Ancestry of Rock Hudson

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The ancestry of Rock Hudson

Copyright 2007-2008, Will Johnson, wjhonson@aol.com, Professional Genealogist, All Rights Reserved. This page is locked, if you'd like to add or correct anything, please email me. I am available for hire to assist you to trace your family or create a biography of you or your relative. I charge $25 per hour.

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My latest version of this article is now at "Ancestry of Rock Hudson" at Examiner.com

Contents

Rock Hudson

Rock Hudson was an American actor, born as Roy Harold Scherer, Jr on Nov 17, 1925 in Winnetka, Cook County, Illinois, the son of Roy Harold Scherer, Sr an auto mechanic, and his wife Katherine "Kay" Wood (d. 1977), who had just married the year before.

Rock's eight-grandparent ethnic-mix is German/Swiss/Swiss/Swiss/English/English/Irish/Irish.

Roy Sr left the family in 1932 and went to California. After Roy left, Kay started dating Wally FitzGerald who worked shoveling coal at the Winnetka Water Works. Oppenheimer's book calls Wally a "tall, handsome, ex-Marine". Kay and Wally married and he adopted Roy who then became called Roy FitzGerald. Oppenheirmer states that Roy hated Wally from the age of nine, and tried to stay away from home as much as possible. (pg 6)

Wally and Kay fought and he would beat her and Roy. They divorced, Kay married him a second time, and they divorced again when Roy was fifteen. Roy FitzGerald went to New Trier High School in Cook County, Illinois, graduating in 1944. Kay became a live-in housekeeper for a wealthy family, and also a telephone operator. For several years they lived above Walgreen's Drug Store.

Roy Sr had kept in touch with his first family, and when Roy was 16 he went to California to visit his father. In 1943 Rock enlisted in the U.S. Navy from which he was discharged in 1946. He returned to Winnetka for a time, living with his mother, but in order to persue his dream of becoming an actor he decided to relocate to California. For a short time he lived with his father who was then living with a wife and daughter in Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California.

Sara Davidson states that his first check for acting, which he'd kept for sentimental reasons, is made out for ten dollars, dated Mar 19, 1948, and endorsed to [his first live-in lover] Kenneth G Hodge.

Primary documents for 1

  • "Rock Hudson: In Winnetka We Called Him Roy", By Maura Rogan hosted at Winnetka History stating : "A 1929 phone directory lists the Scherer's home at 1017 Elm."
  • 1930 New Trier, Cook County, Illinois showing : "Raymond Scherer, 30, IL, married at age 24, Proprietor, Garage; Katherine, 30 IL/England/IL; Raymond H 4 1/12; Lloyd 23 brother, IL, Helper, Gas Station"
  • New York Times, obituary "Rock Hudson" Oct 3, 1985 "Rock Hudson, Screen Idol, Dies at 59" stating such bits as : "...During the Depression, his father lost his job as an automobile mechanic and left the family. His mother, a telephone operator, remarried, and the actor, then 8 years old, took the surname of his stepfather Wallace Fitzgerald. His mother's second marriage ended after nine years." "In 1944, he joined the Navy and served in the Philippines as an airplane mechanic." None of his male lovers were named, his one-time wife Phyllis Gates was.

Seconday sources

  • Rock Hudson, His Story, by Rock Hudson and Sara Davidson; William Morrow and Company, New York. 1986 Click this ISBN 0688064728 to see it at Amazon
  • Idol Rock Hudson : The True Story of an American Folk Hero, by Jerry Oppenheimer and Jack Vitek. Villard Books, 1986. ISBN 0394554892 Click this ISBN 0688064728 to see it at Amazon

Roy Harold Scherer

Roy Harold Scherer was born Jun 3, 1899 in Illinois possibly in Richland County, the son of Illinois natives Theodore Scherer, a farmer, and his wife Lena M Blatter. In 1924 Roy married Catherine "Kay" Wood and they had one child called then Roy Harold Scherer, Jr, but who would later be known as Rock Hudson.

