Irene Louisa Waller #52Ancestors

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

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

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?

Irene Louisa Waller Nantz

Irene Louisa Waller Nantz obituary

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!

. . . . 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 cindy@genealogycircle.com 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.

I have a confession to make . . .

John E Waller

John E Waller

Elizabeth Largent

Elizabeth Largent

. . . and I know I can say this to you. It’s not something I can tell just anyone and certainly not something I’d bring up in a group of people but I know you’ll understand.
I love walking around cemeteries. I mean I L-O-V-E it! I’m sure you know what I mean. There’s a resonance for the genealogist searching for ancestors and additional information. When I stand before the headstone of one of my ancestors I smile. I know they could never have imagined someone five generations in the future caring about their lives. That one of their own would be seeking the only place to connect with them in this world today.
Really it is amazing how we can find our own place in history in a cemetery.
As I search each headstone for my family data, I learn the names of my family’s neighbors. I see those sorrows when I find four baby headstones one row over. I know my g-g-grandmother baked a pie, visited to extend her condolences and walked this very ground as her neighbors buried their loved ones.
Cemeteries aren’t necessarily morbid. They can speak of lives lived and those they loved. Actually they are another proof of those who have gone before us, it was their journey, which we now continue on.
I knew I could tell you why I look forward to visiting a cemetery and you’d understand.
Oh and these headstones? They are g-g-g-grandparents. John E Waller was born in 1800 in Fauquier County, Virginia. He died 22 Jan 1860 in Van Wert, OH.
His wife Elizabeth Largent is my g-g-g-grandmother. She was born abt 1809 in Virginia. She died 20 Feb 1887 in Tully Twp, Van Wert County, OH.