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The Daily Genealogist Note from the Editor: Ancestral Possessions

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock

We had a number of emails about the story of the Zeller trunk I found at a rummage sale in Maine. Weekly Genealogist readers researched Rev. Albert Zeller and sent me their findings, as well as information about Rev. Zeller’s religious affiliations. Another reader let me know that there were Zellers in the Damariscotta, Maine, area, so a Zeller family member from an earlier generation likely brought the trunk there from Pennsylvania. If any further information comes to light about the trunk, I will be sure to write about it!

Other readers told their own interesting stories of ancestral possessions:

Ronald Dale Karr of Lowell, Mass.:
My wife and I had a similar experience two years ago at the Brimfield (Mass.) antique fair. We bought (at a very low price) a fine crazy quilt signed “K.C. Hasson,” and dated 1890. One of the ribbons sewn into the quilt was from Kansas City. We were able to trace the maker’s genealogy online in a few minutes! The quilt maker, Kisiah C. Morris, was born about 1830 in western Pennsylvania, had married Dr. John Hasson, a physician, around 1850, and, according to the 1860 census, was living in West Newton, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Kisiah was in the same location in 1870, but at the time of the 1880 census she was a widow living with her lawyer son in Kansas City. We even found a newspaper account of her death in 1895 a few years later — her son had rushed his wedding so he could be married in front of his dying mother! And although we did not find a photo of Kisiah Hasson online, there was one of her mother, Sybilla (Kern) (Morris) Craig (1808–1888). We wonder how the quilt had found its way from Kansas City to New England.

Erica Bodden of Shrewsbury, Mass.:
After serving in the Merchant Marines during WWII, my grandfather died of a brain tumor at the age of 32 in 1949. My grandmother, "not being a very sentimental person," and distraught over her husband's untimely death, gave away a number of items, including his uniform. Fast forward to 2005. I received word from my grandmother's sister that she knew where the uniform was. The daughter of the couple to whom the uniform had been given took three years to return it — she had been using it as a Halloween costume — but what a surprise for my mother! The expression on her face was worth the effort.

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