Record keeper: Bride, groom both named Ethel

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - By Bob Hallmark - bio | email
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LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Gregg County workers are trying to save some deteriorating record books and getting a few laughs along the way.

Dating back to the 1870's, hand written Gregg County records are now being converted to digital archives. But, the process has unearthed some strange notations.

"A couple got married," began Dena Dotson, with microfilming and indexing. "The groom's name is Ethel and so is the wife's."

Causes of death include everything from "poor grub" to "acute indigestion."

"We're not quite sure what acute indigestion would have been," said Connie Wade, a Gregg County clerk.

Often times there are numerous recorders.

"We may be looking at three different penmanships on a marriage record," said Wade.

The marriage records seem to be the strangest.

"Interpreting handwriting can be difficult because it was hand written," said Wade. "Especially the marriage records, the marriage records were hand written and in many cases it's up to interpretation."

"They had gotten the marriage license, and the groom brought it back because the bride had criminal relations with his brother," said Dotson.

Among the bizarre entries over the years, one case still baffles record keepers, involving a marriage that never happened because of a mysterious bystander. Records show it did not take place because an older man was watching.

"Not executed," Dotson read. "The old gentleman was watching too close. That's what it says. What does that mean? We don't know."

Often marginal notes have been inserted to explain what happened.

The fun is just beginning. The record keepers have more than 100 volumes to archive.

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