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.