Sunday’s Obituary – Gwendolyn Charmion (Strait) Wirdel – Died 07-January-2013

Relationship to me: 1st cousin, 2x removed

Gwendolyn Charmion (Strait) Wirdel’s obituary was published online at and in the New Jersey Herald from Jan. 17 to Jan. 19, 2013.


Gwendolyn Charmion Wirdel 

BEL AIR, Md. – On Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, Gwendolyn Charmion Wirdel, 82, of Bel Air, Md., died peacefully in her sleep. Mrs. Wirdel was the daughter of Ward B. Strait and Katherine E. Strait (Current).

She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Ernst O. Wirdel; son, Duane Robert Wirdel, and his wife, Lori Susanne White-Wirdel, of Newark, Del.; nephew, Dennis Degroat, and his wife, Linda Degroat, of Stillwater; and great-nephews, Kyle and Brian Degroat, also of Stillwater.

Mrs. Wirdel was a proud member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants and was able to trace her lineage back to the 102 passengers who arrived in 1620.

A graveside service will be held Friday, June 7 (her 83rd birthday), 11 a.m., at North Church Cemetery, in her hometown of Hardyston.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mrs. Wirdel’s name to the American Cancer Society , P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718.

52 Documents in 52 Weeks #19 – David and Sarah Strait’s Bible Pages

Person of Interest: David A. and Sarah (Card) Strait
Relationship: 4th great grand aunt and husband (David’s grandfather, Abraham Strait, is my 6th great-grandfather and Sarah’s grandfather, John Angle, is my 6th great grandfather)

Source Citation: David Strait Family Bible Records, 1790-1909, The Holy Bible (Cooperstown, N.Y.: H. & E. Phinney, 1824), births, deaths, and marriage pages; original is privately held by Beth [Jane Elizabeth] Willis, Lockport, New York, 2017.

Document Description: This is a photocopy (possibly a copy of a copy) of the David Strait family record pages and was sent to me by Ernst Wirdel (husband of Gwendolyn Charmion Strait] on 08 November 2008. The copy quality is serviceable. Among the pages, there is a copy of the the Bible’s title page with a handwritten note “Printed 1824” at the bottom. I love the full title of the book which is quite long. The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments: Together with the Apocrypha: Translated out of the Original Tongues, and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised. Whew! It’s good peace of mind to know that the translations in this bible were diligently compared and not just haphazardly compared. Various handwritings are noted over the span of years that these records cover.

There are two lined sheets, listing other family members’ births and deaths, that were sent to me along with the Bible pages. They may or not have been kept with the Bible. Since I don’t know for sure, I have not included them in this post.

The publisher is H. & E. Phinney  which was a publishing firm that was founded by Elihu Phinney and picked up by his sons, Henry and Elihu Jr., in 1813 when he passed away. They were known for numerous Bible editions produced from 1822 to 1848. [1] Stereotype printing is a type of relief printing using a metal plate cast in a mold made from composed type or an original plate.

Document Scan/Transcription:
Title Page

H. & E. Phinney’s Stereotype Edition.
Holy Bible,
Containing the
Old and New Testaments:
Together with
the Apocrypha:
Translated out of the Original Tongues,
and with
the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised.
Canne’s Marginal Notes and References
To which are added,
An Index;
An Alphabetical Table
of All the Names in the Old and New Testaments, with Their Significations:
Tables of Scripture Weights, Measures, and Coins, &c.
Printed 1824 [penned in]
Cooperstown, (N.Y.)
[Bottom line is cut off but ends with] by H. & E. Phinney

Possible inside front cover page or blank page at beginning of Bible
David Strait
Preached by the late Rev’d [name illegible]
on Romans 16 & 17-18 verses
July 17 184[copy cuts off here]

David Strait’s
book January
14th 1841

David Strait

Property of Jane Elizabeth Willis,
7 Wausau St,
Ogdensburg, NJ 07439 [This is an old address for Beth. She currently resides in Lockport, NY.]
[There is other scribbling/notes on this page. Nothing conclusive comes from it and poor copy quality hinders transcribing it.]

