August 9, 2013: Ancestor’s (100th) Anniversary – Thelma (Strausser) Rothman

Rothman(Strausser)Thelma

Thelma Strausser, the second of seven children born to George and Ada Mae (Wetzel) Strausser,  was born August 9, 1913 in Trevorton, PA.  Within  a few short years of her birth, her family moved to neighboring Coal Township.  Thelma’s father George was killed in a mining accident when Thelma was just 13 years of age.

 

Aside from the mines that took the life of the head of the family, there were few options for employment so the family decided to relocate to Philadelphia.  Not only did this move provide more opportunities, but it also moved them to the same neighborhood as Thelma’s grandmother Laura and her family.

 

Thelma married notorious police figure and numbers runner Max Rothman around 1933 and by 1934 they had their first son, Clair A. Rothman.  A year later came their second son George and in 1939 they gave birth to their daughter Maxine.

 

By 1940 the Rothman family was living in Upper Darby.  Tens years later they were living in Millbourne, which is a neighboring community of Upper Darby.  I have spoken to an elderly cousin who remembers Thelma and told me stories of taking trips in Thelma’s convertible down to the Rothman’s shore home at the Jersey shore.  From pictures I have seen and people I have talked with I, hear over and over again that Thelma was a physically stunning woman who women tried to emulate.

 

Thelma went missing in the early morning hour of April 11, 1951; her car was found later that same morning on the Strawberry Mansion Bridge.  The Philadelphia Police searched the area and Fairmount Park guards dragged the Schuylkill River without success.  On April 26, Thelma’s body was found floating in the Schuylkill River five miles from where her car was found.

 

Official date of death is April, 26, 1951; cause of death is drowning; age 37 years.

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Fearless Females: March 1 – Favorite Female Ancestor

To celebrate Women’s History Month and honor our female ancestors, Lisa Alzo from The Accidental Genealogist has posted a series of 31 blogging prompts for the month of March.

 

March 1 – Do you have a favorite female ancestor?  Absolutely!  My great grandmother Ada Mae Wetzel is my favorite female ancestor; she is also the only great grandparent I have ever known.  Though she died when I was very young, I fondly remember my visits her and Aunt Gussie in North Philadelphia.

 

The woman I knew and have felt connected to throughout my entire life was a mystery for much of that time.  I did not grow up hearing stories or other memories about my great grandmother nor was anyone open to talking or answering my questions about her.  I am certain that the secrecy surrounding her life and relationships only enhanced my desire to know more about the woman she was and the life she lead.

Bid in the doorway of her North Philadelphia home around 1950.

Bid in the doorway of her North Philadelphia home around 1950.

Over the past three years I have not only learned a tremendous amount about Ada Mae but I have also been fortunate to meet “new” cousins of the removed variety that knew this amazingly strong woman and have helped to fill in many blanks as well as provide pictures and their memories of her.  Many of my posts throughout this month will be dedicated to this remarkable woman most simply knew as “Bid”.

Wordless Wednesday: Horsing around

Little Howard Wetzel (ca 1940).  The Strawberry Mansion (Philadelphia) photographer often used ponies in photos of young children.

Little Howard Wetzel (ca 1940). The Strawberry Mansion (Philadelphia) photographer often used ponies in photos of young children.