#52Ancestors | Road Trip

I’ve previously written about an epic road trip along the Oregon Trail. This time, I’m writing about a  much shorter and more modern road trip.


Lona, Grandma Grace, Pat at Mount Rainier

This was a trip taken by my grandfather, William Ray “Pat” Fitzgerald, his parents, William John and Grace, and his younger sister, Lona in 1937. Sister Martha wasn’t born until two years after this trip. Pat, as he was called back then, was about six years old at the time of this trip. Lona was five.

The family was living in Cowiche, WA at that time. They motored over to Paradise Park in Mount Ranier National Park. Their home was about 107 miles from Paradise Park. Today that would take about 2 hours, 45 minutes to travel; I suspect it would have taken longer back in 1937. Did they go for a day trip, an overnight, or maybe even a long weekend? I’ll probably never know. Unfortunately, I don’t have any details about that trip, just these photos, which were labeled and given to my parents by Lona, who has since passed. My great grandfather was likely the one behind the camera, given that he isn’t in any of the photos.

Lona and Pat posing with a small guitar (ukelele, maybe?) by a tree. Was it their instrument, or their fathers? Was it just a prop?


The caption on this one says “Pat with salt shaker.” It looks more like a soda can to me, but Lona labeled it as a salt shaker. Why is he holding a salt shaker? Did they pack their own provisions for lunch and bring the salt with them? If so, why is he seemingly holding it here, with no food in sight? His expression looks like he is watching something, tentative. I love his suspenders. He is wearing them in other photos I have of him too.

I previously wrote about how they acquired their car here.


#52Ancestors |At Worship


When I saw the prompt for this week, the first ancestor I thought of was John W. Wiggins, who helped found the Holiness Church in Denton, MD in 1898. But, I’ve already written about him and wanted to explore someone new. Around the same time, I’d decided to start exploring some of my lines that I’d sort of been ignoring. One of the shortest line on my paternal grandmother’s side was the Smith/Ellis line.

I set out to learn more about my 4th great grandmother, Nancy E. Ellis, who married John R. Smith around 1865 in Beaverhead County, Montana. At the time, everything I knew about Nancy, that she was born in Missouri around 1849, came from the 1880 Federal Census and her children’s marriage or death records. I didn’t know her parents’ names or when she’d died. I couldn’t find the family in the 1870 census (and still haven’t), so I resorted to the newspapers. Luckily, I found an extensive obituary for her which filled in some blanks.

She was born 1 Aug, 1847 in Missouri. The family came to Bannack, MT in 1863 and she married John R. Smith shortly after that. They had five children, 2 of whom preceded her in death. She was survived by three children and two brothers, Charles Ellis and Thomas Ellis. Her obituary also mentioned that she was a devoted member of the Presbyterian Church, but her funeral was conducted by a Reverend from the M.E. Church due to there being no Presbyterian minister in the city.[1]

Having learned two of Nancy’s sibling’s names, I set out to learn more about them. I hit another jackpot with the obituary of her brother, Thomas H. Ellis. His obituary reads very similarly to hers, with the family starting out in Missouri and crossing the plains to Montana by 1863. His obituary however, also provided the names of their parents, Henry Ellis and Eliza Kingsbury Ellis.[2] Having added another generation to my family tree, I was off to discover what I could about Henry and Eliza.

After some digging, I learned that Eliza was born in Massachusetts. I’m still not sure of Henry’s birth location or date. They had seven children that I could identify, all seemingly born in Missouri. Then Henry died, likely between 1847, when Nancy was born, and 1848, when Eliza married Milton Kinnison.[3] I actually wonder if Henry ever met Nancy or if he passed before her birth.

Eliza and Milton had two children that I’ve identified. Both Nancy and Thomas’ obituaries mentioned that “Mr. and Mrs. Ellis” moved with the family to Iowa for a few years before moving to Montana. However, I suspect this was actually Eliza and her 2nd husband, Milton, with their mixed brood. And Milton likely died in Iowa because Eliza’s obituary mentions that she was widowed before settling in Bannack in 1863. I am also not certain how many of their children moved to Montana with her because I haven’t been able to trace the older children very well. It’s possible some of them remained in Iowa or even in Missouri.

