Friday, October 16, 2015

Cousins crossing the Family Lines

Pictured above is my mother Ruby Flanders and her friend Adeline "Addie" Kasselman, as they were shopping for fabric in the early 1940s. The digital photo came to me last week as part of a collection borrowed by my cousin Nancy (my mother's brother Albert's daughter) from my cousin Debbi (the daughter of my mother's brother Mervin). As I grew up I was well acquainted with Addie and her second husband Ray Buehler, as they were long-time friends as a couple of my mother and her second husband Don.
Ruby Flanders at left, Adeline "Addie" Kasselman
center and my mother's brother Mervin at right.
Let's switch to the other side of my family, my dad and my step-mother. As I was archiving their keepsakes, I found a scrapbook my step-mom Phyllis (Jones) Margheim had put together at the time of her mother's illness and subsequent death in 1949. I saw many cards in the album that were signed by "Buehler". From the sentiments she wrote, I could tell this woman was obviously an employee in the business that my step-mother's parents, Jim and Helen (Marker) Jones owned, Jones Laundry in Great Bend, KS. I also found this picture of "Buehler" in Phyllis's photo album from the 1940s.
My dad, Ernie Margheim, identified this Jones Laundry employee, dressed in her crisp white laundry uniform, as his cousin, Alvina (Koleber) Buehler. Alvina had married Elmer Buehler in 1939. It was only three years ago that, in my research of my dad's side of my family, I discovered that Elmer was a brother of Ray Buehler, husband of Addie Kasselman, friends of my mother Ruby and step-dad Don.
Alvina (Koleber) (1917-2000) and Elmer Buehler (1914-1947)
I remember the day in 2013 that I walked into my dad's room at the nursing home exclaiming my astonishment at this discovery. It's hard to explain sufficiently, but as I grew up in the household of my dad and step-mom, my brother and I were not allowed to discuss our mother or her family. Strong dividing lines were drawn and were never crossed. One part of my little world consisted of my mother, step-dad and her family, of whom we never spoke, but only frequently visited per court order. And the other part was my "real" life in the home of my dad and step-mom who I thought of as my family, along with dear grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. In my world, there was NO mixing of the two sides of my family.

So I was dumbfounded when I found this "mixing" of the family lines by someone who was connected to my mother's friends, and also a cousin of my father and was an employee with my step-mother at her family's laundry business!  
This picture was included in my step-mother's photo album. This is a picture of her parents, George and Mary Elizabeth "Lizzie" (Margheim) Koleber at their wedding in 1915.
George Koleber (1895-1962) and his wife Mary Elizabeth "Lizzie"
Margheim Koleber (1898-1979)
My great uncle George and great aunt Lizzie Koleber are pictured above with their youngest son Harold, while visiting me and my twin brother at the home of my grandparents in 1950. It happens that George is the oldest brother of my grandmother Mollie (Koleber) Margheim and Lizzie is the older sister of my grandpa John Margheim. 

Here's where this story takes an interesting twist. As I scanned hundreds of pictures last month from another cousin's collection, my thoughts have been heavily drawn to my mother and her family. I've written a few blog posts about members of her extended family, to the exclusion of my dad's family recently.

Last Tuesday, out of the blue, I got an email from another Koleber cousin which required that I turn my attention once again back to my dad's family. This gentleman explained that he found me through a Google search, knew very little about his father's ancestry and was hoping I could share information with him. As I learned a bit more about him, I discovered that his father was a BROTHER of Alvina Koleber! In fact, he's pictured here with her in this family portrait. Now what are the chances of this timing? 
Back row left to right: Alvina Koleber (1917-2000) and Hermena "Minnie" (1916-1986)
Front row left to right: Arthur (1921-1972) and Eleanora Koleber  (1919-1978)
About Christmas 1922
As I've shared Koleber family information with this new-found cousin this week, I've thoroughly enjoyed getting better acquainted with the family of my great uncle and aunt George and Lizzie (Margheim) Koleber. And I haven't really abandoned the research on my mother's side of my family, because of this interesting tie between the two families, being cousin Alvina Koleber Buehler, the one-time sister-in-law of my mother's good friend Addie.
I'll close this post with this photo of my dear grandmother Mollie (Koleber) Margheim at left and her niece (two ways) Alvina Koleber Buehler Krentzel Niver. 


Lisa Marker said...

Wow, Becky, talk about just a few degrees of separation!! Amazing that you had crossover of family/friends and didn't know it until now. (and really fun that you were able to piece it together!!)

Pflughoeft said...

Fantastic story!!! I'm always amazed at our "family shadows" that somehow do seem to come out of the shadows as the lines are crossed. Thanks for writing this one up...lots of twists and turns in our family histories!!!