Thursday, April 19, 2018


Sarah Wiedrich Suffers a Loss
Often people suffer misfortune because of natural events, house fires or political events but Sarah suffered hers at the hand of her son-in-law. After her husband died Sarah had difficulty meeting financial obligations. After all she was a woman born in 1868 and she is now almost 80-yrs-old. Her large house went up for sheriff’s sale and she may have harbored some hope when her son-in-law, Neal bought the house. But while Neal would allow her to continue to live in the house she bedroom would be a small room under the stairs. Any of her treasures and family heirlooms would have to fit in her bedroom. Neal then proceeded to take everything else to the town dump. Years later he would regret doing this because he said he could have received lots of money for those antiques. Never mind that he threw out portraits of her ancestors that were over 100 years old. In the small pallor she had her chair where she would be squeezed between the front door and the wall. Even in death Sarah would suffer the loss of her heritage when her granddaughter would throw out letters written to her from mother Matilda. The granddaughter would say she didn’t know any Matilda.
#52 Ancestors 2018

Monday, April 9, 2018

52 Ancestors: A Woman of Strength - Hazel Bristol Wiedrich


52 Ancestors: A Woman of Strength – Hazel Bristol Wiedrich
My grandmother was the strongest woman I ever knew. Hazel Bristol Wiedrich faced adversity her entire life. Her father was a man who came from a family who thought of themselves as cut above the rest. Her mother, Mattie was the proverbial woman from the other side of the tracks. When she was three her father died of cancerous tumors that necessitated amputating his arm at the elbow. Her father’s sister wanted to raise Hazel, but her mother declined. This was a little bit confusing since Mattie was somewhat mean spirited to her and inserted herself in all of Hazel’s friendships. Her mother did wash and had boarders and would eventually marry one of them, John Isaac. As a small child Hazel injured her shin which never would heal. She would under go more than a dozen operations before a surgery where her incision would be left open for a “fresh air treatment”. This caused the bone to disintegrate to the point that amputation was necessary. The doctors could not convince her mother that what her daughter had was different than her husband. The leg only needed to be amputated below the knee, but Mattie insisted on the amputation at the top of the thigh. This was before WWI and medicine was not as it is today. Many people didn’t survive amputation and so they complied. They also required her beautiful auburn waist length hair be shorn. Some believed long hair sapped your strength and so off went her hair. She survived the amputation but in photos taken at that time her appearance shows the toll it took. Her mother told her she needed to have a trade since no man would ever marry her. She learned haberdashery. Then one day my grandfather, Edward Wiedrich delivered ice to their home and a romance began. She married at the age of 25 and her mother continued to insert herself by going on the honeymoon with the couple. The next year found Hazel pregnant with her first child. Mattie went to the police station to insist her son-in-law be arrested for getting her daughter pregnant. Her daughter’s brother-in-law was a police officer present at this event and said all in the station had a good laugh. Eventually Hazel had four daughters. Money was always tight. They lost a home and later a farm. When they moved to New Jersey things were no better. They lived in a truck. My poor one-legged grandmother had to climb up into her home where there was no running water or electric. They lived like this for 5 years. But like always she not only made do but never complained and saw only the brighter side of life. This was during WWII when life was difficult for everyone and my grandfather only made it worse. He left for a year to be a merchant sailor. He sent no money home for the family and when he returned brought no money back. Fortunately, the oldest daughter worked as did my 12-yr-old mother to help support them during those difficult years. Then my grandfather decided that life was better in Florida and moved my grandmother and two of the daughters to Tampa. There they still had the truck to live in until they moved into a small cabin in DeSoto Park. A few years later they finally had a house. All the while Hazel always looked on the bright side, never complaining. She also lived with several physical problems. She had cataracts, became deaf in one ear and hard of hearing in the other, and developed diabetes all in her twenties. She used crutches until her later years when she was forced to go in a wheel chair. She was the strongest woman I know and the most outstanding person who saw the positive side of life whatever the circumstances.