Eliza died in 1910 and her obituary was also enlightening. I don’t know who was writing obituaries for this family, but they did a fabulous job! Hers revealed that she was the mother of 13 children by her two husbands, eight of whom she saw pass away. I’ve been able to only document 10 of those children, so I suspect there were some births and losses between censuses. Her obituary also mentions that “her parents were Presbyterians and she was baptized in the church, but while she lived in Montana, she never had an opportunity of uniting with the church of her youth.” It also mentions that despite this, “her life was a Christian one in every sense of the word.”[4]

I’d noticed both Nancy and Eliza’s obituaries mention their Presbyterian faith but the lack of Presbyterian churches or ministers. So I did a little research about Presbyterianism in Montana.

Thanks to a book on Google Books, I learned that the first Presbyterian missionaries were sent to Montana in June of 1864, one year after the Ellis/Kinnison family arrived in Bannack. Montana Territory has just been formed from part of Idaho Territory and Bannack was its capital. A Mr. George G. Smith (no relation) detailed his experience in the Bannack and Virginia City area in letters he wrote to the Rev. Thomas V. Moore, D.D. Besides chronicling his adventures with ministering to the people, his letters highlighted the area at that time.[5]

He was “assigned to private apartments at the leading hotel in Bannack City, in the office, with bar, gambling table, gamblers, and highwaymen, every man clothes in buckskin and adorned with a pair of navy revolvers and bowie knife in the bootleg and Mexican spurs and dangles on the heel.” The only regular preacher in that day was an M.E. preacher in Virginia City, who came in 1865. Smith organized the first public schools, took a census (where oh where is this census?), opened Sunday Schools, prayer meetings, married and buried people, and helped to close all businesses on the Sabbath.[5]

Though he began his work in Bannack, the territorial capital was later moved to Virginia City, so he moved there, renting a 10×12 log cabin with one window. He “began preaching in an empty storeroom, organized a Sunday School and commenced regular Sabbath services with good and attractive audiences.” Smith left Montana in 1866, apparently leaving “no permanent results” of his labors. It wasn’t until three years later, in 1869, that another Presbyterian reverend, Sheldon Jackson, arrived in Montana, this time in Helena, and organized a Presbyterian church. Jackson is considered the father of organized and permanent Presbyterianism in Montana.[5] Helena is about 150 miles northeast of Bannack, so a minister there was of course not helpful for the Kinnison, Ellis and Smith families. They obviously utilized the M.E. church for their funerals and weddings. After the gold rush, Bannack dwindled until the 1970s, when the last residents left, and it is now a ghost town.


[1] The Dillon Tribune, Dillon, MT. 28 Jan, 1910 page 2. (montananewspapers.org, accessed 16 Apr 2019).

[2] The Dillon Tribune, Dillon, MT. 29 Jan, 1929 page 1. (montananewspapers.org, accessed 16 Apr 2019).

[3] Missouri, Compiled Marriages, 1754-1850 [database on-line, Ancestry.com].

[4] The Dillon Tribune, Dillon, MT. 22 Jan, 1892 page 1. (montananewspapers.org, accessed 16 Apr 2019).

[5] Edwards, George. The Pioneer Works of the Presbyterian Church in Montana. Independent Publishing Company, Helena, MT. 1907. pages 15-21.

#52Ancestors | Out Of Place


Grace and Harold Moran

One ancestor who is “out of place” is Grace Evelyn Meins King Moran, my 1st cousin, 3x removed. I’ve briefly written about her before, when I wrote about the death of her mother. If you glance at my family tree, you’ll see that Grace Evelyn Meins has parents Martha Mathilda Keegan and Louis D. King and may wonder why she has a different surname. This is because Martha and Louis were not her birth parents, though many a family tree would lead you to believe this.

