Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Hair Color, Wash and Set, and a Genealogy Challenge

Busy Saturday. Took my mom to get her hair colored today. Three hours later, we left the salon! You might gasp that it took that long, but you must realize that we are not talking about the blow-dry type salon here. My mom comes from the wash and set with curlers and sit under the hairdryer generation.  Once the hair is dry, it is followed by back-combing and teasing and lots of hairspray! But she was happy, and that's the point!

After the appointment, I made her lunch and we went to get her vitamins and pick up a few grocery items (and lottery tickets for me). Then home to watch recorded episodes of Keeping Up Appearances while I put the finishing touches on The Dionne Catuplets (should be ready to list tomorrow). So, yet again, no test prints of lino blocks! Tomorrow for sure. I will get up in the morning, make a cup of coffee and get printing!

In between the above, and making dinner, I checked my blog reading list and found a fun post at GenBlog about a challenge. The challenge is to list your 16 great-great-grandparents with their birth, death and marriage data (dates and places), countries, etc.  Well, since my genealogy research of the past two years has really only focused on my paternal grandmother, Lola, and her family, I am not ready to participate in a challenge dating back that far. However, I can list two of my paternal great grandparents and give a little history of them! So here goes.

George Cloos - Father of my paternal grandmother, Lola. Born 23 Dec 1871 in Germany (not yet sure where in Germany). Son of George Cloos and Elizabeth Grauhausen (both from Frankenthal, Germany, according to grandpa George's death certificate which I have a copy of). From what I can tell, he arrived in the US in 1876 at age 5. He had an older sister named Catherine E. Cloos Sowers Mauzy that he was very close to. He married my great grandmother, Effie Furst Beck 14 Dec 1892. They had five children - Bessie, Lola, Monroe, George and William. They split up before 1910 and were divorced 11 Oct 1920. George remarried Grace M. Hayes Abel Cloos sometime after 1920. I have established contact with a granddaughter of Grace and she has a picture of grandpa George to share with me once I make my trip to Illinois. George died in Decatur, Illinois on 28 June 1947.

Effie Furst Beck Cloos Roby - By far, the most notorious of my great grandparents, Effie was the mother of my paternal grandmother, Lola. Born 9 Aug 1871 in Prairie Home, Shelby County, Illinois. Daughter of Wells Marcus Beck and Emma Mayben (both from Pennsylvania). Her middle name, Furst, was the maiden name of her paternal grandmother, Leah Furst (mother of Wells Marcus Beck). Effie was the fourth of ten children. I have learned quite a bit about her thanks to a favorite site for genealogy research called They have many Decatur newspapers archived there.

On 23 Sept 1889, Effie gave birth to an illegitimate child she named Zetta Fern Beck. According to newspaper articles, Effie was "betrayed" by a 25 year old "Lothario" named Charles Cox, who refused to marry her after, as her father, Wells, put it, "blighting the life" of his daughter. Effie did charge Charles with "bastardy" and that must have been terribly scandalous in the 1889s! A young woman of 17 years old being pregnant and unwed must have been enough to drop a family from certain social activities of the time. Wells and Emma did claim Zetta as their daughter on later US Census reports, yet, Zetta was never mentioned in obituaries for Wells, Emma or Effie.

I'm not sure yet how George Cloos and Effie Beck met, but I think George may have known Effie's brothers (from articles I've seen). George and Effie married 14 Dec 1892 and their first child, Bessie, was born 7 months later on 1 July 1893. They then had four more children - Lola, Monroe, George and William. They split up sometime before 1910 and Effie and the children were living with different families as either laborers, domestics or servants for their board. Obviously, Effie was in no position to financially support five children once her marriage split up. I still cannot find grandpa George's whereabouts in 1910, but have found him in newspaper articles in Decatur from 1915 on.

Effie was arrested a few times in 1914 for being drunk in public. The articles did mention that she had a hard life. On the 13 Jan 1920 census she was "married" to Ellsworth Roby, yet her divorce from George Cloos wasn't "official" until 11 Oct 1920. Effie was arrested in 1930 for illegally selling booze and died at the young age of 59 on 13 Apr 1931 in Decatur, Illinois.


  1. Love the detail you've unearthed in your family history search! I've put mine on hold for the last 6 months, when I get back to it I hope I can find as much detail.

  2. Effie sounds like quite the woman! Neat!

  3. Incredibly interesting! I have a brother who has spent years and years researching my fathers family and I know for sure that he has found several characters in our family tree! Makes the family more interesting if you ask me. Look forward to hearing more! :)

  4. great story, I too love all the detail. I remember unearthing that kind of detail back in school doing a family tree project, I remember that a great cousin of some sort to me back in the 18hundreds had gone out to pick up some bread for the family and was never seen or heard from again! And another died in an insane asylum, and there was more but thats enough for one day lol