Monday, November 3, 2014

52 Ancestors #47: Smiles and Tears for Mary Amanda Wood Carsten

When I was scanning the 1917 photo album created by my late dad-in-law, Edgar James Wood, I had no idea I would uncover a previously unknown family story that runs the gamut from smiles to tears.

Above is the photo and caption that started me on the hunt. Tall guy Wallis is Edgar's brother, shown behind two younger kids, Olive and Chester Carsten. Their last name is shown elsewhere in the album. Never having heard the Carsten name in connection with the Wood family, I consulted the 1910 US Census and there, in Toledo, was a household consisting of:
  • August Carsten, a carpenter, age 25
  • Mary Carsten, age 25
  • Edward Carsten, son, age 6
  • Ernest Carsten, son, age 4
But Ancestry also delivered up birth info for Chester Carsten: He was born after the 1910 Census, and "Wood" is additional info in the birth file--a clue! Olive Carsten was born in 1914. By the time dad-in-law Ed took the photo at top, Chester was 7 and Olive was 3.

I asked our Wood family genealogist for help and after a bit of research, he came back with the info that Chester and Olive were grandchildren of William Henry White Wood (1853-1893), who was dad-in-law Ed's uncle. He also figured out that Mary Carsten is actually Mary Amanda Wood Carsten, a first cousin of my dad-in-law and niece of Ed's father, James Edgar Wood.

My dad-in-law Ed had a LOT of first cousins because his father was one of 17 children of Mary Amanda Demarest Wood and Thomas Haskell Wood. Most of the cousins were way older because the oldest and youngest siblings were literally a generation apart.

Chester and Olive's mother, Mary Amanda Wood, was obviously named after her grandmother, Mary Amanda Demarest Wood. (For more about the mystery surrounding this matriarch, the mother of 17, see here.)

The photo at top was taken in the summer of 1917. Alas, Mary Amanda Wood Carsten, mother of Olive and Chester, isn't in the photo--because she died in January, 1917.

Sad to say, her cause of death was extrauterine gestation, tubal, as shown in the death cert (courtesy of Family Search).

Poor Mary was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Toledo, and later moved to a different plot in the same section. (The cemetery is checking on why that happened and will let me know who she's buried next to.)

Meanwhile, widower August Carsten was left with four young children, the oldest barely 13. He remarried in the summer of 1917 to Matilde C. Kohne, with whom he had two children: Warren (born in Toledo) and Bruce (born in Illinois, where the family later moved).

So the photo at top, with smiling children, shows cousins seeing each other months after a family tragedy. Young Mary Amanda Wood Carsten was my hubby's first cousin, once removed.

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