Marriages Page
David Strait and Sarah Strait, late Sarah Card, were married Dec. 14th, 1816. The births of their children are recorded on the other side of this leaf.
James Crane & Mary Strait were married June 23, 1838
David Bailey & Nancy Strait were married October 5th, 1839
Anthony L. Day & Elizabeth Strait was married May 3rd, 1841
George Walther & Phebe Strait were married July 2nd, 1853
Jacob R. Strait & Francis Brown Thomas were married July 9th, 183[copy is cut off here]
Amos B. Crain & Lydia S. Post married Sept. 3, 1883
Aaron Willis and Malinda Blanch Crain married Christmas, Dec. 25, 1909

Births Page
Nancy Strait was born on Wednesday Sept 3rd 1817
Mary Strait was born on Wednesday May 19th 1819
Abigail Strait was born on Friday January 25th 1822
Elizabeth Strait was born on Wednesday January 19th 1825
Jacob R. Strait was born on Friday April 6th 1827
Phebe Jane Strait was born on Sunday December 14th 1828
Hiram H. Strait was born on Tuesday June 14th 1831
Martha F. Strait was born on Friday August 19th 1836

David Strait was born on January 11th 1790
Sarah Strait was born on July 4th 1799

George Walther born March 25 1801

Deaths Page
Phebe Card [Sarah’s mother] died Wednesday March 22 1854
Peter Card [Sarah’s father] died February 12th 1818
Nancy [Strait] Bailey died Wednesday June 16th 1869
Mary [Strait] Crane died Sunday December 29th 1872
David Strait died Thursday morning at half past five o’clock May 7th 1874
Sarah Card Strait died Nov. 24, 1879
Jacob R. Strait died Dec. 18, 1881
Hiram Heally Strait died Sunday January 13th 1901
Geo. A Walther died December 19th 1856
Albert Walther died Tuesday a 12 o’clock am October 6th 1874
George Walther died Jan 21, 1887
Abby S. Strait died Feb. 19, 1899
William Arthur Crain died Nov. 3, 1909
Anthony Ludlow Day died Dec 28, 1898
Edgar Arthur Day died May 15, 1906

Analysis: Given that New Jersey did not start collecting vital records until May 1848, family bibles are a great source for births, marriages, and deaths. It was considered a great honor by many pious ancestors to receive a bible in which to record their family history. Many times, a Bible is the only record of a family’s genealogy. A careful analysis of the entries will help determine how reliable you feel the information may be.

When I compare the handwriting and the inks, I see at least four different people making entries. I feel that Sarah is the original recorder of her, David’s, and their children’s information in 1841 based on the following reasoning:

  • The handwriting is consistent for all the entries throughout most of Sarah’s married life (1816 to 1879)
  • The ink is consistent for her, David’s and their children’s information
  • Sarah made careful, double lines after her original entries on each page
  • Sarah had a unique way of writing “Strait” using a single line to cross both of her “T”s

Sample 1 of Sarah’s “Strait”

Sample 2 of Sarah’s “Strait”

  • David’s death (May 7th 1874) is recorded in a different handwriting, and, by virtue of his death, rules him out as the person making the entry
  • Sarah’s death (Nov 24, 1879) is recorded in a different handwriting than even David’s death, which indicates that someone else has taken up the duty of making entries
  • Sarah made careful, double lines after her original entries on each page

David Strait’s name appears a couple of times on the possible inside front cover page or blank page at beginning of Bible. A comparison of the letter S shows a possible signature, or at least a handwriting sample, for David.

David’s “S”

Sarah’s “S”

David’s S is a more closed off one compared to Sarah’s, which is a more loopy open style and continues throughout the rest of her entries within the Bible.

Based on a careful analysis of all the S’s found in the pages, I see four different people have contributed to the Bible records:

Sample 1: Sarah’s writing

Sample 2: closed off and curlicued

Sample 3: closed off but no curlicues

Sample 4: Not closed off

For this example, since I have not examined the original Bible, I assumed that the photocopies I have of it are a true representation of what the records are. This is an original record.

The Bible publication date of 1824 means that Sarah entered the information about the children’s birthdates (the earliest is 1817) all at once and probably in 1841 when the family received the Bible.

The information found within the Bible pages is a mixture of both primary (firsthand) and secondary (hearsay or secondhand). Primary would be Sarah’s marriage date to David (she was there) and their children’s birthdates. I would classify the listings of marriages as secondary since there’s no way to determine if Sarah (or the others recording it) was actually present when the events took place.

