In my never ending quest to locate the parents of an elusive George PURDY (aka BAKER) I came across a Daniel PURDY in the 1900 census living in San Francisco. His birthdate on the 1900 census says "Nov. 1837". I thought....boy that looks familiar and sure enough...William and Elsie Johnson Purdy's son Daniel was born Nov. 14, 1837. He was also noted as "Divorced". But who was his wife? After a lot of specific "googling" and checked birth, death records in California, I found a book "Cemeteries of Santa Clara" by Bea Lichtenstein. On page 59 an Albert Chester LAWRENCE had a daughter "Ellen E. who married a Daniel PURDY of San Francisco."
I found Ellen (divorced) in the 1870 and 1880 census in San Francisco with a son Arthur F. PURDY, b. Feb 23, 1865 or 1867. Arthur later married Nellie WASHBURN. To confirm this I found Arthur's death record which gives his mother's maiden name as "Lawrence". Bingo!
So my guess is that Daniel left his family in Canada and went to California sometime after 1861....married Ellen LAWRENCE, had one child, Arthur, and divorced Ellen by 1870. I also think she remarried sometime in the late 1890's, possibly to a Stephen MASON.
I will send you all the documentation to your email address.