Friday, September 27, 2013

Nancy Drew Genealogy...Wilbert Crane (Aunt Thelma's husband)

Grandpa Earle (Grandpa Roger's father) had one sister, Thelma.  The Dean's were a very tightly knit family...they all lived in close proximity as they moved from Pennsylvania to Colorado and New Mexico and finally to Oakland about 1915...Grandma Clara and Grandpa Jesse Dean, Grandma & Grandpa Browning(her parents)...and when Earle and Thelma each married (Dorothy and Bill, respectively) the young couples were each other best friends.
They each had only one child (Grandpa Roger and Aunt Pat) and I remember most holidays with them in Oakland.
 Thelma and Bill's daughter, Pat, had one daughter, Lynne who was about 2 1/2 years younger than I was...we loved playing together ...although Val, being 3 years younger than Lynne, often got left out! Sorry, Val....


So I decided to research Aunt Thelma's husband, Wilbert Crane....all I had was his 1920 Census record...he's 15 years old, living as a "boarder" in Oakland with Minnie Vogelson and gives his occupation as "lens grinder",interesting as he became an optician...the impression or story I heard in the family was that he was an orphan...it seemed I should have been able to find him in the 1910 Illinois census as a child with his parents...but no luck! Where was he? And who is Minnie Vogelson??? I had no success searching on Ancestry so put this aside for a few months.


With the enormous surge in records available on Family Search last year I starting revisiting some of my dead ends(and dead relatives!)...and found Uncle Bill's  Illinois birth certificate which WASN'T available on Ancestry.
This gave me his parents names and from here I could find him as a child in the 1910 Census. The reason I couldn't find him was because the last name, Crane, had been indexed as Frane! (Understandable, if you look at the handwriting on the census:)



From here I saw that he had two sisters...Florence and Mildred, and his mother said she had had 5 children, 3 living...so then I found his parents, George and Martha,  on the 1900 census with another sister, Caroline, who died when 2 months old...haven't found the 5th child yet.
So I continued researching Wilbert Crane's family....in 1920 he was a 15 year old boy living in Oakland CA as a "boarder" with Minnie Volgman and her daughter Florence....
I wondered why he ended up with them in California...I started looking for Florence Volgman in Family Search and found her in 1930 census living with George E Crane (Wilbert's father) as sister-in-law....so I guess Uncle Bill's mother died, his dad remarried  Erna Volgman in 1914...(he was 42, she was 27).He had two more children with Erna, Erna and George Crane, Jr.
I don't think he(the dad, George)  was a very stable guy...in 1920 he's living in Atlanta, Georgia and says he's a "stock salesman"...probably the Wall Street type not cows...in 1922 he's in St. Petersburg, Florida selling real estate....in 1930 he's in Los Angeles selling stocks and "leases"
Wilbert was sent to live with George's new wife's mother, in Berkeley...somehow this is where he met the Dean family and married Thelma.
   So many stories here....I imagine the young Wilbert (or Uncle Bill as I knew him) being sent to live with new relatives in California while his dad moved with his new young wife to Georgia...all this in the uncertain times of WWI(another good storyline for a novel???)...I admire his resiliency as he became an optician, married and made a very stable life for himself and his family in Oakland. They had a beautiful home in the Montclair district of Oakland just up the street from Grandma & Grandpa's home on Ascot Dr.
He must have loved being part of the close Dean family. I wonder if he had any contact with his own family who eventually moved to LA?
     The main story I remember about Uncle Bill is that one Sunday, after trying to make waffles in a very "sticky" waffle iron (before the days of Teflon)...he took the offensive appliance to the back yard and destroyed it with an ax! And Val told me one of her memories of Uncle Bill was that he LOVED to watch Mr. Rogers...not with kids, just by himself! What a sweet guy.



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