The listings on these pages fall into the the direct evidence category. Evidence like “Mary Crane died Sunday December 29th 1872” answers, quite directly, the question of when did “Mary Crane of New Jersey, wife of James Crane and daughter of David and Sarah Strait, die?”


These Bible pages are a great source of information about the David and Sarah (Card) Strait family especially since New Jersey didn’t start collecting vital records until May of 1848. The pages also provide a basic lesson on comparison of handwriting. I don’t claim to be a handwriting expert but careful analysis shows that a number of people all had their turn at recording information for posterity. Bibles can be tough to locate, possibly missing, owned by non-family members, libraries, archives, or societies but are well worth the effort of trying to track down. Get talking to your cousins. You never know what they might have in their possessions. I didn’t know about this gem until Ernst contacted me!


Sunday’s Obituary – Ann May (Ranney) Abbott – Died 01-September-2009

Relationship to me: 4th cousin, 2x removed

This obituary was published din the Columbus Dispatch in September of 2009. It is available online at


ABBOTT –  Ann M. Abbott, age 87, of Columbus, died Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at her residence after a courageous battle with cancer. She was born January 23, 1922 in New Albany, Oh. to the late Clark, Sr. and Martha Ranney. She was a graduate of New Albany High School and was retired from Travelers Insurance. Ann will be greatly missed by her loving husband of 60 years, Harry Abbott; daughters, Susan Abbott of Dallas, Tex. and Diane Abbott of Columbus; sister, Carrie (George) McMillin of Columbus; brothers, B. Clark, Jr. (Donna) Ranney, Donald Ranney, Halden (Betty) Ranney, and Robert (Marlena) Ranney, all of Columbus, and brother, Ralph Ranney of Melbourne, Fla.; and numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, September 5, 2009 at SCHOEDINGER NORTHWEST CHAPEL, 1740 Zollinger Rd., Columbus. Family will receive friends from 4-6 p.m. at the funeral home prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Ann’s memory to the American Cancer Society , Franklin Co. Unit, 870 Michigan Ave., Columbus, Oh. 43215. To offer condolences to Ann’s family visit


Sunday’s Obituary – Carolyn Winifred (Strait) DeGroat – Died 27-January-2003

Relationship to me: 1st cousin, 2x removed

This picture shows both the death notice and the obituary for Carolyn S. Strait DeGroat both were found in the Strait vertical files at the Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey.


Death Notice reads:

“DEGROAT, CAROLYN, S. (STRAIT),” 76, of Wantage, died on Monday, Jan. 27, 2003.  Beloved wife of Calvin DeGroat. Devoted mother of Dennis DeGroat. Dear sister of Gwendolyn Wirdel.  Cherished by two grandchildren.  Graveside services will be at North Hardyston Cemetery, Hardyston, on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2003, at noon.  In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts to the Karen Ann Quinlan Center of Hope Hospice, 99 Sparta Ave., Newton. Arrangements are by the F. John Ramsey Funeral Home, One Main St., Franklin.

Obituary reads:

“Carolyn S. Strait DeGroat”  – WANTAGE – Carolyn S. Strait DeGroat, 76, died Monday at home after a short illness.  Born to Ward and Katherine Strait, in Hardyston, she was a life-long resident of Wantage.  Mrs. DeGroat owned and operated Kilp & Kurl hair salon in Wantage for more than 30 years.  She is survived by her husband, Calvin; her son, Dennis, of Stillwater; her sister, Gwendolyn Wirdel, of Bellair, Md. and two grandchildren.  Arrangements are by the F. John Ramsey Funeral Home, One Main St., Franklin.

Sunday’s Obituary – Howard Strait – Died 17-December-1972

Relationship to me: 1st cousin, 2x removed

This newspaper clipping for Howard Strait was found in the Strait vertical file at the Sussex County Historical Society. Penned date of 07 December 1972.


