This will be a brief post as there is no obituary, no picture and no tombstone. George W Lynn was born to Harry Alfred Lynn and Clara Irene (McIntyre) Lynn on May 2, 1921. On October 3, 1921, young George died in Shamokin from Cholera Infantum. He is buried in Shamokin Cemetery with his parents though his grave does not contain a tombstone. Cousin George would have been 92 today had he lived.
Earl E. Strausser
Former Fire Chief In Township Dies
Earl E. Strausser, 73, of 839 West Lynn Street, a former Coal Township fire chief, died last night in Shamokin State General Hospital where he had been a patient since Monday. Known familiarly to firemen as “Big Six,” Mr. Strausser had been hospitalized previously from January 26 to February 21.
Born in Locust Dale, June 15, 1890, Mr. Strausser was a son of the late George and Minnie (Derk) Strausser. He attended school in Locust Dale and moved to Shamokin with his parents when he was a boy. He worked as a miner at area collieries.
Mr. Strausser was married in Shamokin to the late Martha May Bradigan, who died August 29, 1960. He served as Coal Township fire chief during the year 1950 and was a 40 – year member of Maine Fire Company. He was a member of Poor Shot Hunting Camp, also.
Survivors include the following children: Miss Vivian Strausser, at home; Mrs. George (Peggy) Nahodil, Levittown; Earl (Sam) Strausser, Shamokin; four sisters, Mrs. Verna Brubaker, Trevorton; Mrs. Pearl DeClercq, Jacksonville, Fla.; Mrs. Miriam Kaseman and Miss Alma Strausser, Shamokin; two brothers, Elmer, Brighton, Mich., and Charles, Crosswell, Mich.; nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are in charge of Lucas Funeral Directors. Details appear on page two, column one.
Obituaries can be of great help, especially for finding the marriage name of a female that may have disappeared. While obituaries can be a wonderful find for both family members and the family historian, the above obituary is a perfect example of why they cannot be considered absolute fact. This obituary states that Peggy (Strausser) Nahodil is the daughter of Earl; the first problem with this is that Peggy is a nickname and the other issue is that she was not his biological daughter. Earl’s brother had died many years prior and Earl and his wife took Peggy in and raised her as their own. Without knowing this information, a family tree would end up all out of whack. This is my go-to obituary to always remember that obits are helpful tools and not primary sources.
March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family?
Throughout the summer of 1935, Rosemond Nahodil talked of attending school for the first time. Rosemond was anxious to get her books and begin the journey of learning how to read, write and spell. She spoke of it constantly and when the opening day drew near she was as thrilled as any little girl could be.
On Saturday, August 31, 1935, 6 year old Rosemond completed her preparations for attending school. Her mother had her clothing cleaned and ironed for within 48 hours the youngster would begin school.
The following day Rosemond complained of not feeling well. She was stricken acutely ill and her anxious parents called for a physician, who ordered her placed in bed and immediately began treatments. But Rosemond failed to rally. Her condition became critical the following Friday and at 11:00 that night she was rushed to Shamokin hospital. Five hours later she died.
Rosemond would never have the chance to begin the adventure she looked forward to for so long. Though her older brother George, my grandfather, did not speak of this often, I know that her death affected him deeply. When I was her age, my grandfather bought me books and we spent the summer playing school; it now seems to me that this may have been influenced by Rosemond’s abrupt death.
March 10 — What role did religion play in your family? How did your female ancestors practice their faith? If they did not, why didn’t they? Did you have any female ancestors who served their churches in some capacity?
Growing up, I never heard anyone talk about church, talk about going to church or even mention what our ancestor’s religion was. This was normal for me and never thought twice about it until I was involved with genealogy for a few years. Once my research took be back so far, I wasn’t sure where to look next since my people were farmers out in the middle of nowhere. And by this point I just figured that you were only supposed to following the males since the women almost always seemed to drop of the face of the Earth never to be seen again…unless you were lucky enough to find a parent on a census listed as the mother or father-in-law of the head of the household.