It's unclear why he is called Raymond in the 1930 census, but his SSDI entry calls him Roy and biographers have since called him Roy as well.

In 1932, Roy deserted the family and moved to California. Rock's obituary in the New York Times, states that Roy had lost his job. By 1934, Roy had married to a Florence A somebody, and they are both registered living in Los Angeles City. In the 1930 census, Roy is a Proprietor of a Garage, and in the 1936 Voting Register in Los Angeles he is a mechanic.

Meanwhile Kay started dating Wally FitzGerald. They eventually married and Rock Hudson would now be known as Roy FitzGerald. It was under this name that he was discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1946 and decided to relocate to California to persue his dream of being an actor. At first he lived with his father in Long Beach, but after a short time he moved out.

Roy married thirdly Edith unknown who died shortly before he did. Sara Davidson tells the story that Roy was mentally gone in his old age. His last wife died and he thought she was sleeping, someone else determined that she had died. Roy had an adopted daughter with whom he lived for a short time. It's unclear if he died at her home.

Edith died in Aug, and Roy died in Nov 1982 possibly at Grant's Pass, Oregon which was their last residence.

Primary documentation for 2

  • Illinois Statewide Marriage Index online at Cyberdrive showing : "Theodore Scherer to Lena Blatter May 3, 1896 Richland County"
  • 1910 Census of Preston, Richland County, Illinois showing : "Theodore Scherer, 40, married 13 years ago, IL/Germany/Switz, Farmer; Lena, 36, mother of 6, 6 living b IL/Switz/IL; Pearl 12, b IL; Roy 10 b IL; Luther 8 b IL; Jerome 6 b IL; Julia 6 b IL; Lloyd 3 b IL"
  • 1920 Census of Preston, Richland County, Illinois showing : "Theodore Scherer, 49, b IL/Switz/Switz; Lena M, 45, b IL/Switz/Switz; Pearl E 22 b IL; Roy H 20, b IL; Luther A, 18, b IL; Jerome G 15, b IL; Julia A 15, b IL; Lloyd L, 12, b IL; Evlyn E 2 3/12 b IL"
  • "Rock Hudson: In Winnetka We Called Him Roy", By Maura Rogan hosted at Winnetka History stating : "A 1929 phone directory lists the Scherer's home at 1017 Elm."
  • 1930 New Trier, Cook County, Illinois showing : "Raymond Scherer, 30, IL, married at age 24, Proprietor, Garage; Katherine, 30 IL/England/IL; Raymond H 4 1/12; Lloyd 23 brother, IL, Helper, Gas Station"
  • California Voter Registrations, 1900-1968:
    • Los Angeles City, 1932 : "Roy H Scherer, 247 W 28th St, D[emocrat]"
    • Los Angeles City, 1934 : "Roy H Scherer, 342 W 40th Pl, Democrat; Mrs Florence A Scherer, 342 W 40th Pl, Democrat"
    • Los Angeles City, 1936 : "Roy H Scherer, 342 W 40th Pl, mechanic, Democrat; Mrs Florence A Scherer, 342 W 40th Pl, at home, Democrat"
    • Los Angeles City, 1942 : "Mrs Florence A Scherer, 342 W 40th Pl, at home, Democrat; Roy H Scherer, 342 W 40th Pl, mechanic"
    • Los Angeles City, 1946 : "Mrs Florence A Scherer, 342 W 40th Pl, Democrat; Roy H Scherer, 342 W 40th Pl, Democrat"
    • Los Angeles City, 1948 : "Mrs Florence A Scherer, 342 W 40th Pl, Democrat; Roy H Scherer, 342 W 40th Pl, Democrat"
  • Social Security Death Index showing : "Edith Scherer born 18 Jul 1913, died Aug 1982, last residence Grants Pass, Josephine County, Oregon; SSN issued by Michigan"
  • Social Security Death Index showing : "Roy Scherer, born 3 Jun 1899, died Nov 1982, last residence Grants Pass, Josephine County, Oregon; SSN issued by California"
  • New York Times, obituary "Rock Hudson" Oct 3, 1985 "Rock Hudson, Screen Idol, Dies at 59" stating such bits as : "...During the Depression, his father lost his job as an automobile mechanic and left the family. His mother, a telephone operator, remarried, and the actor, then 8 years old, took the surname of his stepfather Wallace Fitzgerald."

