff shared with us, there were some Niemans listed in that wedding party, namely one unidentified sister, and Verna's brother Frank. Jeff posited that perhaps the wedding photo I found in that antique store in northern California might have actually been that of Verna's brother's wedding, rather than her own. That may be a possibility—or perhaps Verna's other brother might have been the one. We'll take a closer look at that, tomorrow.
Above: Wedding photo of Adolph and Vernie Nieman Brockman of Nebraska, shared by Jeff in Oregon, a Brockman descendant; used by permission.