My first introduction to Grace was through my own great-grandfather’s funeral record. William J. Fitzgerald died in 1940 in Yakima, WA. Along with his spouse and children, listed as family on his funeral home record were an aunt, Mrs. Martha King and a cousin, Mrs. Grace Moran. At the bottom of the record was written “Aunt raised the Mrs. Moran and Mr. Fitzgerald from small infants.”1 All the other family trees I’d seen from other researchers identified Martha as Grace’s mother, and this was how I’d assigned their relationship too. The note at the bottom of the funeral home record didn’t tip me off at this point. I just thought it meant that Martha raised her own child along with her nephew.

I knew Grace had married Harold Moran in 1925. Grace’s maiden name on their marriage certificate was Grace Evelyn King.2 Working back in time, she was Grace King, daughter of Martha and Louis in the 1920 census.3 In 1910, she was Grace King, niece of Martha and Louis.4 So there’s the first mention of her not being their child, though she was using their surname. I then found a Grace E. Meins on the Montana birth index5 with the same birth date at Grace Moran, 15 Jan 1901. Being an index, there were no parents’ names listed. I knew Martha’s sister’s married name was Mary Meins, so I started looking further into Mary’s life and found that she died 9 days after Grace’s birth.

And then I found Mary’s obituary6 , which further clarified the situation:


Talk about an a-ha moment! More newspaper blurbs helped to fill in the blanks. In July, Grace’s father, John, came to visit “his little babe, Grace” at the home of “its aunt, Mrs. King” when she was ill.7 By February of 1902, Grace’s father had moved to Washington with his 2 youngest sons, leaving his 3 oldest children with their grandmother and little Grace with her aunt, Martha. 8 From then on, Grace was raised by Martha and Louis. By this time, my great grandfather was already living with Martha and Louis; his mother died in 1896 and his father had moved back to Illinois. William always retained his birth surname of Fitzgerald, and was always listed as nephew to Martha and Louis, whereas Grace quickly took on the King surname and always listed them as her parents. Both Martha’s and Louis’ obituaries mention them as the beloved mother or father of Grace.

Grace and Harold had two children, Betty Jean and James Lewis. Grace’s highest level of education was the 8th grade. She died in 1969 at the age of 68.9

Once I’d figured out the truth about her parentage, I had to decide where to place Grace on my tree. I thought about moving her to the Meins family, but in the end, I kept her with Martha and Louis King, just with her birth surname of Meins. I have Martha and Louis noted as adoptive parents while I have her biological parents listed as alternate parents. And of course, I’ve entered this information as a comment on my tree so that other researchers can see how I came to the conclusion that Martha and Louis were not her birth parents, but understand why I have her listed “out of place” with them.

  1. Funeral record for William J. Fitzgerald, 1940, Shaw & Sons Funeral Home, Yakima, WA. Provided by Yakima Valley Genealogical Society. 
  2. Washington State Archives; Olympia, Washington; Reference Number: kingcoarchmcvol7_984. Ancestry.com. Washington, Marriage Records, 1854-2013[database on-line]. 
  3. United States of America, Bureau of the Census. 1920 United States Federal Census, Renton, King, Washington; Roll: T625_1925; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 59 Ancestry.com [database online] 
  4. United States of America, Bureau of the Census. 1910 United States Federal Census, Renton, King, Washington; Roll: T624_1657; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0052; Ancestry.com [database online] 
  5. Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services; Helena, Montana; Montana, Birth Index, 1920-1986. Ancestry.com.Montana, Birth Index, 1870-1986[database on-line]. 
  6. Great Falls Tribune, Great Falls, MT.  Thur, Jan 31, 1901, page 3. Newspapers.com [online database, accessed 12 Nov 2017]. 
  7. Great Falls Tribune, Great Falls, MT.  Tue, Jul 30, 1901, page 3. Newspapers.com [online database, accessed 12 Nov 2017]. 
  8. Great Falls Tribune, Great Falls, MT.  Sat, Feb 8, 1902, page 3. Newspapers.com [online database, accessed 12 Nov 2017]. 
  9. Washington State Department of Health. State Death Records Index, 1940-1996. Microfilm. Washington State Archives, Olympia, Washington. Ancestry.com. Washington, Death Index, 1940-2014 [database on-line]. 

