True Love and Family History

True love and family history in 1907 from the front page
of the Chicago Tribune for three two people in my family tree.

Frederick William Jellison and Anna Grant fell in love in Chicago in 1907. Anna was a milliner and the daughter of Irish-born Roman Catholics. Frederick worked at a building supply company. But Frederick’s archetypal rich uncle and mean sisters apparently judged Anna as “not ‘high-toned’ enough.”

True Love and Family History

Chicago Tribune, 16 Aug 1907, pp. 1, 3.

To see what happened to the lovers, I ended up researching the wife of the husband of the niece of the wife of my 2nd great-uncle. We’ve all been there, I know, and usually after midnight!

True Love Elopement

Frederick did indeed forsake his family fortune and eloped over the state line with his chosen bride, Anna. After their marriage on 14 Aug 1907 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Frederick and Anna returned to Chicago to live with her parents. There Frederick progressed in his career.

Frederick and his sister Elsie repaired their relationship at some point; in 1908, Frederick and Anna named their first-born after this sister. (I haven’t figured out who the rich uncle was – yet.)

In 1910, Frederick, Anna, and their first-born are living with Anna’s parents in Chicago. Two years later, a namesake son is born to the couple.

The Parting

But this story does not end happily. On 22 Feb 1917, Anna Grant Jellison died of brain cancer, just short of ten years after her marriage to Frederick. She was just 34, leaving two children under the age of 5 and her grieving widower.


Four years later, Frederick and my relative wed in Ohio, but the marriage failed after a few years. Frederick continued his successful career as an executive in a building supply company. My relative contracted a second marriage that lasted 37 years.

Frederick died in Washington, DC, in 1945. His obituary said he was the “beloved husband of the late Anna Grant Jellison.”

True love and genealogy – for two people, but not three.

For the tender-hearted among my readers, here’s one more story of true love and family history at this link.

For other entries in this month’s Genealogy Blog Party, click here.

About the Author:

Nancy Loe has an MA in American History and an MLS in Library Science and Archives. She has appeared on PBS’s American Experience, at Rootstech, SCGS Jamboree, and state and regional genealogy conferences. Her website was featured in Family Tree Magazine's “Social Media Mavericks: 40 to Follow.”


  1. Greg M Newton 12 February 2018 at 10:06 AM - Reply

    One possible clue to investigate is the wife’s Catholic religion. It could be that the Jellison’s were Protestant and had strong anti-Catholic beliefs.

    • Nancy Loe 12 February 2018 at 3:45 PM - Reply

      Good thought, Greg. Not sure if Frederick converted, but he stayed Catholic and was buried in a Catholic cemetery.

  2. Liz Gauffreau 9 February 2018 at 6:10 PM - Reply

    My immediate thought, after, Good for you, Frederick, was, How did the story make the papers–and in detail?

    • Nancy Loe 9 February 2018 at 8:50 PM - Reply

      I know, right? The story was picked up by newspapers in Kansas and Nebraska. No idea how it became newsworthy.

  3. emptybranches 9 February 2018 at 5:33 PM - Reply

    It’s interesting that Frederick’s sisters and an uncle were the ones to object. The threats of being disinherited were normally from mom and dad! They followed their hearts and seemed to have had ten happy years together.

    • Nancy Loe 9 February 2018 at 8:48 PM - Reply

      It is interesting. Frederick’s mother died when he was nine; his father was a Civil War veteran in poor health living in a U.S. National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers downstate. I want to find the proverbial rich uncle. The sisters are a puzzle. One sister divorced and ended up running a boardinghouse for a while. Not very “high-toned”!

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