This week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks post shows my thin research with certain branches of my family. This week I’m writing about my great-grandmother, my father’s maternal grandmother Irene Louisa Waller.
Irene was born 31 July 1871 in Convoy, Van Wert County, OH. She was the daughter of Elijah Waller and Susannah Henney. The sixth of eight children, Irene must have loved her youngest brother Ira very much. She named her only son after him.
Irene married when she was just 17 years old. On 10 October 1888 she wed William Albert Nantz in Van Wert County. Now this is where things get a little sticky. My records show my grandmother Flora, their oldest daughter was born 23 May 1888. Five months before Irene married William. Hmmm . . . more research needed here!
Irene had three more children after my grandmother’s birth. Rosa Ellen was born 17 April 1890. Flosey was born 25 September 1892 and her youngest, a son Ira was born 11 April 1894. I wanted to make a special note of the other children’s birth dates because 1892 was such a tragic year for the family. On 3 October 1892 at only 2-1/2 years old Rosa Ellen died, then just 13 short days later three-week old Flosey passed away. Again more research needed here. What illness or accident devastated this small family certainly leaving Irene heartbroken?
I have two additional bits of information on Irene. My dad’s sister, my Aunt Marg once wrote, “My mother’s father was a carpenter – at times I remember Grandpa and Grandma Nantz living near us so it’s possible they moved from Van Wert County to Lima.” My aunt also thought Irene may have had a stroke later in life remembering Irene having weakness on one side of her body with slight speech problems.
Reading Irene’s obituary confirms my aunt’s suspicion of some sort of illness as well as moving to Lima. Her short obituary stated that Irene had been an invalid for 15 years. Her death certificate listed 13 May 1927 as the day she died and apoplexy as the cause. Irene was only 55 years old.
I have to say writing about Irene really tugged at my heart. Researching her has now become a greater priority to me. Wish me luck!