It was only in the past couple of years that I received a death certificate listing a Lutheran Cemetery in Trevorton as the place of burial. Off to Trevorton I went, found my ancestors and discovered that the cemetery was affiliated with the local Lutheran Church in that town. I had searched every other avenue and turned up empty but this was something new to go on. A visit to FamilySearch.org told me that microfilm was available that contained the church records for the years I was researching…best $7 I even spent.
Once the microfilm was delivered to my local Family History Center, I began the task of trying to decipher when I was looking at and then it hit me that it was in German. Bummer! I kept scrolling until I hit a point where I understood a few of the words. A few years later all of the records were written in English…thankfully. WooHoo…I found a Wetzel! I turns out that my ancestor’s weren’t attending church or baptizing their children, not even a marriage record up to this point. Everything changed when my 2nd great grand uncle Howard Wetzel married Hannah Elizabeth Osman in 1903.
Hannah was baptized in this church in 1882 and this is the church she would attend for the entirety of her life. Her children were baptized here and this is also where a few of them married. Now, while Hannah wasn’t a blood relative she was the one who influenced my family to join the church. Through her guidance and example, many of my people did in fact join the church and would be baptized as adults. Once such baptism brought tears to my eyes; at the age of nine my great grandmother was baptized at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. The sponsors were her uncle and his wife; the parents list were Laura Wetzel and …Richard Williams. My great grandmother was born out of wedlock and the family never provided the name of the father so nobody ever knew who he was…including my great grandma.
Though my line of the family didn’t stay with the church, it was this introduction that generated enough records to help me find my family. I know that there are some Wetzel lines coming out of Trevorton that have remained with the church and continue to practice their faith to this day.
March 2 — Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?
This photograph is the only one I have ever seen of Mildred Wetzel, my great-grandmother’s aunt. I estimate that this is taken somewhere around 1910, give or take a couple years. It is funny how after years of looking at this photograph, it was only today that I noticed that it was taken by a Pittsburgh photographer.
Pittsburgh…what was she doing in Pittsburgh? Was she alone? How did she end up there? Aunt Mil is one of my female ancestors that drives me slightly crazy as birth, death and census records provide just enough information to show that at some point between 1900 and 1920 she not only left the small coal town in which she was born but she also left behind her father, siblings, cousins and friends. Everything and everyone she knew was in Trevorton, so how did she end up in Peoria, Illinois? Though I have yet to find her on the 1910 census, I was able to find death and burial records for some of her children starting in 1918; this has left me with an 18 year gap.
Multiple census records for her oldest son, Milton, show that he was born in Washington D.C. in 1909. I haven’t yet found the birth place of her second child, Harry, who was born in 1911. Census and death records for her third child show that Myrtle Ione was born in Peoria, Ill in 1912.
Millie’s husband Frank passed away in 1924 in Peoria and like their children who predeceased him, he was taken to Trevorton for burial. As of the 1930 census, the young widow was still living in Peoria. By 1940, Mildred had married William Patterson and they were living in Fairfax County, Virginia; this is where most of her descendants still live.
So for a quick recap:
1887 – 1900: Mildred was single and living at home in Trevorton, PA.
1909: Mildred and Frank’s son Milton was born in Washington D.C.
1911: Mildred and Frank’s second child was born at an unknown location.
1913 – 1930: Mildred resided in Peoria, IL with her husband and children.
1940: Mildred and her second husband live in Virginia.
Note: Bill was born in Indiana and died in Virginia in 1941.
1963: Aunt Millie passed away in Manassas, VA
To Present: Millie’s descendants continue to live in the Manassas area.
As fellow family historians, I am sure you all can see why I would be so curious about this fearless female ancestor of mine. 71 years – 2 husbands, 6 children (at least 3 died during childhood), 4 states, and one pretty sweet picture taken in a mystery Pittsburgh photography studio about 100 years ago.