A Random Msg Lead To More Info – The Beaton/Batten Mystery

Bob Beaton & ?

Recently I received a random message from an Ancestry user.

The Kathleen Ann that she referred to was my great uncle’s wife, and I hadn’t done any research on her because she had married my great uncle, and I had always been told they had no children.

Kathleen (Kaye) was married to Robert (Bob) Beaton, the second youngest child of William (Willie) Beaton. I’d never really done any further research on Robert because I knew he’d been married to Kaye and had no children. So that was the end of it. That’s called “assuming,” and that’s something you should never do in genealogy.

This random note got me to look further at Kaye and what I did find interesting, and I hadn’t noticed before when I read her obituary and don’t get me wrong, I’d read it before. (Excerpt from the Edmonton Journal)

I’d never done the math. I read it and realized that she had married Robert Beaton when she was 40 and because he was a year older, he was 41. It was then that the light bulb went off. I should research Robert a bit more. He might have been married before.

So the first thing I did was search for Robert Beaton in the Edmonton Journal on Newspapers.com hoping to find another marriage announcement.

The first thing I found instead was this article in the Edmonton Journal on August 22, 1957.

Edmonton Journal August 22, 1957

Yes, they use to announce divorces in the paper. Robert Beaton and Catherine Louise Beaton had been one of the 17 divorces the previous week.

Wow, this was news to me. I had always “assumed” (there’s that word again) that Robert had only married once. Now I had this new information.

So my next step was to get in touch with the Provincial Archives of Alberta because I knew that they had divorce records for the province, and I wondered what I might find out. Sure enough, they had the record I wanted; it was 37 pages, and I could purchase it for $16.75.

When the package arrived in the mail … I savored the moment and tidied up the things I had been working on that day. I wanted to take my time and read the document.

I wanted to learn two things;

  • What was Louise Catherine’s maiden name?
  • Did Louise Catherine and Robert Beaton have any children?

The packaged consisted of the divorce certificate, Degree Absolute, Decree NISI, Praecipe to Set Down for Trial which included the Certificate of Marriage, Statement of Claim, a photo of the defendant and plaintiff, Notice which included Affidavit, Notice of Motion which included an affidavit from Louise Catherine Beaton, and finally the Demand of Notice.

So let me give you the “short version” of all this.

  • Catherine Louise Meulenbroek had married Robert Edgar Beaton on May 11, 1949, in Edmonton, Alberta. (There was even a photo of her)
  • There had been one child of the marriage and the child had been adopted out immediately after birth. (The sex of the child was not mentioned.)
  • Catherine and Robert had lived together in marriage until May 1951. But never lived together after that date.
  • Robert Beaton had committed adultery, and Kaye was mentioned. Keep in mind that during that time frame, you had to have grounds for divorce, and adultery or desertion were the only reason at that time. (In 1968, additional reasons were added, such as mental cruelty or a permanent marriage breakdown.) When I read further, the documents stated that Robert had left in 1951 and had committed adultery since that time, which would lead me to believe that perhaps the relationship started later, especially when the divorce proceedings were started in January 1957.

Often couples knew they were never getting back together, so they would decide that one of them would be the adulterer, and I believe often it was the husband. 

I wonder what was going on that they got married and gave their child up for adoption?

But what I did learn is that there is another person out there that could help me with the Beaton/Batten mystery. But of course, they would have to DNA test, or one of their children would have to. So I can only hope.

So my lesson is never to assume that you know all there is to know. Before you come to that conclusion, you should at least search.

Oh and I found out that the photo in the file was a photo in my mother’s collection. I had known it was of Robert Beaton but I never knew who the woman was. Now I did.

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