Thursday, April 30, 2020

Where There's a Will, There Are Cousins

My husband's great-aunt Etta Blanche Steiner Rhuark (1864-1956) outlived all of her siblings except one.

My hubby inherited a copy of her 1952 will inside a box of family paperwork.

Blanche named her sister and other beneficiaries, and also described their relationship to her. A sister, nieces and nephews--giving me a more complete picture of my husband's cousins.

The Steiner Siblings

Etta was one of nine children of Edward George Steiner (1830-1880) and Elizabeth Jane Rinehart (1834-1905).

Sadly, neither of the first two babies lived very long. Then Edward and Elizabeth had a healthy son, followed by six daughters. The last of the girls (born 26 years after the first baby) was expected to be a boy. That's the family story about why my husband's grandmother was named Floyda.

The handwritten list of Steiner siblings shown above was jotted by Floyda's husband, Brice Larimer McClure (hubby's granddaddy), on the back of one of his business cards from the 1940s. Thank you, Granddaddy Brice!

Blanche's Will Names Names

By the time Blanche died in 1956, at the age of 92, she had outlived her husband and all of her siblings except one, Carrie Eilleen Steiner Traxler (1870-1963). In Blanche's will, she named "my sister Carrie E. Traxler" to inherit a home and property. She also named her sister-in-law to inherit property.

Blanche left money to Floyda's grandchildren (including my hubby), naming them in full in her will and identifying them by relationship ("children of ...").

She left money to another sister's grandchildren, also naming them in full and by relationship ("children of ...").

Because Blanche identified each person by relationship, I was able to trace these cousins and add them and their descendants to the family tree. In addition, I connected with one cousin to share genealogy info. Where there's a will, there are cousins!
Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors prompt for week 18 is "where there's a will."


  1. I wish more people were like Blanche! And too bad about that name "Floyda" - where is the Baby Names book when you need one?

    1. Interestingly, Blanche was that ancestor's middle name. Her first name was "Etta" but she never used it. Floyda's middle name was Mabel, but instead of using that, Floyda stuck to . . . Floyda. Maybe that's why she liked being called "Grandma" by her grandkids? Thanks for reading and commenting, Wendy!