Secondary sources for 2

  • Rock Hudson, His Story, by Rock Hudson and Sara Davidson; William Morrow and Company, New York. 1986 Click this ISBN 0688064728 to see it at Amazon

Katherine Wood

Katherine "Kay" Wood was born about 1900/1 in Illinois probably in Cook County to James Wood and Mary Enright.

In 1924 she married Roy Harold Scherer and they had one son Roy Harold Scherer, Jr who would later become known as Rock Hudson. When Rock was a young boy, Roy Sr left the family and moved to California. Kay began dating Wally FitzGerald, a "tall, handsome, ex-marine" according to Oppenheimer's book. They married, divorced and married again and divorced again when Roy was 15. Wally adopted Roy who then became known as Roy FitzGerald. Oppenheimer states that Roy hated Wally from the age of nine, and tried to stay away from home as much as possible. (pg 6)

Kay and her son Roy lived in Illinois until sometime after Roy joined the U.S. Navy in 1943. When Roy was discharged in 1946 he went to live with his father in California for a short time. It's not clear where Kay was during this period, but by the 50's she is seen in publicity photos with her son, now called Rock Hudson.

Primary documentation for 3

  • Illinois Statewide Marriage Index online at Cyberdrive showing : "James Wood to Mary E Enright Dec 2, 1891 Cook County"
  • 1920 Census of New Trier, Cook County, Illinois showing "James Wood, 53, b England/England/England; Mary 55, b Illinois/Ireland/Ireland; John H 22; Kathrine 19; David 18; John Anderson 34; Gustaw Shaw 42"
  • "Rock Hudson: In Winnetka We Called Him Roy", By Maura Rogan hosted at Winnetka History stating : "A 1929 phone directory lists the Scherer's home at 1017 Elm."
  • 1930 New Trier, Cook County, Illinois showing : "Raymond Scherer, 30, IL, married at age 24, Proprietor, Garage; Katherine, 30 IL/England/IL; Raymond H 4 1/12; Lloyd 23 brother, IL, Helper, Gas Station"
  • 1930 Census of New Trier, Cook County, Illinois showing : "James Wood, 64, England, married at 25; Mary E 65, married at 26"
  • New York Times, obituary "Rock Hudson" Oct 3, 1985 "Rock Hudson, Screen Idol, Dies at 59" stating such bits as : "...During the Depression, his father lost his job as an automobile mechanic and left the family. His mother, a telephone operator, remarried, and the actor, then 8 years old, took the surname of his stepfather Wallace Fitzgerald. His mother's second marriage ended after nine years."

Secondary sources for 3

  • Rock Hudson, His Story, by Rock Hudson and Sara Davidson; William Morrow and Company, New York. 1986 Click this ISBN 0688064728 to see it at Amazon
  • Idol Rock Hudson : The True Story of an American Folk Hero, by Jerry Oppenheimer and Jack Vitek. Villard Books, 1986. Click this ISBN 0688064728 to see it at Amazon