“Howard Strait” – Howard Strait of 25 Hamburg Ave., Sussex, formerly of Wantage township, died last night at Alexander Linn Hospital, Sussex, following a long illness.  He was 67 years old.  A native of Philadelphia, he lived in the area for the past 35 years.  He was a retired building contractor, past district governor of Rotary District 747 and a member of the Wallkill Valley Rotary Club.  Survivors include his widow, Margaret; two daughters, Mrs. Phyllis LaPorta of Fort Myers, Fla., and Mrs. Sandra DeVuyst of Sussex, and five grandchildren. Graveside services will be 2 p.m. tomorrow at the North Hardyston Cemetery, with the Rev. Donald Fowler of the Hamburg Episcopal Church officiating. Memorials may be made to the Sussex Ambulance Squad.  Funeral arrangements were made by the Pinkel Funeral Home, Sussex.

Sunday’s Obituary – Anna Marie (Karthaeuser) Repsher – Died 23-September-1970

Relationship to me: paternal great-grandmother

I have a couple of undated, unsourced obituaries for Anna K. Repsher, one is most likely from the Newark Star-Ledger and the other from the New Jersey Herald. Both were clippings in Beatrice’s collection which I inherited.


“Mrs. G.A. Repsher Of Stanhope, 81” – Stanhope – Mrs. Anna M. Repsher of 19 Hill Road, widow of George A. Repsher, died Wednesday in Dover General Hospital. She was 81.

Mrs. Repsher was born in Port Richmond, N.Y., and had lived her 58 years.

She had retired as an employee [sic] of Dover General Handbag Co., Netcong. Mrs. Repsher was a life member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Musconetcong Post American Legion of Stanhope, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Stanhope Fire Department and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Lakeland Post of Netcong. She was also a member of the Legion of Mary of St. Michael’s Church, Netcong.  She leaves four sons, G. Arthur of Morristown, and Adam O., Robert W. and Henry A., of Stanhope; two daughters, Mrs. Beatrice Strait of Newton and Mrs. Helen Struss of Stanhope; a brother, Charles Karthaeuser of Stirling, and 21 grandchildren and 11 great great-grandchildren.

The funeral will be tomorrow from the Pichi Funeral Home, Main Street, with a Mass at the church.


“Mrs. George A. Repsher” – Mrs. Anna M. Repsher of 19 Hill Road, Stanhope, died yesterday at Dover General Hospital.  Born in Port Richmond, Staten Island, N.Y., she was 81.

The widow of George A. Repsher, she was a retired operator for the Dover Handbag Co., Stanhope. She had lived in Stanhope for the past 58 years.

She was a lifetime member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion, Musconetcong Post 278, a member of the ladies auxiliary of the Stanhope Fire Department, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Lakeland Post 2347, Netcong, and the Legion of Mary, St. Michael Roman Catholic Church, Netcong.

Mrs. Repsher is survived by four sons, G. Arthur of Morristown, Adam O., Robert W. and Harry A., all of Stanhope; two daughters, Mrs. Beatrice Strait of Newton and Mrs. Helen Struss of Stanhope; one brother, Charles Karthaeuser of Sterling, 21 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Services will be 9:15 a.m. Saturday from the Pichi Funeral Home, Stanhope, to the St. Michael Roman Catholic Church fo [sic] a 10 a.m. requiem mass.

For an interesting story on the “brother” Charles Karthaeuser please see me post here.

Sunday’s Obituary – David A. Strait – Died 26-December-1966

Relationship to me: 1st cousin, 3x removed

This is a newspaper clipping in the Strait vertical files of the Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey. It has a penned date of 26 December 1966.


“James A. Strait” – Hardyston Township – James A. Strait of Mountain Road died suddenly at home Monday after a short illness.  He was born 64 years ago in Stockholm and was a resident of Hardyston Township for 39 years.  He was a carpenter most of his life and worked as a clerk in the Hamburg Hardware Store for the past three years.  Mr. Strait is a former councilman and mayor of Hardyston Township.  He belonged to BPOE 1097 of Middletown, N.Y., and the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen.  Surviving is his wife, Mamie E. Martin Strait.  Funeral services will be held today (Thursday) at 2 p.m. at the F. John Ramsey Funeral Home, 1 Main Street, Franklin.  The Rev. Truman Kilbourne, pastor of the Hamburg Presbyterian Church, and the Rev. Dr. John P. Kuehl, pastor of the Hamburg Baptist Church, will officiate.  Interment will be in North Hardyston Cemetery.