Sunday, August 19, 2012

My Family Connection to a Hometown Friend

Last Friday afternoon my husband Larry and I drove through our local Lakeside Cemetery to photograph a grave for  We were about 20 feet from the grave when I noticed this small headstone for Debra Kay Bortz, Nov 6-Nov 8, 1956. I was fairly sure that I knew the parents of this little infant. My step-mother was Phyllis Jean Jones Margheim and her step-mother  was Laura Casper (Maupin) Evans Jones. Laura's daughter from her first marriage was Helen Marie Evans Bortz, the wife of Lester Bortz. I knew as I grew up in Great Bend, Kansas that Helen and Lester Bortz lived in Canon City, Colorado. By the time I moved to Canon City, Colorado in 1987, Helen and Lester had moved with their large family to Ft. Collins, Colorado. 

As I continued my genealogy research about 8 or 10 years ago I contacted Lester Bortz for added family information I thought he could provide on his mother-in-law's family line. I've had the privilege of visiting with Lester on the phone and in the last few years my father, Ernest Margheim, former Great Bend, Kansas resident and current Canon City, Colorado resident, has had numerous phone visits with the now 100 year old Lester Bortz! Lester and my dad have much in common as each of them are former Kansas residents, members of the same Jones family, and live alone in their advancing years. 

I asked my husband to stop his truck so I could photograph this small gravesite of Debra Bortz. I wanted to verify when I got home that this was indeed a daughter of Lester and Helen Bortz. Then we proceeded to locate and photograph the gravesite to fulfill the Find-a-Grave request. 

I posted this picture of Debra's headstone on Facebook Friday evening. One of the people who commented was Elaine (Amerine) Mull, a friend of mine from my hometown of Great Bend, Kansas. Actually Elaine's older brother Clyde was my classmate from kindergarten through high school. It also happens that my father, Ernie Margheim, was employed in Pawnee Rock, Kansas at Mull Farms by Elaine and her husband Glenn Mull from about 1996-1998. My dad was employed at Great Bend Packing as a Controller for his 54 year career (1940-1994). Upon his retirement from that employment, he found that he wasn't content to stay at home since my mother was still working at Great Bend Packing, so Dad attended classes at Barton County Community College, then continued to work through his employment in the office at Mull Farms. 

My post on facebook caught Elaine's eye as she commented that her grandmother was a Bortz. I knew the name of Elaine's father Loren Amerine because, as a prominent electrical contractor in Great Bend, KS, he was the employer of my first husband at the time of our marriage in 1971. I searched to find any listing of the ancestry of Loren Amerine, so I could see the detail of Elaine's Bortz connection. I found it and compared the names listed with those in my RootsMagic database that were related to Lester Bortz. This is what I found:

Elaine and the infant Debra Kay Bortz are second cousins! I love discovering connections like this. In fact, it's one of my greatest pleasures as I research my family's history. I've shared this chart now with Elaine and in return, she has shared treasured family stories with me by email. And it all came about because of our efforts to provide photos to those who request them through Blessings come to those who serve. 


Russ Worthington said...


Awesome story. Thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

Genealogists are such kind and sharing people. Glad you and Elaine got together :-) Jo