Lena Cloos was a name I came across a few times over the past few years while doing research and looking for my grandmother Lola. I saw a few Decatur newspaper blurbs about a "Miss Lena Cloose" and always thought she might somehow be connected to my family. It wasn't until I saw a blurb in one of those old papers about Lena and Emma Sowers visiting someone, that I knew there was a connection. Emma Sowers was the daughter of my great grandfather (Lola's father) George Cloos' sister Catherine Cloos Sowers Mauzy. Plus, Lola's middle name was Lena.
Until just recently, Catherine aka Kate, was the only sister I knew George had. There were several newspaper articles mentioning their visits, and Kate Mauzy was listed as George's nearest relative on his WWI draft registration.
Towards the end of October, I reached out on the Rootsweb message board for Decatur, IL, requesting an obituary look up for George. Someone came through almost immediately (the gen acts of kindness is truly beyond words!) and sent a transcription of the 1947 obituary. It confirmed my thoughts that Lena Cloos was connected. Lena Morgan of California was listed as a surviving sister of George. The obit also listed a surviving sister from California named Louise Allen. I had not yet discovered a Louise, so this was another great find! It also gave me proof that George's mother, Elisabeth Groshauser had remarried a man named William Henninger (or Henninges - I've seen both spellings) and had more children (George's surviving half brothers Rolf or Ralph, and Roy). I did find Emma Sowers listed in the 1900 census as a granddaughter to William Henninger prior to getting the obituary.
As soon as I got the obit, I found a death record for Louise, the woman I didn't even know about. I found her on the California Death Index (CADI) on Rootsweb. It was easy to find her as she died as Louise Allen. I used her name, father's name Cloos, and birthplace "other" (I figured she too was born in Germany) in my search criteria and she popped up right away. Louise died in 1955 in San Diego, California. Her death index record even had her mother's maiden name of Groshauser. I also found Ralph's Illinois death record on Ancestry and it listed his mother's maiden as Groshauser, as does George's death certificate.
Lena Cloos or Lena Morgan, on the other hand, eluded me. I couldn't find much on her. I did find on the Illinois Regional Archives Database (IRAD) that Lena Cloose married Alfred Martin in 1893. OK, so maybe Alfred Martin and Lena Cloos divorced before 1947 and she remarried someone named Morgan. Actually, Alfred Martin died in 1935 from what I can tell. I cannot yet find Lena in 1930, but she did have two daughters with Alfred, Doris and Alfreda. And there the trail went cold, until last evening.
I was thinking about Lena and that in 1947 she was living in California so I was pretty sure she died in California as she would have been in her early 70s at the time of George's death and I just didn't imagine her moving around from state to state at that age for some reason. Previously, I had tried searching the CADI for Lena Cloos, Lena Morgan and Lena Martin but found nothing. So I decided to search only on birthplace "other" and father's name "Cloos". There were several hits and among them, Louise, but no Lena. As I looked at Louise's record it came to me to remove "Cloos" as father and put "Groshauser" as mother and leave birthplace as other (no first or last name) and I got a hit! Not sure why I didn't think of that before as that is how I found Lola after all!!!
Lena died in Auburn, California (Placer County) 6 November 1951 as Magdalene Josephine Moyer. There it was - mother's maiden name Groshauser and father's name "Closs"! As with the census records I found for Lena Martin, Magdalene Moyer was born in 1873. What was so surprising to me was that Lola died in 1960 in Auburn, California! I immediately ordered Lena's death certificate. I wonder if they were in contact with each other. Lola was in the state hospital at that time in Auburn. I can't wait to find out where Lena was and who her informant was. I realize she died many years ago, but hopefully her informant will be someone that will be "searchable". I keep hanging on to the thought that someone will be alive with pictures, stories and information to share.
I also found that someone added a memorial to her on Findagrave.com. How cool that strangers do that!
I can't wait now to get the death certificate and wish I could somehow convince all State and County offices that maintain vital records to get automated. I can't understand why in this day and age, one must still print out paper applications and send checks and wait weeks for informational copies of vital records. Of course, we can use a third party online service that these offices contract with, but the fees are astronomical.
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