This week’s #52Ancestors will complete my tribute to my four grandparents

Flora Alice Nantz

Flora Alice Nantz

Last but not least is my paternal grandmother Flora A. Nantz Frueh. I’ve mentioned before that all my grandparents had passed while I was still very young. So my memories are few and hazy but I have none at all for Flora. None of us do.

My grandmother died when she was only 44 years old. My dad was her second oldest child. He was 21 and not married at the time. He had one older sibling and seven younger. Flora’s death left a huge void in the family’s life.

I remember one unusually revealing moment when my dad mentioned how old (young actually) he was when his mom died and how it was something he’d never forget. His few words and soft tone spoke of the great loss he still felt and he was well into his 60s at the time.

So who is this woman my dad remembered with a child’s love? The woman I call Grandma Frueh? Her name was Flora Alice Nantz and she was born 23 May 1888 in Van Wert County, Ohio.

Her parents were Irene Louisa Waller and William Albert Nantz. Flora was the oldest of the four Nantz children and was only four when her two younger sisters, Rosa and Flosey died within a week of each other. Rosa was just 2-1/2 years old and Flosey was 3 weeks old. What pain that household must have endured with their deaths.

So Flora grew up with her younger brother, Ira. Some of her youth was spent in Van Wert County but by 1900 at 12 years old, she and her family were living in Hardin County, Ohio. Her father was farming.

On 28 April 1909, a 21 year old Flora married Camillus V. Frueh. I wish I knew more details about their meeting, their courtship and marriage. Flora and Cam were opposites. He was a fiery immigrant who spoke German in his home and among his extended family and friends. Flora’s family reaches back to colonial Virginia. She seems to be the quiet to Cam’s boisterousness.

William Nantz, Irene Waller Nantz, Flora and brother Ira Nantz

William Nantz, Irene Waller Nantz, Flora and brother Ira Nantz

Cam and Flora have nine children over 21 years. As I mentioned my dad is the second oldest of the five boys and four girls. Flora’s death on 18 October 1932 sent a deep sadness through this family that I felt growing up. Each of her children seemed to guard their precious memories of Flora. It wasn’t often my aunts or uncles shared a tidbit about her. Of course the younger ones were so small when she died their memories were few.

Yet I do have a treasure. My genea-buddy sister wrote one of our aunts (approx. 1990) and asked about her mother Flora. This is an excerpt of how she described her mom:

“She was a loving mother, a fantastic cook, good sewer but not a very good housekeeper.

Each child had a special birthday dinner, cooked in his or her honor, mostly fried chicken or sometimes stewing chicken (to get rid of the old hens) which made delicious chicken and noodles! Continue reading

. . . . and my voice rang out “Alleluia!”

Camillus, Flora, Adolph and John Frueh

Camillus, Flora, Adolph and John Frueh

We all have an ongoing saga we can tell of our search for certain pieces of missing family history. It may be a female ancestor’s maiden name, documentation on an immigrant ancestor’s arrival in this country or family photos. Our list is probably long and with each tiny bit of new found information we just add more to our brick wall to-do list.

That’s certainly true in my own family history research. My father’s family has gaping holes in it. His father was an immigrant and when he left the old country he left the family history there as well. My father’s maternal side is much better researched. I have names and dates but not a lot of personal information. I’ve chalked that up to my dad being the second of nine children and not paying much attention to family stories and lore. In fact that was also the case with his siblings too. Discussing their family lore was not a favorite topic of my aunts and uncles.

So my father’s maternal side is a bit scant genealogy-wise. I have one picture of my dad as a baby. Then his next photo skips his entire childhood and is his high school graduation picture. In fact his baby picture is actually a family picture taken with both his parents and older brother.

This same family photo is the only image I have of his mother, my grandmother. Sadly I never knew her. She died when my dad was seventeen. Her death brought a lot of upheaval in the family and my grandfather remarried several times after her death. Whenever me or my genealogy-buddy sisters inquired about a family bible and photos we were always answered with a shrug and “Who knows?”

Flora Alice Nantz

Flora Alice Nantz

Yet through the years we’ve asked about family photos and now when only first cousins remain we’ve always gotten the same “Who knows?” reply. That is until this past Monday. My sisters met a couple of my cousins for coffee and they brought pictures. Not just any pictures. Treasures. Family heirlooms. Pieces of our past.

There were a couple pictures of our grandmother, the woman my dad revered above all others and also her parents! I think she’s just beautiful in the one picture of her by herself. If that wasn’t enough there’s a pic of my great grandparents! My sisters and I had never laid eyes on them before! Oh my goodness! What a find! I couldn’t believe it!