#52Ancestors | DNA

My very first post for the 52 Ancestors project was about my own DNA and ethnicity estimates. For this week’s prompt, I thought I’d share about a DNA puzzle I am still trying to solve.

A couple years ago, a new DNA match at the 2nd cousin level popped up for my dad. I’ll call her Betty. I have been able to identify Dad’s 2nd cousins fairly easily, but this one didn’t seem to fit. More recently, another match at the 3rd cousin level popped up. I’ll call him Marty. Both Betty and Marty are descended from the same grandparents. I’ve since communicated with Marty and he has confirmed that he and Betty are indeed 1st cousins. Betty shares 227 cM with my dad, and Marty shares 165 cM. You can see the most likely relationships to my dad below:



I think the most likely relationship would be either 2nd cousins or half 2nd cousins. The reason I excluded the possibilities with the “removed” relationships is because both Betty and Marty are in the same generation as my dad, rather than 1 or more generations removed. This would also exclude the aunt/uncle and niece/nephew relationships (I am no DNA expert, someone correct me if I am wrong).

Second cousins share great grandparents. Unfortunately, none of the names in Betty’s or Marty’s tree matched my tree. What was similar however, was the time and place. Their family was living in the Great Falls, MT area at the same time as some of my family. Upon further examination of their tree, I discovered that their grandmother, Frances, was listed as an adopted daughter on the 1910 census.


This was the first census she appears on, having been born in 1907. In future censuses, she is just listed as daughter. This means that Frank and Martha Linhoff were likely not her biological parents. And our connection with Betty and Marty likely is with one of Frances’ birth parents.

In corresponding with Marty he told me that knew his grandmother was adopted. At some point his grandmother was told who her birth mother was, but she never shared that information. There was a story though that her birth mother was a school teacher. Of course, I don’t know if our connection is through the birth mother or father.

My dad’s great grandparents were Catherine Keegan Fitzgerald and William Fitzgerald. Catherine died in 1896, so she’s out as a contender. William Fitzgerald was living in Illinois by 1907. He moved back to Illinois after his divorce from Catherine. Their son Charles moved with him, but their youngest son, the one we are descended from, remained in Montana with his Aunt Martha. They were still living outside Great Falls in 1900, but sometime between then and the 1910 census, they moved to Washington. So were they still living in Montana in 1907 and the elder William came back to visit his son and had an affair with a woman, which produced a baby girl that was put up for adoption? ::insert shrugging emoji here::

I scoured the birth records of the time, leaving out the name and only searching for a female born on Frances’ known birth date/month, but I haven’t found a record for her birth with either birth or adoptive parents’ names listed. I also did a newspaper search around the year of her birth, on the off chance there was a mention of Frank and Martha Linhoff adopting a baby. So far I haven’t some up with anything.

I have very few DNA matches from this part of my tree and have been unable to use the ones we do have to help corroborate my theory. I am hoping one day we will find more information that helps determine our connection.

Who knows, maybe I’m way off base with all of this!

#52Ancestors | Brick Wall


Ahh, the genealogy brick wall. That wonderful structure we all want to bang our heads against. That ancestor we just cannot trace back further. I’ve written about one of my brick walls before, the mysterious Fred Martin, who seemingly appeared out of the ether one day. But I’ve got another brick wall. This one is a couple, my 3rd great grandparents, William Fitzgerald and Mary Lynch. They were an Irish couple who immigrated to the US and lived and died in Morris, IL.

Here are the basics of what I know about them:

William FITZGERALD born Sep 1830 in Armagh. His occupation is always listed as a laborer. I believe he was naturalized around 1862. He died 30 Jan, 1910.

Mary LYNCH born 21 Jul 1831 in Armagh. She died 13 Aug, 1893. Her maiden name was taken from her son’s death certificate.