#Hazel Wiedrich, #52 Ancestors Strength, #51 Ancestors 2018

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


52 Ancestors 2018 -Lucky John Wiedrich
I wish I had a lucky story of someone winning the lottery, but my lucky story is of surviving an accident. My grandfather, Edward Wiedrich and his father John Wiedrich would go to the woods to cut wood to earn some money. John always wore a raggy sweater and my grandfather would warn him that is was dangerous when operating a chain saw. Sure enough, on one of their outings the sweater got caught in the saw and severed John arm. My grandfather made a tourniquet with his belt and was able to get him to a hospital in time to save his life. John was resilient and still found ways to get tasks done. When working in his garden he would tie a garden tool to his arm and dig or hoe or rake.
#52 Ancestors, #52 Ancestors 2018, #52 Ancestors 2018 Lucky, #John Wiedrich, #Wiedrich genealogy, 


Sunday, February 25, 2018


Family Heirlooms
Those family heirlooms. Perhaps they are just a little old. They were your parents’ precious possessions. Maybe they are generations or centuries old. You may know little or nothing of the original owner, just that it was something passed down through those lines to you. The value may be great or have no monetary worth. But now they are yours or at least yours as a curator of those heirlooms. With that responsibility comes the difficult decisions to which descendants will receive these precious objects. Let’s face it, you received these heirlooms because your siblings aren’t interested, may sell them on-line or toss them in the damp cellar.
I’ve been a curator for most of my family’s heirlooms. A plate with a dog and dog house on it supposedly came with my second great grandparents from Germany. It appears to be a rustic plate made of stein material. My mother’s grandmother gave it to my father. She always called him “her big boy” even though that relationship was only through marriage. Cut glass pieces belonged to my mom, my dad’s sister, and his parents. Unfortunately, I don’t know who’s whose was whose. My grandfather’s shaving mug with his name in gold letters that would have been at his barber’s shop sits in my china closet. There is a musical photo album that was a wedding gift to my grandmother from her mother. Many more treasures are in my “museum”. People don’t use doilies any longer but there are quite a few in a drawer because they were something my mother, grandmother and great grandmother created. Photographs abound too. Those I am trying to digitize and give electronic copies in case disaster strikes and copies will still exist.
But why are all these things with me? My parents had siblings. Did they get family heirlooms? I know some did and still have them. Others received objects but didn’t keep them. Still others never had something passed to them. Their parents knew better than to trust them with an heirloom. Thank you, family, for your confidence in me to care for them but it is getting a little crowded at my house.

#52 Ancestors Heirlooms, #Heirlooms

Saturday, February 24, 2018


Be My Valentine
Valentine’s Day has such a myriad of memories. My childhood ones are of making cards in school. Construction paper, paper doilies and crayons. Other times it was the packages of funny cards bought at the store. Then on Valentine’s Day everyone in the class had a paper bag that we decorated and had our name. We put our cards in everyone’s bags, shared candy and looked the cards we received.
At home I remember the special Valentine my dad would give my mom. It would be a large decorated heart candy box. Often on the top was a fancy doll. I would get a candy box too.
My maternal grandmother, Hazel Wiedrich was born on Valentine’s Day. One year I made a red ceramic double heart candy dish for her. After she died it was given back to me. Two years after she passed I was pregnant with my son Travis and my due date was February 14th. He was going to be delivered by C-section and I was excited he would be born on my grandmother’s birthday. But it was not to be. Valentine’s Day fell on Saturday that year and the doctor wouldn’t operate on a Saturday. Now I celebrate the day with my grandchildren.


