Saturday, September 22, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 38

Carol Wambaugh 1960
The writing prompt Unusual Source brought to mind a letter dated 24 February 1964 that was written by my great-aunts Nellie and Stella Metz to my cousin, Sister John Daniel (born Carol Wambaugh). Upon hearing the other nuns speaking of their grandparents, Carol expressed regret to her mother, Stella (Crusham) Wambaugh, that she didn’t know much about her own ancestors. Stella asked her aunts Nellie and Stella to relay what they knew, and in turn they wrote to Carol, giving the information they knew about the family.

In addition to filling a few holes in the family tree, the letter was filled with other tidbits about when various ancestors came to America and where they traveled from to get here. They included known birth and death dates, what some of the men did for a living in their home countries as well as once they got to the United States, where they worshipped, and that great-grandma Catherine (Colgan) Crusham arrived in America around the age of 3 just in time to get her tongue clipped.

letter from Nellie and Stella
It was from this letter I learned that the Crusham family had emigrated from Tuam, County Galway,
Ireland. With that piece of information I was able to visit the Galway Family History Society in Ireland to research their records in search of the original spelling of the Crusham name. As I’ve written in the past, it was usually spelled Crisham in Ireland, though other variations existed as well. From there I was able to obtain baptism and death information on the family.

I’ll be forever grateful to the nuns who talked about their families, and peaked Carol’s interest enough to ask her mom what she knew about the Crusham/Metz families. And that Nellie and Stella cared enough to write a six page letter to Carol detailing what they had heard about our family history.

Nellie and Stella Metz with their sister Lulu

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