They had three known children:

  1. Thomas b. 1857, d. 1930
  2. William John b. 1860, d. 1922
  3. Anna M b. 1967, d. 1929

According to the 1900 Census, William arrived in the US in 1854. I do not know if he and Mary came together, or separately. I do not know if they were married before or after they left Ireland. (I’m pretty sure Dad and I looked for their marriage record when we visited the Grundy County Courthouse and didn’t find a record, but now I’m second guessing myself.)

They were Catholic and attended the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Morris. We visited and found the children’s baptism records.


  •  William’s place of birth was taken from his death certificate. I suspect one of his children was the informant. I am not sure how accurate his birth location is. Mary died first, and as you can see, her birth place is etched on her headstone. I think it is possible that when William died, his children just assumed he was also from the same location. Despite the fact that the cemetary records list William as being buried in the same plot as Mary, his name and details are not etched on that headstone, or any other headstone.
  • Death certificates from that time and place do not even have a place to record parent’s names.
  • I requested William’s naturalization record. There were supposedly records for 3 different William Fitzgeralds at the clerk’s office….but of course they could only find two. And you can guess which one they couldn’t find.
  • I’ve tried to search Irish records for their marriage and births and not come up with much. Usually the dates are off and I know so little information that I can’t confirm if they are my people or not. Armagh is a large county and I don’t know specifically where in the county they came from.
  • I have posted on a Reaching Out Ireland forum and a County Armagh Genealogy Facebook page for help, but again, not come up with much. One potential hit is a baptism for a Mary Ann Lynch, baptised 02 Oct, 1831 in the Catholic Parish of Shankill.  Parents were William Lynch and mother Mary Grimley. I’ve found siblings for this Mary Ann but otherwise been unable to connect to them to my own family.
  • Neither Thomas nor Anna had children. William John had 2 sons, one of whom is my great grand father. The other son did not have children. This means there aren’t any other cousins out there who could possibly have some information on their grandparents and beyond.
  • In Morris, IL, there was another Fitzgerald/Lynch family at the same time my family was there. I built a tree for them, trying to find a connection. This Fitzgerald/Lynch couple was married in Massachussets, had one child there, then moved to Morris. However, the wife came from Cork. I eventually found a descendent of this couple who had done DNA testing. We compared GedMatch numbers and there was no match.
  • My dad did a Y-DNA test, which confirms his male line is indeed Fitzgerald (haplogroup R-M269 and descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages). Honestly, I don’t know what most of it means, and it is one area I could study more. I have his DNA in a Fitzgerald DNA project and a North of Ireland DNA project, but again, I really just don’t know enough to make it useful to us at this point.



#52Ancestors | Twelve


Rebecca May was the eldest child born to Katherine Sophie (Schnell) and William Wesley Crawford. Her parents were farmers in Iowa at the time of her birth in 1881. The family was mobile in her early years, moving to eastern Washington state and then into Idaho by 1897. It was around this time that Fred Martin came through Idaho and spotted this “pretty buxom lass with red hair” and wanted to marry her. Fred was about 30 years her senior. I have written about his mysterious past before. Rebecca had at least five younger siblings at this point and my understanding is that she helped care for them. Perhaps she was looking for a way out or was eager to begin her adult life because she and Fred were married on June 12th, 1897. Rebecca was 16. Their first son arrived nearly two years later. Seven more children were born over the next 17 years. Despite their expanding family, Fred was not known for being the nicest man. He was described as “a short Irishman with a big temper.”

Around 1920, Rebecca made what couldn’t have been an easy decision and prepared to leave Fred, going so far as to store a packed suitcase at the train station. When she left, she took their youngest child, just a toddler, with her. The seven older children stayed behind with Fred. She sought refuge with Mahlon Bullis. Together, they had one son. After Fred died in 1924, she and Mahlon were married. But he didn’t turn out to be a catch either and appeared in newspaper articles for horse thievery. She left him by 1940.

Sometime after leaving Mahlon, she would meet Sherman Clark, the man with whom she would finally find happiness. They were married when she was 61 years old. They had a shared loved of music; he played the violin and she played the autoharp. I do not know if this shared passion is what brought them together or if it developed later. Her relationship with her older children was fractured after she left them with Fred, but over the years some amends were made. Sherman would even give music lessons to some of her grandchildren.