. . . . and my voice rang out “Alleluia!” I still haven’t descended from cloud nine!!!

Just in case we might be related my grandmother is Flora Alice Nantz Frueh. She was born 23 May 1888 in Convoy, Van Wert County, Ohio She died 18 Oct 1932 in Lima, Allen County, Ohio.

William Nantz, Irene Waller Nantz, Flora and brother Ira Nantz

William Nantz, Irene Waller Nantz, Flora and brother Ira Nantz

Her parents were William Albert Nantz and Irene Louisa Waller. William was born 4 Apr 1868 in Jackson County, Ohio. He died 14 Feb 1953 in Mercer County, Ohio.

Irene Louisa Waller was born 31 July 1871 in Convey, Van Wert County, Ohio and died 13 May 1927 in Lima, Allen County, Ohio.
If branches of our family tree cross email me I’d love to talk with you!

I’ve made digital copies of these pics and the originals have been returned to my cousin with the promise she’ll look for additional pics. The possibility there are more photos of this family line almost leaves me sleepless! I can’t wait until the next coffee meet up. I’ll be there!

So the moral of the story? Don’t give up! Perseverance pays off. It may take years but some pieces of our past will come back to us. We just need to continue our search and try to wait (patiently).

Do you have a story of family history suddenly showing up? I’d love to hear it! Let me know in the comments.

Although not Civil War related I have a hard hitting genealogy question for you!

Family history, genealogy, family research

Photo Credit:

Have you ever been reading a fellow genealogist’s blog or maybe while surfing through Facebook or Twitter when you read where the author has either in their possession or recently received a “to-die-for” family heirloom? Like a Bible or photographs?

I’ll bet you have, haven’t you? It’s happened to me! As I read their account of this wonderful genealogical treasure arriving out of the blue there’s this tiny little voice at the back of my mind that whispers, “Oh man! How come I don’t get my great grandmother’s diary or a family photo album filled with ten generations of photos all identified!”

Now I know we all cheer when a genealogist is contacted by a previously unknown cousin through their blog. Especially when that distant cousin has info about the blogger’s direct ancestors. Lucky dogs! We smile and give them a Hooray! when they receive a package in the mail. One that contains oodles of handwritten family letters loaded with valuable family information or the afore mentioned Bible. We marvel at their luck! We thank the genealogy gods on their behalf and quickly check our inbox for a similar message. I also turn a couple shades of green. I know, I know. Not cool but I wonder, “When is it going to be me?”

Then another small voice (who seems to show up at these times of envy!) reminds me of all the valuable family heirlooms I already have. Like Continue reading

What’s the one word you need to remember in genealogy research?

Genealogy, Family history, family research

Nancy Estice Nance is the grandmother to my grandmother here, Flora A Nantz Frueh

If you happened to catch my blog post Sunday I played along with Randy Seaver‘s Saturday night Genealogy Fun. It was Ancestor Roulette and in a nut shell I randomly picked an ancestor and needed to state three facts I knew about them.

My gg grandmother Nancy Estice Nance was the ancestor that was chosen and beside her vital information I could only come up with two facts about her. I really felt I’d let her down. So I’ve spent my available time doing some online research about Nancy Estice Nance.

I did know that both Nancy and her husband, my gg grandfather James W. Nance were born in Ohio. They lived in Washington Township, Jackson County, Ohio. They were married 18 Sep 1859 and were the parents of my g grandfather William A. Nantz (not sure yet why the surname spelling changed in this generation) and both died in Van Wert County, Ohio.

So I launch my research from these facts. Of course they don’t show up in several census’ (when is this supposedly simple step ever easy?) So I browse through the entire 1860, 1870 and 1880 census Continue reading

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Nancy Estice Nance

Genealogy Circle LogoIt’s a quiet Sunday afternoon here and I decided to catch up on some of the genealogy blogs I follow. After reading only three I found two had participated in Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun on his blog Genea-Musings. It sounded pretty good so I decided to jump in. This week’s challenge was Ancestor Roulette.

These were Randy’s instructions:

1) What year was one of your great-grandfathers born? Divide this number by 100 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your “roulette number.”

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an “ahnentafel”). Who is that person, and what are his/her vital information?

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the “roulette number.”

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook status or a Google Stream post, or as a comment on this blog post.

5) NOTE: If you do not have a person’s name for your “roulette number” then “spin” the wheel again – pick a great-grandmother, a grandfather, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, yourself, or even your children!

So here’s what I came up with: Continue reading