It’s so much fun to meet “new” cousins on Ancestry.com. I met a third cousin named James who made my day when he emailed this photo to me. It shows my 4th-great-grandmother Catherine Gearhart Motzenbacker and my 3rd-great-grandmother Susan Cunningham Mayer, among others.
The group photo above may have been taken around the time that this article appeared in The Scranton Truth newspaper:
My 4th Great Grandmother Catherine seems to have lost track of her age, which wasn’t unusual for the time. This article says she was 94 years old in 1905. However, I have documentation showing she was born in 1818, making her 87, not 94, when the story ran. Many other sources show her as older than she really was, so it wasn’t a mistake made by the reporter. Still, 87 is a pretty respectable age!
Another Mayer / Cunningham Daughter and her husband
Pictured below is another daughter of Susan Cunningham and Gottlieb Mayer. Her name is Alice Mayer, although her name is sometimes listed as Mary Alice Mayer. (There was a perplexing German naming custom at the time: Children received a first name when they were born that was never used again throughout their lives. In some families, every child of the same gender would have the same first name, usually that of a favorite saint, but each would have a unique middle name.) Her husband is Erwin Miller. I’m told by his great-grandather Kathy that his first name was Ray, but he never used it.
William Lida Loveland and Elizabeth Katherine Mayer, circa 1894
James sent me this photo of his great-grandparents, William Lida Loveland and Elizabeth Katherine Mayer. They are my great-great aunt and uncle. Elizabeth is the daughter of Gottlieb Mayer and Susan Cunningham.
A family resemblance
Looking at the photos of Susan Cunningham Mayer and her daughters, I can really see a resemblance to my great-grandfather Lawrence Mayer in this 1953 photo.
Pieces of the Past
James was kind enough to send me this photo of a set of dominoes that have been passed down in his family. According to James, he was told as a child that this domino set originally belonged to my 3rd great grandmother Susan Mayer (she is also one of James’ greats). It’s so fun to see a piece of the past like this.
How are we related to the folks in these pictures? I’ll try to show how I descend from Catherine Gearhart with this list:
- Catherine Gearhart (1818 – 1908)
My 4th great-grandmother
- Susan Cunningham (1839 – 1909)
My 3rd great-grandmother
is the daughter of Catherine Gearhart
- Edward Philip Mayer (1863 – 1928)
My great, great-grandfather
Is the son of Susan Cunningham (and the brother of Amanda Mayer, pictured above, and Alice Mayer, in the picture below)
- Lawrence Mayer
Is the son of Edward Philip Mayer
- My maternal grandmother
Is the daughter of Lawrence Mayer
- Then on down to my mother and then me.