Her 12 chord autoharp, pictured above, is now in the possession of one of her great grand daughters. The autoharp is in the chorded zither family and is often used in bluegrass or folk music. It can have 12, 15 or 21 chords. 

Rebecca died in 1956 at the age 75, leaving behind 8 children, 22 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren (at the time).


Family stories and autoharp photo from interview with L.S. on 12/18/18.

Wikipedia contributors. “Autoharp.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 26 Feb. 2019. Web. 19 Mar. 2019.


#52Ancestors |Grande Famiglia


The DeCarlos are one of the largest families in my family tree (don’t let the photo fool you).

Frank and Teresa DeCarlo are my maternal great grandparents. Frank was born Francesco Carlo in Rosali, Italy, and immigrated to the US around 1902. Maria Teresa Bianculli was born in Pisticci, Italy and immigrated with her brother in 1908. Frank and Teresa married in 1909 and initially settled in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan where they started their family. By the 1920 census they were living at the edge of SoHo.

Their first 10 children were born in NYC. The last six children were born after they moved to North Bergen, New Jersey. Of their 16 children, only 12 lived into adulthood.

When it came to naming their many children, Frank and Teresa followed the typical Italian naming pattern. Traditionally, the first son and daughter were named after the paternal grandparents and the second son and daughter were named after the maternal grandparents.

Frank’s parents were Guiseppe Domenico and Maria. Teresa’s parents were Nicola and Grazia Maria.

Their children were:

  1. Mary (1910), after Frank’s mother
  2. Josephine (1911), after Frank’s father (usually this would be after the maternal grandmother)
  3. Joseph (1912), after Frank’s father
  4. Nicola (1914), after Teresa’s father
  5. Grace (1916), after Teresa’s mother.
  6. Peter (1918)
  7. Peter (1919)
  8. Jean Vincenza (1921)
  9. Sylvia (1923)
  10. Frank Jr. (1924)
  11. Nathan Anthony (1925)
  12. Domenico Antonio (1927)
  13. Antonette (1928)
  14. Florence (1930)
  15. Thomas (1932), my grandfather
  16. Domenico (1935)

I also think some of the other kids were named after Frank’s and Teresa’s siblings: Domenico and Vincenza. Frank also possibly had a brother, Peter, though I have yet to find proof of this. However, he and Teresa did use the name, not once, but twice, so maybe this was the reason. You can also see that they recycled names when babies died young. Peter and Domenico were both used twice. Sadly, all four of them died young.

The age span between the first and last child was 25 years. Mary had moved out and married before the 13th child was born. Her first 2 children were around the same ages as her youngest 3 siblings. Aunts and uncles younger than their nieces and nephews!

Based on the censuses, the most children they had living in one house at one time was 9 in 1930. Their addresses in New York City were apartment buildings, so I suspect when they outgrew their home there, they moved out of the city to New Jersey. Their home, which they owned, in 1930 was valued at $4000. Today that would be just under $60,000. Frank continued to work in the city despite their move to the ‘burbs. I wonder what a commute was like for him at that time? 

Speaking of jobs, they had quite a brood to support. Frank started out as a “helper” at a market. In the 1920 census he is listed as a watchman at the docks, but later as a wholesale dealer at a NY market. It is known that he worked at fruit markets. Times weren’t always easy for this large family. I already wrote about how some of the kids were removed from the home around 1925. It is thought this was either due to truancy or because they couldn’t support all their children. The children returned home after about 9 months.

The unfortunate thing is I don’t have any photos of the family together. The only photo I have of Frank and Teresa with their children has only 2 of their 12 surviving kids…and we don’t even know which two!

Frank and Teresa left a legacy of many, many DeCarlos. I can’t even count how many descendants they have. This branch of our family has a reunion every two years and we also have a family Facebook group to keep in contact in between reunions.



