|Marriage record of John Slatter & Louisa A. Hexter|
Transcription on Find My Past, image on Family Search
Still, I had only three main clues: (1) 1894/5 Cleveland city directories showing the couple at John's home address and partners in his wallpaper cleaning business, (2) the brief 1895 Cleveland obit for Louisa, which listed her age, home address, and included the note "Cincinnati papers please copy," and (3) Louisa M Slatter sharing a headstone with John Slatter in Cleveland, Ohio.
Starting from Scratch on Multiple Sites
Knowing each genealogy site features its own search algorithms, its own transcriptions, and its own collections, I began this research again from scratch.
This time, I did my first search on Find My Past (I have access to North American records, thanks to my membership at the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society). I searched only for John Slatter, estimated birth year, birth place, residence in Cleveland, and wife's name of Louisa. To narrow the search, I focused on birth-marriage-death records.
On the first page of marriage results, I found a transcribed marriage license from Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, for a 52-year-old man named John Slatter, born in England. The bride was 41-year-old Louisa A. Hexter born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Image was available on Family Search.
I quickly switched to Family Search and began the search from scratch, adding what I found at Find My Past. The marriage license was the first result (see top of post). After checking the transcription, I clicked to see the actual document. The details clinched it: this was indeed hubby's great-grandfather!
John Slatter, a fresco cleaner, had been married before but "marriage was dissolved by the death of his wife." (First wife Mary Shehen Slatter had died 18 months earlier, in a London-area insane asylum.)
Louisa Hexter, no occupation, had previously been married but was now widowed. Louisa's birth year of 1849 is what I would have expected, given her age at death. Her birthplace was Cincinnati, which matches the clue from her obit ("Cincinnati papers please copy").
Finally, I redid the search from scratch on Ancestry, where I again found the Pennsylvania county marriage records and the image showing John and Louisa's 1890 marriage. The license solved the "where and when" mystery, but raised one more question.
Wait . . . Where?!
John and Louisa received their marriage license and were wed on the same day, by Alderman Gripp, on October 20, 1890, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Wait, where? Bride and groom lived in Cleveland. I would not have thought to search in Pennsylvania, even though it borders Ohio.
Pittsburgh, it turns out, was a Gretna Green, where marriages could take place immediately and at reasonable cost. The city was an easy train trip from Cleveland, where John and Louisa lived.
Thanks to searching from scratch on multiple genealogical resources, I solved this long-standing family mystery.
The #52Ancestors prompt for week 28 is "multiple."