Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Searching for Hannah

When I started I knew nothing about Hannah Meinzen except her name and that she was a child of Henry and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen and a brother to my grandfather, William Carl Robert Meinzen.

From the 1880 census I learned that she was born about 1875. From the 1900 census (where she was living at home) I learned that she was born in February 1875. From another listing in another place on the 1900 census, I learned that she was working as a servant at the age of 25 and was still single.

How to learn more about Hannah? Alan H. said Hannah died in 1907 and that Aunt Lula raised Hannah's daughters, Zerelda and Edna Pugh, after Hannah died. In the "busy" conversation with Alan H. he said that "she" married Leonard Fair. I took "she" to mean Hannah. So I searched for Hannah Fair -- and found nothing.

I talked with a Meinzen aunt, the "oldest living Meinzen" I know. She said Aunt Lula raised Zerelda and Aunt Naomi raised Edna, and was positive that Zerelda, not Hannah, married Leonard Fair. Further, she said that Zerelda's first name was Elizabeth, her middle name Zerelda, and that she died in 1997. It was something to go on.

I looked at the SSDI for Elizabeth Fair, thinking that if what my aunt said were true, I might find her there. Sure enough I found Elizabeth Fair in Jefferson County, Ohio, died 15 Aug 1997, born 27 May 1909.

At about this same time I wrote to Union Cemetery and requested a listing of everyone buried on the plot where Henry Meinzen was buried -- hoping for some bit of information about Hannah and other brothers and sisters, including Elizabeth Armitage Meinzen's lost babies.

My next step was to see if I could find Leonard Fair somewhere. I remembered that when I was a child, Zerelda always visited my grandparents with Aunt Lula and Uncle Charlie but her husband never came along. In fact, I thought Zerelda was single. Because of that I guessed that Leonard must have passed away sometime before the mid-1950s. I looked in the Death Certificate Index at the Ohio Historical Society and -- yes! -- found Leonard Fair: 1942 #50581. Maybe it was him, or maybe not.

On the next trip to the OHS I found and printed the death certificate. There they were, Leonard Fair, born 1908, and his widow, Elizabeth Hendricks. (Unusual that it gave her maiden name on a spouse's death certificate.) Maybe this would help me find Hannah. Or maybe not. Elizabeth is a very common name. Perhaps Hendricks was Hannah's married name, or perhaps not....

You can read the rest of the story about Hannah at Finding Hannah and What I Know about Hannah.

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