String Genealogy and My Connection to Actress Clara Bow

The beautiful actress, Clara Bow. - Image PD Wikimedia Commons
The truly beautiful actress, Clara Bow.
Clara Bow was a gorgeous silent movie actress who suffered an unusually difficult upbringing. Her father Robert though a capable man never prospered. As a result, the family was poor. Her mother Sarah, injured in a fall, suffered brain damage that severely affected her personality and behavior. Sarah was cared for by her daughter, even though Sarah had at one time, nearly murdered Clara.

Her Career

Although she had been picked on as a child, she was surpassingly successful in her role as actress, making 46 silent films and 11 talkies. Called the “It” girl because of her appearance in a film having that title, she was viewed as a sex symbol of the flapper era.

I am deeply into family history. One day I realized one of my distant connections, Cure (French – doubtless pronounced q-ray’) married a Mowrey relation of Clara Bow. So while I’m not truly related to Clara in the usual sense, I like to say I am related if you use what I’ve dubbed String Genealogy.

My Connection to Clara Bow

Here’s how String Genealogy works: Lay out the broadest family tree you can, including uncles, great uncles, third cousins and everyone under the sun you possibly can. Then take an ordinary string. Connect yourself by twisting the string through every turn until you reach the desired relative. Here is my twisting and turning that leads me to Clara Bow, my “relative.”

Clara Gordon Bow (1905 – 1965)
Clara was the daughter of

Robert Walter Bow (1875 – 1959)
By his 1st Wife Sarah F. Gordon (1879 – 1923)

Robert Walter Bow (1875 – 1959)
Married 2nd Wife Idella Elizabeth Mowrey

Idella Elizabeth Mowrey (c 1904 –     )
Was the daughter of Ella May Cure/Curea (1886 – 1970) and husband John Mowrey (dates unknown)

Ella May Cure/Curea (1886 – 1970)
Was the daughter of Jule Ferdinand Jr Cure (1844 – 1923) & Elizabeth “Lizzie” Lehman (1858 – 1922)

Jule Ferdinand Jr Cure (1844 – 1923)
Was the son of Jule Ferdinand Sr Cure (1810 – 1853) & Sophia Perkins Maull (1812 – 1887)

Jule Ferdinand Sr Cure (1810 – 1853)
Was the father of Marie Antoinette Hortense Cure (1842 – 1904)

Marie Antoinette Hortense Cure (1842 – 1904)
Married George Childs Fitzgerald (1841 – 1913)

George Childs Fitzgerald (1841 – 1913)
Was the son of James Austin Fitzgerald (1816 – 1858) & Elizabeth “Eliza” Long (1823 – 1858)

James Austin Fitzgerald (1816 – 1858)
Was the son of George Killinger Sr Fitzgerald (1785 – 1828) & Elizabeth Rees (c. 1788 – 1865)

George Killinger Sr Fitzgerald (1785 – 1828)
Was the father of Wilson Sr Fitzgerald (1819 – 1905)

Wilson Sr Fitzgerald (1819 – 1905) & Mary “Joanna” Colhauer (1826 – 1908)
Were the parents of Fannie Bockius Fitzgerald (1856 – 1915)

Fannie Bockius Fitzgerald (1856 – 1915) & John Elwood Stockham (1856 – 1888)
Were the parents of Adele Kite Stockham (1887 – 1968)

Adele Kite Stockham (1887 – 1968) & Edward Clifford Sr Ayres (1886 – 1946)
Were the parents of Adele Stockham Ayres (1917 – 1983)

Adele Stockham Ayres (1917 – 1983) & Vincent DePaul Summers (1920 – 1987)
Were the parents of Vincent Edward Summers (1948 –    )

Clara Bow
Robert W. Bow (center)
Interestingly, Idella Elizabeth Mowrey who married Robert Bow, was with him for only one day. She split the next day. He was served with divorce papers. But the marriage was “annulled” (a term meaning to end a marriage, but that carries no scriptural validity) by a judge at Bow’s request. The judge called Idella “the world’s greatest gold digger.”

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3 Comments

  • Vincent Summers Reply

    Since, in the Bible, there is no such thing as an annulment, and since his first wife had died, Idella was married to Clara’s father more than a day. But, at best, this means my connection to Clara Bow lasted a mere 4 years and 2 months, as Robert re-married in September of 1928. Whether 1 day or 4 years, it is “neat” to be able to say I “connect” to Clara Bow.

  • Salley J Robins Reply

    So that’s where you got your movie star looks! Wasn’t she a doll. Thanks for sharing. SJR

  • Strong Bones Reply

    Idella was only 1 year older than his daughter Clara! Beautiful photograph. That’s a great idea of string genealogy. I think I tried that out a few times as a child but my parents were having none of it!

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