After all these years, I had long forgotten George Troutman’s wife’s name, although I vividly remembered her feisty personality. Several times I tried to figure out which one of the winning jockeys of the Kentucky Derby might have been her son, but all I could remember was it was sometime in the early 50s, and without knowing her married name from her first marriage, I didn’t have enough to go on.
Then last year I started noodling around on a genealogy site and discovering all sorts of things about relatives near and distant. George Troutman was there; that’s how I discovered he had lived with Mary Hoffa (pronounced “Hoffee”) for a spell as a teenager, but his record on the site didn’t include his wife.
I had reached an impasse.
Then I had an idea. Why not send a message to one of the people who had updated George’s record on the site; perhaps he would know or might be able to put me in touch with someone who would. And that’s what I did, and the very first person I sent a note to got back to me within a day.
According to him, her name was some variation of “Katharine” although everyone knew her as “Kay”. He told me that they were the aunt and uncle of his mother and that she could give me more details, and he gave me his mother’s email address.
I wrote to her immediately and she replied almost at once. She confirmed my memories of George and Kay, who were actually her great uncle and aunt, and supplied me with some additional details about them and some other distant relatives. With what I knew now, I was easily able to find Kay’s record on the genealogy site, which had been linked to a duplicate record of George’s. I cleared out the duplicate, linked it to the more complete record, and added a few more details that I could now supply.
Jennie Catherine Duley was born on August 28, 1910, in Kings Norton, Worcestershire, England. Six weeks later she and her parents immigrated to the United States and settled in Boston, Massachusetts. According to a note on the site, she used her middle name most of her life. When she received the nickname “Kay” is not known, but it may have been about the time she married her first husband.
In 1927 (or thereabouts) she married Gay Arthur York with whom she had three children, Fay, Gay, and Ray—do you begin to see a pattern?
Gay York Sr. passed away in 1943, and a year or so later Kay married George Troutman; they remained together until his death in 1981. Kay died the following year.
According to an article in May 2, 2007, issue of the Louisville Voice-Tribune:
York was 20 when he won, and he already had ridden in two Derbies (’51 and ’52). He also lied about his age to begin riding when he was 15. He later had mounts in the ’59 and ’62 Derbies. After winning, York’s thoughts turned to his father who bought him his first horse but died before he ever got to see his son race.
“When I crossed the finish line, I just looked up and said, ‘Thanks, Daddy.’ ”
Ray is still with us, as far as I can, uh, determine, and living in California at the age of 86.