McMurry Adoption Mystery

When digging through your family history you are bound to find an interesting story or two, some mysteries, and perhaps some scandals.  I recently have run across an interesting story, with some mystery enveloping it.

James McMurry, who lived in Port Townsend and was one of the first photographers in western Washington, had an adopted son named George Faulkner McMurry.  In all my documents and research I’ve never been able to come up with any information on how they adopted him, when, or why they didn’t have any children of their own.  George was mentioned in a letter that I posted on here.  I have done a lot of searching for articles or other vital information on his life, but couldn’t come up with much.  All I knew was from the letter James wrote to my great-grand father.

One night as I was searching online through some RootsWeb posts, I came across a woman searching for more information on James McMurry.  This James had the same birth & death dates as my James, so I replied to her.  Boy did she have a story for me! Apparently George has a biological brother.  Their father was a captain of a ship that went down in the Caribbean.  Both of the boys were saved, but their mother and father went down with the ship.  This is the information she had about George:

“George was married briefly but don’t know her name. There were no children that we know of. George was born Nov 23,1899 in NYC and died Jan 9,1945 in San Francisco. As you’ve probably gathered from your letter and notes he was in the merchant marine.”

George Faulkner

George was actually murdered, but I’m not sure why.  A few months after talking with this woman about George I was digging through some Washington census papers.  I discovered that George’s brother, Douglas, actually DID live with James’ family!  Douglas and George both appear in the 1910 census as “adopted”.  Before this finding, all I knew is that only George lived with them, and we didn’t know why BOTH boys didn’t.  In 1912 Grace, James’ wife, died.  My suspicion is that after she died, Douglas went to live with relatives.

Now, how did the boys go to live with James and Grace who live in Washington State when the boys were originally from NY?  This is another guess, but Grace is also from NY, and that is where her and James met initially.  I wonder if she was their god-mother, and when the parents died they got the children rather than a relative.

I hope to find out more about Grace’s history, as I think that may shed more light on this puzzle.  This is one reason why I love genealogy- there’s always mystery and always something more to discover!

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