#52 Ancestors 2018, #Valentine's Day, #Hazel Wiedrich, #Moore family

Thursday, February 22, 2018


My Favorite Ancestor Name

The very first favorite name that comes to mind is Sarah Angeline Corset Wiedrich. I love Sarah Angeline. It’s such a sweet name and it doesn’t hurt that I knew and loved her. My great grandmother was born in 1868 and was probably named Sarah after her maternal grandmother, Sarah Norton. I don’t know where the Angeline came from. I don’t know her father Edward Corset’s ancestry, but his surname suggests French.
Another name that appeals is Andrew “AJ” Moore. I don’t think of initial nicknames for those who lived mid nineteenth century but there are those Civil War generals like US Grant. The other part of the appeal is his tragic death at the Battle of Little Big Horn.
Then there are the not so appealing names. My maternal grandmother was named Hazel. Such an unattractive name for such a lovely person. She disliked her name and said she’d return to haunt anyone who name their child Hazel. Even worse is Elephalet, my Connecticut ancestor. When I first heard it, I thought it a misspelling of Elephant.
We are all at the mercy of being named by our parents. My grandmother, Hazel named her daughters: Yvonne, Bonalyn, Millicent and Constance. Her desire was to give them beautiful names. I received my mother’s name reversed, Arlene Millicent. My brother, Terry was named for a baseball player when there was family dispute the night before he was born. They did agree to a middle name after his grandfather, Charles.
My son, Sean was named after John Wayne’s character in the movie The Quiet Man with another Irish name, Patrick for a middle name. We were sure the next child would be a girl, so our plan was to name her Mary Kate after Maureen O’Hara’s character in that movie. We got a surprise when instead of a girl a little boy arrived. Bill named him Travis after the commander of the Alamo. And for a middle name it was my dad’s, Earl.
And when you find yourself a grandparent you have to rein yourself in and lets the kids do their own naming. You’ve had your turn and no matter the name it’s soon the one that rolls easily off your lips to brag to one and all.

#52 Ancestors 2018, #Favorite Names, #Moore genealogy, #Baker genealogy, #Wiedrich genealogy

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Your Invited – RSVP To Your Great Granddaughter
One of the prompts for the 52 Ancestors (2018) was “Which one of your ancestors would you like to invite to dinner?” Who would it be? Perhaps an ancestor I was privileged to know but failed to ask all the questions that I now want answers for. Perhaps it would be an ancestor that’s a brick wall. Maybe the dinner should be a reunion with them all. But a reunion could not be long enough get all the answers. Maybe just a small dinner party with just the brick wall ancestors but that would just push the wall back a few generations.
Charles McMechen would have to come clean about the tall tales he told about his brick wall parents. And what about changing your name several times. Did you leave a wife in Baltimore before coming to Philadelphia and marrying there? Why did you separate from that wife? And in what political riot did your dad die. 
Mary Hayes Mackin (McMechen) why did you sometimes us the name Bridget? Where in Ireland were your parents born?
John Moore, where were you born? Tell me about your parents and when did your ancestors come to America.
Ann Moore, was your maiden name Shoemaker and if not, where did it come from? You lost so many children who died before you. How did you cope?
Andrew Moore, you saw so much of the country before most people traveled very far from there home. You met Gen. Phil Sheridan and Buffalo Bill Cody. You served under George Custer. What were they like? What were you feeling during those two days in June 1876 at Little Big Horn? I want to thank you for serving your country and the sacrifice of your life.
Fanny Elizabeth (Reed) Moore, you died too young. I’m sorry you lost Charles after just a few years of marriage. To have to put your children in a home and later your oldest son in the home of your second husband’s parents because you couldn’t care for them had to be so hard. Then to lose your baby daughter. Is the unidentified picture of a young woman with a baby in her arms you? I think it is.
Edward Corsett, I want to know about your family. Did you meet Matilda in Michigan? How did your families get to Michigan?
For my ancestors that I actually knew, forgive me for not asking more questions about you. What was it like the first time you voted, rode in a car, what did you like to do, and so many more questions? I want to know all about you but then there may be some things that I may be sorry I found out.

I exist because of you. I stand on your shoulders. Thank you
#52 Ancestors Invitation to Dinner, #52 Ancestors 2018