The Charley and Malinda Divorce, Part II

Welcome back to the Hogue Connection! Today we’ll dive once again into the divorce of Charley and Malinda Hogue and look at how difficult is is to track down ancestors, especially in the late 1800’s. Malinda Jane Williams, who married Charley Hogue in 1885, might easily be confused with others of the same name and history. We’ll look at how many amateur genealogists out there get things wrong and don’t really try to find out the true story.

Before I present the information I have uncovered about the OTHER possible Malinda, I’d like to back track a bit and talk about some of my observations about Family Search, the LDS website that gives you a chance to join their one world, online family tree for free. I have given my opinion a few times along the way, including a bit in Part II of my article Red River Trails here.

Baptism of the Dead…

Members of the LDS Church believe that if they can connect their ancestors to their personal family trees, those folks will go to heaven with them by proxy. It doesn’t matter if they are Mormons or not. This explains their high level interest in their study of genealogy and their contributions to the collection of genealogical documents. This also leads to many mistakes and disregard of common family search protocols. Look at this example from my tree on

Bad family presentation

Mistakes abound here. First of all, Hollin, my 3rd great grandmother (who has been discussed many times on this blog) was never recorded as “Hollace”. We do not know her parentage or maiden name. This whole Hafer thing, again, was based on an erroneous transcription of the 1870 census of Cherokee County, NC. Lewis Haeffer may have existed, but he was not the father of Hollin. Look at the different spellings of his children’s last names with Hanna Arndt. Haver, Hefner, Hafer. One of them might be right, but likely not all of them.

Look, too, at the gap between the birth dates of the children. Malinda (there’s that name again!) was born in 1817 and again in 1843. Would you name two daughters Malinda? A 26 year gap between the same children? Woah. Three more kids came after that, when Hanna was 68 years old and older. Didn’t happen. 9 Children listed total, with one Hollace (nope), two Lewis’s, Two Johns, Two Annes, and two Malindas!

Let’s Think about Accuracy, Folks!

This is a seriously bad profile. You can’t really see who owns it, but you can leave comments and make corrections. In my experience, it doesn’t change anything. Some of my suggested corrections have been changed back to the incorrect one. Most of my tree after William G. is incorrect on FamilySearch and will likely always be. Bottom line, use for record research only! Okay, one more example before I go deeper into the FamilySearch rabbit hole of doom:

Too Many Jackson Kids

I found this one buried in my Jackson line. Notice how there are many repeated names again. Also listed are four siblings, Ann, Jane, Margaret, and Rebecca listed with the same birth year. Two Janes, two Margarets and two Annes. Two Thomas’s with the same birthdate and different dates of death. Something is going on here that I don’t understand, I guess. No one is moderating the info on this so called one world family tree. Many, many mistakes are allowed to happen.

Okay. What About the Other Malinda Jane?

On our Malinda Jane Williams’ profile, I came across this entry:

Extra Malinda Marriage

This is based on this record:

Marriage License of James M. Prince and Malinda J. Williams

The second Malinda J. Williams surfaces in Conway County, Arkansas in 1891, age 19, marrying James Prince. Since nobody knows that Malinda #1 married Charley in 1885 but us, and that Charley and Malinda divorced in 1902, I can see how someone might work this in to their family tree. Remember this from Malinda #1’s deposition:

Our Malinda's Deposition

So, someone at FamilySearch reconstructed Malinda’s life to fit these two marriages. A little research shows that this is not the case. I won’t bore you with the several tedious hours of digging that I did on this, but here is a document that shows the new Malinda’s family in Conway County, Arkansas in 1880:

Malinda #2 Census 1880

Note that she is listed as Martha M.J. Williams. Also keep in mind that there are two Malinda J Williams in the same small county in Arkansas at the same time.

Obviously NOT the Same Malinda…

So, strange name changes aside, here is what I put together for the family life of Malinda J. Williams #2:

James M. Prince was born in Conway County on 29 July 1862. He married his first wife, Martha I. Wells in Conway County on 19 Aug 1883. They had two sons, Harley and Virgil. Not sure what happened to Martha next. James married Malinda J. Williams on 18 Jan 1891. In October of that year, their daughter Myrtle was born. Then, oddly enough, the family moved to Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, near the current town of Ada, Oklahoma, sometime in the next two years. Daughter Elsie was born there in 1896. Two more children, James and Pearl, would follow. James died young, in 1904, at the age of 42. Martha Malinda Jane Williams Prince died 27 Jun 1939 in Bakersfield, Kern, California. Here’s a cool pic of the family taken around 1900 before Pearl came along:

James M. Prince Family, 1900

What color were their clothes, I wonder? Anyway, this Malinda was recorded in various documents as Malinda J., Martha M.J., Martha Jane, and just Jane. I did a search of records on FamilySearch using Malinda Williams, Arkansas, and birth year 1871, and here is a partial look at the results:

Malinda list from Family Search

Note the search results of 41,558. That’s a lot of possibilities based on my minimal input. You can see what result turned up at #2.

Okay, Mike. What’s Your Point?

My point is, using Malinda Jane Williams, Charley’s first wife, as an example, it’s difficult to keep all related information straight. Let’s assume, for now, that the theory that our Malinda was born in Conway, AR to Morton and Mathilda Williams in 1871 is correct. The coincidences between these two Malindas are amazing. Both were born about the same time in the same county in Arkansas. They both ended up in the Indian Territory. Both had about the same lifespan and the same number of children. You would think they might even have been cousins.

How much of this gathered data is correct? Why isn’t the one world family tree on Family Search more accurate? The idea of baptizing the dead should be held to a higher standard. I think it should, based on how important it is to the LDS religion. I get frustrated trying to figure out what is right and what isn’t. Then, when I’m pretty confident in my results and present it as correct, I feel like it gets ignored or maybe just not noticed. That’s one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place. Look at it, folks. If you don’t think it’s right, tell me and we can research the solutions together.

Next…Some Conclusions

…in Part III? Maybe, but I’ll try to wrap things up in my next post. Then again, things never get wrapped up in genealogy, do they? Especially when we are dealing with hunting down ancestors in the 19th century. Hopefully you were able to glean a little insight into what it takes to get your family research done right. Sometimes it’s a struggle!

Thanks for visiting The Hogue Connection and reading more about the divorce of Charley and Malinda Hogue. You can return to the Home page here.

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