A little intro to William (the saga begins…)

24 Dec

Without making a long story longer, our family has been doing genealogy and family history for decades. My cousins are particularly good at this stuff. So, finding new info, in any form, is kind of exciting for me. I just wanted to share how I came upon some new information, in the hope that other genealogy-minded people might benefit. I loved reading “how-to” genealogy posts. So that’s what this is…

Dr. William Ziesel was born in Philadelphia in 1866. He is my great-great-grandfather. His wife, Marie Schuck is my great-great-grandmother. They had three children that lived to adulthood, one of which is my great-grandmother on my maternal side.

I’d read once, in my Nana’s personal history, that her parents had divorced when she was young. I haven’t thought much of it; no one I know has discussed the subject. Not that anything was off-limits…I guess we just haven’t gotten around to it. Or no one knew much about the situation.

So I was thinking about doing a little family history work, and the Ziesel family came to mind. And one of the first thoughts I had was about William’s second wife. What ever happened to her?

A quick check of my Nana’s personal history gave me a name: Irene. No last name, and no other information other than that my Nana liked her. I looked in a few typical online places (familysearch.org) and didn’t find anything obvious. Remember, I’m a novice genealogist, so things have to be pretty obvious for me to find them…

googled William Ziesel. There’s actually a lot online regarding him since he published a pamphlet/book about gum disease (which I haven’t read and probably won’t read) that can be found online. After following a few google matches, I happened upon a book called, “Who’s Who in Philadelphia” the 1920 edition. No big deal; it lists his book and children and practice. But wait! His wife is listed. And it wasn’t Marie. This wife’s name is Evelyn Irene Lee. That must be the “Irene” mentioned in Nana’s personal history!

So there we have it. I didn’t know much about her, only that she was married to g-g-grandpa and had a full name. I still couldn’t find much about her in the census records, but at least I had a name. I added the name to my research notes.

Here was another coincidental moment: I was watching a family history training video (that I was finding only mildly entertaining, at best) that mentioned “Google Books”. On a whim, I looked up William Ziesel and found a hit. He was mentioned in a completely obscure, unreadable, super-uber-boring book about court cases in New Jersey in the summer of 1922. The title? New Jersey Equity Reports, vol. 93. What a page-turner this must be…

But, the wonderful thing is that there is a case in the book called “Ziesel v. Ziesel” where William is trying to get the courts to overturn a financial court decision between him and his ex-wife (my g-g-grandmother). The details of the case don’t matter to you, but here is the line that got me: “They were divorced in Pennsylvania December 21st, 1914”. So now I had a divorce date (which I didn’t have before). Then the real bomb…Check this out…

Another child!!?

I knew he was married again, to Evelyn Irene Lee, but I didn’t know they were divorced and I had no idea that their marriage produced a daughter!

Then it hit me. In the Who’s Who book there was an odd name listed, which I overlooked or didn’t think about because I didn’t recognize it. Here it is:

Married Evelyn Irene 
Lee. Father of Carl Stanley, Ruth Marie, 
Edward Loeling, Eleanor M...

Since I’d never heard of a fourth living child, I must not have thought much of this. But there she is, Eleanor M, my new family member!

A few census searches found Evelyn Irene Ziesel living with her daughter, Eleanor Ziesel. Now here’s another kicker: Evelyn had older children still living with her from a previous marriage. Those children’s last name was “Peden“, and some sleuthing, I found that their father’s name was James Peden and that he had past away, leaving Evelyn a widow.

So there you go. That’s how a few “lucky” breaks helped me find new family members. Now I just have to figure out his third wife’s info…(that’s another story)

2 Responses to “A little intro to William (the saga begins…)”


  1. What is “Discovering William”? (and why would you care?) | Discovering William - December 24, 2012

    […] A little intro to William (the saga begins…) → December 24, 2012 […]

  2. Why do Mormons Do So Much Genealogy? (Mormonism 101) | Brian Mickelson.... - November 30, 2013

    […] about everywhere, I found her!! It was fun to figure it out and make a discovery. Find the story here, and […]

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