#52Ancestors | Bachelor Uncle


Last year I wrote about my great uncle, Robert Seyler, as a bachelor uncle. Turns out his older brother, William Wehrle Seyler, was also a bachelor.  Wehrle, as he was known, was the 3rd son of Amos and Sarah Irene (Wehrle) Seyler. His birth record notes that there was no physician present at his birth in 1911.1 Wehrle was born and raised near Twin Bridges, Montana. He attended Twin Bridges schools, but his highest level of education was 9th grade.2 He worked as a miner in the gold mines and as a farm laborer.

He was a member of the Royal Neighbors of America. I had to look that up. Turns out it is a fraternal organization with the philosophy of neighbors helping neighbors. It started around the time of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco.3 In March of 1936, Wehrle was on the dance committee for a dance the local RNA was hosting.4

He joined the Army at the age of 30 in 1942. He served as a TEC5 (technician 5th grade) in the 52nd Ordnance Company and was stationed in Guadalcanal for three years.5 Upon his return, he continued farm work.

Wehrle shows up in the society pages multiple times after the war:678

  • He spent Thanksgiving of 1957 at the home of his aunt, Margaret Seyler.
  • In 1964, he participated in Telephone Bowling with others from Twin Bridges. (I have no idea what this is…anyone know?)
  • He had 1971 New Year’s dinner at the home of his aunt, Una Mae Jenkins, along with his mother and brother, Bob (his bachelor brother).
  • He served as pallbearer in several funerals.

Like his brother, Robert, he was an avid sportsman. My dad recalls fishing with him near Rochester Basin. When they returned back to the ranch to clean the fish, Wehrle would claim the biggest fish. Dad recalls him as a happy guy.

Wehrle died at the VA Hospital at Fort Harrison, MT in 1972. He was 60 years old.9 Because he had no heirs, his estate was distributed to his mother.10


  1. Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services; Helena, Montana; Montana, Birth Records, 1871-1919; Box Number: 25. Ancestry.com [database online]. 
  2. United States of America, Bureau of the Census. 1940 United States Federal Census, Jefferson, Madison, Montana; Roll: m-t0627-02224; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 29-0. Ancestry.com [database online]. 
  3. Wikipedia contributors. “Royal Neighbors of America.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 10 Aug. 2017. Web. 6 Mar. 2019. 
  4. Montana Standard, Butte, MT. Dance Planned by Royal Neighbors, 3 Mar 1936, Newspapers.com [database online, accessed 12 Feb 2016]. 
  5. Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current, William Wehrle Seyler. Ancestry.com [database online]. 
  6. Dillon Daily Tribune, Dillon, MT. 5 Dec 1957, pg 5. http://www.montananewspapers.org [database online]. 
  7. Dillon Daily Tribune-Examiner, Dillon, MT. 22 Jan, 1964, pg 4. http://www.montananewspapers.org [database online]. 
  8. Dillon Daily Tribune-Examiner, Dillon, MT. 7 Jan, 1971, pg 3. http://www.montananewspapers.org [database online]. 
  9. Montana State Historical Society; Helena, Montana; Montana, County Births and Deaths, 1830-2011, FHL Roll: 25-13. Ancestry.com, [database online]. 
  10. Dillon Daily Tribune-Examiner, Dillon, MT. 22 Nov, 1972, pg 2. http://www.montananewspapers.org [database online]. 

Kitchen cabinet transformation

Oh look, a post from the other half of the brain!

Back in July our family of 4 bought a new house and moved. Because the kitchen had  A LOT of yellowish oak cabinetry/floors/trim, we wanted to break up the color a bit to help lighten and “de-yellow” the room.

For now, we chose an option that was low cost and relatively quick – painting and replacing the hardware. Perhaps in the future we will redo the entire kitchen cabinets/backsplash/etc.

I had scoured home decorating sites and decided I wanted a two tone look to the cabinets. We would paint the upper cabinets and change out the hardware, and then leave the lower cabinets in their original condition but change out their hardware too. The hardware in the kitchen was a shiny gold when we moved in and I was not a fan. We had replaced all the lighting fixtures in the dining and kitchen areas with a satin brass finish – so we chose the same finish for the new cabinet hardware.



