Early on in hunting up my dad's side of the family, I found out that despite what my paternal grandmother had thought, we weren't blue blood German at all, but instead that surname came from a remarriage after all the children were in their teens, and the mother (Johanna Matthew) & father (Thomas Davison) actually came from Scotland and Durham via Warrnambool (married in 1878) and she married Diedrich Stendt in 1909. That was a bit of a surprise, but nothing too startling - after all, people remarry when partners die.
... or not. I found that Thomas hadn't actually died until 1917. Ok, search divorce index. Nope, nothing there. Ah, that's kind of weird, I'm pretty sure I have the right people from the index. Oh well, I'll have to wait until I can get certificates if I want to get a better idea of what's happening.
So, recently, I had the spare $ to grab Johanna and Diedrich's wedding certificate, where she claims to be a widow since 1890. Um. No. For a start, her last son wasn't born till 1893, and I'm really quite sure that Thomas didn't die til 1917. Some more poking suggests they might have deliberately got married at a church that didn't ask too many questions
, all the way over in Collingwood (they lived in Footscray). (Sorry to anyone following that link in firefox, Darebin library = epic css fail).
Hmmm. Maybe, maaaybe, I have the wrong Thomas. Poke indexes. Nope, no one named Thomas Davison died in 1890ish. Ok, I'll grab the death cert from the 1917 guy and see if that helps. Well, its the right guy, because it lists Johanna as his first spouse, as well as a second spouse I didn't know about (Elizabeth Badcock)... and 3 children's names that I have never heard of, and not the 4 Thomas and Johanna actually had. Oh, and I can't find any references to those 3 children, nor the marriage, in the indexes for Victoria...
I wish I had the faintest idea what was going on. Did Thomas fake his death? :) Were they both just lying? Were they, as tacomonkey
suggests, spies? Someone is going to look at the burial details for Thomas for me today. I need to get Johanna's death certificate and see where she's buried and see if there's any further info out there. And probably the birth certificates for her kids. And I wish I knew when Diedrich came to Australia, which might be on his death certificate too. Pesky endless research quest :)