Theodore Scherer

Primary documentation for 4

  • Illinois Statewide Marriage Index online at Cyberdrive showing : "Theodore Scherer to Lena Blatter May 3, 1896 Richland County"
  • 1900 Census of Preston, Richland County, Illinois showing : "Theodore Scherer, Jan 1870, married 4 years ago, IL/Germany/Germany, Farmer; Lena, Oct 1874, married 4 years ago, mother of 2, 2 living, b IL/Switz/IL; Pearl Oct 1897 b IL; Roy b Jun 1899 IL; Adnise? Schmoker, cousin, Jan 1873, IL/Switz/IL"
  • 1910 Census of Preston, Richland County, Illinois showing : "Theodore Scherer, 40, married 13 years ago, IL/Germany/Switz, Farmer; Lena, 36, mother of 6, 6 living b IL/Switz/IL; Pearl 12, b IL; Roy 10 b IL; Luther 8 b IL; Jerome 6 b IL; Julia 6 b IL; Lloyd 3 b IL"
  • 1920 Census of Preston, Richland County, Illinois showing : "Theodore Scherer, 49, b IL/Switz/Switz; Lena M, 45, b IL/Switz/Switz; Pearl E 22 b IL; Roy H 20, b IL; Luther A, 18, b IL; Jerome G 15, b IL; Julia A 15, b IL; Lloyd L, 12, b IL; Evlyn E 2 3/12 b IL"
  • 1930 Census of Preston, Richland County, Illinois showing : "Theodore Scherer, 60, married at 21, b IL/OH/IL, Farmer; Lena M, 55, married at 21, b IL/Switz/IL; Evyline E, 12, b IL"

Lena M Blatter

Primary documentation for 5

  • 1880 Census of Olney, Richland County, Illinois showing : "John H Blatter, 39 b Switz; Mary 25 b IL; (and several children including) Lenia 6 b IL"
  • Illinois Statewide Marriage Index online at Cyberdrive showing : "Theodore Scherer to Lena Blatter May 3, 1896 Richland County"
  • 1900 Census of Preston, Richland County, Illinois showing : "Theodore Scherer, Jan 1870, married 4 years ago, IL/Germany/Germany, Farmer; Lena, Oct 1874, married 4 years ago, mother of 2, 2 living, b IL/Switz/IL; Pearl Oct 1897 b IL; Roy b Jun 1899 IL; Adnise? Schmoker, cousin, Jan 1873, IL/Switz/IL"
  • 1910 Census of Preston, Richland County, Illinois showing : "Theodore Scherer, 40, married 13 years ago, IL/Germany/Switz, Farmer; Lena, 36, mother of 6, 6 living b IL/Switz/IL; Pearl 12, b IL; Roy 10 b IL; Luther 8 b IL; Jerome 6 b IL; Julia 6 b IL; Lloyd 3 b IL"
  • 1920 Census of Preston, Richland County, Illinois showing : "Theodore Scherer, 49, b IL/Switz/Switz; Lena M, 45, b IL/Switz/Switz; Pearl E 22 b IL; Roy H 20, b IL; Luther A, 18, b IL; Jerome G 15, b IL; Julia A 15, b IL; Lloyd L, 12, b IL; Evlyn E 2 3/12 b IL"
  • 1930 Census of Preston, Richland County, Illinois showing : "Theodore Scherer, 60, married at 21, b IL/OH/IL, Farmer; Lena M, 55, married at 21, b IL/Switz/IL; Evyline E, 12, b IL"

James Wood

Born in England about 1866/7.

By 1891 he had moved to the Chicago area where that year he married Mary E Enright. In 1900 they lived in Chicago. From at least 1910 to at least 1930 they lived in New Trier, and possibly this is where they died and are buried as well.

Primary documentation for 6

  • Illinois Statewide Marriage Index online at Cyberdrive showing : "James Wood to Mary E Enright Dec 2, 1891 Cook County"

Mary Enright

Mary Enright was born in 1865 in Illinois of Irish-immigrant parents.

Primary documentation for 7

Adam Schehur

Adam Schehur was born abt 1832 in Germany.

Primary documentation for 8

Secondary sources for 8

Elizabeth Dietrich

Born in Switzerland

Primary documentation for 9

John H Blatter

Born in Switzerland

Primary documentation for 10

Mary Jane Demuth

Born abt 1854/5 in Illinois of Swiss-immigrant parents.

Primary documentation for 11

Secondary sources

Mr Wood

Born in England

Mrs Wood

Born in England

Mr Enright

Born in Ireland

Mrs Enright

Born in Ireland

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