September 22, 2020

Flexner Family Names on a Signature Quilt - Part 2


You'll find the full backstory to this post on a post from April, 2018.  Here's a short summary.

Back in the 1980s, I'd found three people with my mother's maiden name, Flexner, on a 1910 fundraiser quilt at the museum in Kalona, Iowa.  They were not included in the genealogy that my mom knew, so we went exploring.  And after a circuitous and long route, I finally unearthed the answer:

My great-great-grandmother and the mother of the man named on the quilt were cousins.  They both had married men from the Flexner family.  So this quilt had led us to a branch of the family that we had never known about!  Unfortunately, by the time the internet came along to help the search, my mom had passed and never got to hear the conclusion.

Then last summer, in August, 2019, I was contacted by a woman who had found my blog while doing research on her Flexner ancestors.  She was wondering if the Jacob Flexner in her family was the same person as the Jacob Flexner in my family.  Turns out, they are not.  They were born about 6 years apart and have different middle initials and different parents.  

But here's where it gets really cool.  The two cousins named Mrs. Flexner both had many children, and amongst them, both had sons named Jacob.  One Jacob is brother of the man named on the quilt, and the other Jacob is brother of my great-grandfather.

And now, thanks to another cousin in that line, I have received photographs from their family archive!

What an exciting moment!

Here's Dave Flexner, and his patch on the quilt.


I must admit that I laughed out loud when I saw Dave's photo.  He couldn't look more like a Flexner!  Here's the family photo of my branch of the same time period.  Especially look at the tall man standing in the center back - that is my great-grandfather Henry - and the man seated on the left - that is the Jacob on my branch. 

Here is Dave's daughter Helen, and her patch on the quilt.

There isn't a photo of Dave's wife, Etta (Henrietta).  But here is her patch on the quilt anyway.

 Here is Dave's mother Julia Godshaw Flexner, my great-great-grandmother's cousin. 

And here is my great-great-grandmother, Esther Abraham Flexner, Julia's cousin.  This was taken about the time of her marriage to Moritz Heinrich Flexner in 1856.
And here they are later in life.  As a child, I was always fascinated by Esther's brooch, which is a small portrait of Moritz.  

One of these days, I will subscribe to the Ancestry European files and look for the relationships between the branches that go back even further.  I want to find the particulars of how the two cousins were related and how their two Flexner husbands were related.

To make this convoluted tale a bit clearer, I hope, I have sketched out this part of the family tree.

I am continually amazed by the many exciting genealogical adventures that have come my way via the quilt world.  And now I'm actually corresponding with new cousins!
And now in 2021, even more information has come to light, including the clarification of the question marks on the above chart.  See Part 3 for those fun stories.

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