Ancestor’s Anniversary – August 24, 2013 – Laura Belle (Wetzel) Klinger

Laura Belle Wetzel was born in Trevorton, Pa. on August 24, 1870, daughter of Henry and Catherine (Kissinger) Wetzel whose children were as follows: Nelson, Laura (married Landis Klinger), Harriet (married Charles Murray), Carrie, Howard, Weimer, Harry, Mildred (married Frank Evans followed by William Patterson) and Grant (died young).

 

Laura gave birth to her first child, Ada Mae, on November 19, 1891; this first child was born illegitimate and the father’s name kept a secret and remained unknown to the family until 2012 when baptism records were found showing the father to be a man named Richard Williams.

 

In 1900, Laura moved to Philadelphia and married Landis Klinger.  January 1, 1903 brought the birth and death of the couple’s first son, Russell.  In April of the following year, Laura gave birth to Landis and a year later to their son Ralph.

 

Laura (Wetzel) Klinger holding young Marlin Strausser (c.1909)

Laura (Wetzel) Klinger holding young Marlin Strausser (c.1909)

Upon moving to Philadelphia, Laura and Landis settled in the Strawberry Mansion section of the city and it is there that she lived in the same Gordon Street house for the next sixty-five years.

 

Laura was very close to her younger brother Howard so the siblings always made sure to get together to celebrate their birthdays, which were a day apart.  The pair continued to celebrate their birthdays together up to and including when Howard passed away during their annual birthday gathering in 1957.

 

Howard Wetzel and Laura (Wetzel) Klinger celebrating their birthdays together

Howard Wetzel and Laura (Wetzel) Klinger celebrating their birthdays together

Not only was Laura close with her brother Howard but also his youngest son Royal.  Royal grew up spending much time with his aunt, including spending summers with her and her family in Philadelphia.

 

Ralph Wetzel, Lillian (Murray) DeConcini, Elizabeth (Osman) Wetzel, Royal Wetzel, Laura (Wetzel) Klinger, Landis Klinger Sr, Howard Wetzel

Ralph Wetzel, Lillian (Murray) DeConcini, Elizabeth (Osman) Wetzel, Royal Wetzel, Laura (Wetzel) Klinger, Landis Klinger Sr, Howard Wetzel

On January 8, 1965 Laura died and was buried with her husband Landis and son Ralph at Whitemarsh Memorial Park.  Laura is now buried with her husband, three of her children, and two of her grandchildren; one day she will be joined by a great grandchild who was born a decade too late but loves her none the less.

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Sunday’s Obituary – Landis Klinger

 

 

Obituary for Landis Klinger JR as published in The Philadelphia Inquirer on 06/07/1970.

Obituary for Landis Klinger JR as published in The Philadelphia Inquirer on 06/07/1970.

KLINGER
LANDIS, JR., on June 4, 1970, of 3042 W. Gordon St., beloved son of the late Landis and Laura Klinger and brother of Mrs. Mae Strausser; also survived by 3 nieces and 3 nephews.  RElatives, friends and employes of PNB are invited to the service Monday, 1 P.M., from the parlors of Harold B. Mulligan, 1119 W. Lehigh ave.  Int. Whitemarsh Memorial Park, Friends are invited Sunday eve., 7 to 9.

 

Landis was born on April 18, 1904 to Landis and Laura (Wetzel) Klinger.  Born in Philadelphia, he lived in the same house in the Strawberry Mansion section of the city throughout his entire life. Landis’ father died in 1941, his mother in 1965 and his younger brother Ralph died in 1962.  Mae (Wetzel) Strausser was Landis’ step sister, they had different fathers.

 

Landis never married or had children and he was a banker for at least forty years.  I wish I could include his photograph in this post but I have not yet found one as he seemed to always be the person taking the pictures.

 

Whitemarsh Memorial Park, Ambler, PA.

Whitemarsh Memorial Park, Ambler, PA.

Wordless Wednesday is Ancestor’s Anniversary – William Henry Wetzel

William Henry Wetzel born May 8, 1893 - died November 19, 1951

William Henry Wetzel
born May 8, 1893 – died November 19, 1951
Buried Odd Fellows Cemetery; Coal Township, PA

Fearless Females: March 10 – Church

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.

 PA_Trevorton_ZionEvangelicalLutheranChurch_20120526_123230

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.

 

Where did they sit?

Where did they sit?

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.

Fearless Females: March 3 – Name sharing

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

 

I do not share my first name with any of my ancestors; though it is far from unique, I am the only one with this name on my family tree.  I do however share my middle name with my great-grandmother Ada Mae (Wetzel) Strausser.  There are currently 25 of us sharing Mae as a middle name.  I suspect there are more but I am still working on determining many of the ladies middle names though there are plenty of M middle initials and Mary and Marie are not commonly used names in my family.

 

Mae never went by Ada and everyone was surprised to find out that her first name wasn’t Mae.  Being partially named after my great-grandma has always strengthened the connection I felt with her.  Since she died when I was very young, I am happy to share something with her that will last a lifetime.

Fearless Females: March 2 – Photograph of Mildred Wetzel

Mildred E. Wetzel Evans Patterson (ca. 1910)

Mildred E. Wetzel Evans Patterson (ca. 1910)

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.

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”.