Once the paint color was chosen (Chocolate Mousse by Benjamin Moore) we chose a weekend and started our project. I removed all the hardware and doors, prepped the base cabinets and sanded the doors…and that about took up the entire weekend. Our sanded and primed doors then sat for another week until we could paint. 

We painted 2 coats of paint and then let the doors sit for a week to cure, before rehanging them with the new hardware.

In addition to painting and changing out the hardware we added small lights above the cabinets that we picked up at IKEA. The painted cabinets helped brighten up the kitchen and decreased the overall yellow tone the kitchen had going on. Now we just need to repaint the wall color (which is also yellow!).


#52Ancestors|The Courthouse


Dad and I found my 2nd great uncle, Charles Thomas Fitzgerald, in an unconvential place at the courthouse…on a memorial for WWI and WWII veterans. We were there to obtain some vital records for Charles’ brother and parents. On our way out of the building, we stopped to observe the memorial and found a relative among the Roll of Honor. Phones are not allowed inside the courthouse, but the guards were kind enough to allow us to bring them into the lobby to snap a picture of his name on the memorial.

Charles Thomas Fitzgerald was born in Morris, IL, on August 24, 1884.1 He was the eldest child of William and Kate (Keegan) Fitzgerald.  The family moved to Sand Coulee, MT when Charles was six years old. His parents divorced a few years later and Charles moved back to Morris with his father. At the age of 16, Charles was living with his father and step mother and working as the driver of a laundry wagon.2  Ten years later, Charles was on the USS Michigan serving in the Navy as an electrician.3 The USS Michigan was commissioned into the Navy in early 1910 and then began “a shakedown cruise to the Caribbean Sea that lasted until June 7th.”4 This is where Charles would have been during the enumeration of the 1910 Federal Census.

In 1914, he married Dollie Mears in Marion County, Indiana.5 I’m curious how they met. Did Charles land in Indianapolis after his stint on the USS Michigan? Or maybe Dollie was visiting someone in Charles’ hometown of Morris and met him there. After their wedding, they lived with her parents at 225 Parkview Avenue at least until 1916.6 After that, I lose Charles and Dollie until the 1930 Census. I wonder if the Navy transferred him to a different part of the U.S. as I cannot find them in the Indianapolis directory between 1917 and 1929 and nowhere on the 1920 Census.

I do know that Charles served in the First World War as a Chief Electrician General7 but I am not aware of his unit or where he served. Following the war, he was part of the Navy Reserves for 30 years. He and Dollie returned to Indianapolis by 1930, again living with her mother on Parkview Avenue. Charles then worked for the Indianapolis Street Railways as an electrician until his death in 1947.8

Charles and Dolly did not have any children.



  1. Indiana Archives and Records Administration; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Death Certificates; Year: 1947; Roll: 14. Ancestry.com. Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line]. 
  2. 1900 United States Federal Census, Morris, Grundy, Illinois; Page: 7; Enumeration District: 0052; Ancestry.com [database on-line]. 
  3. 1910 United States Federal Census, USS Michigan, US Navy, Military and Naval Forces; Roll: T624_1784; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0057; Ancestry.com [database on-line]. 
  4. Wikipedia contributors. (2019, February 9). USS Michigan (BB-27). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:56, March 2, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=USS_Michigan_(BB-27)&oldid=882475864 
  5. Ancestry.com. Indiana, Select Marriages Index, 1748-1993, entry for Chas. T Fitzgerald and Dollie F. Mears, [database on-line]. 
  6. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Indianapolis, Indiana, City Directory, 1916, image 264; [database on-line]. 
  7. Indiana, World War I, Enrollment Cards, 1919, database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QP5B-H9GJ : 7 December 2018), Charles Thomas Fitzgerald, 23 Dec 1915; citing Military Service, Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana, United States, Indiana State Archives, Indianapolis; FHL microfilm 008069328. 
  8. The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis, IN. Monday, Dec 15 1947 pg 31, Newspapers.com, [database on-line], accessed 13 Nov, 2017.