Whatever became of Amelia Thurnau?

I have of late had “other things that must done,” that have interfered with my ability to focus exclusively on my crochet.

Some of the things are external and involve getting things done by particular dates, but some of the things are interior and driven by my own desire to get some matters sorted out, and one of the matters I am attempting to sort out — as my blog post title suggests — is this: Whatever became of Amelia Thurnau?

Of course, you might first be wondering “Who is Amelia Thurnau?”

Born circa 1870, Amelia Thurnau was one of my father’s paternal great aunts. She most likely made her entrance into this world in Madison County, Illinois, but just as mysterious as the particulars of where and when she entered this world are the particulars of where and when she left it.

The record of Amelia’s life is not complete. I know from the 1930 census, that she was 60 years old, and lived with her brother Otto on a side street off East Tulare in Fresno, California. According to the available records she lived much of her adult life with two of her older siblings — a sister Louisa and a brother Otto. It seems, from the records that none of the trio ever married, but at some point, they began moving as a familial unit. One brother, and two sisters.

Amelia like her sister Louisa, was a woman without either an education or a husband, and these two facts of her life have made it hard to learn much about her. The last two mentions of her are in her brother Otto’s obituary from January of 1933, and then twelve years later in the obituary of her widowed sister, Mary Stahlhut.

After that, she disappears.

Except, I know that she didn’t. I know from my mother’s family stories that Amelia probably lived into the 1950s, and I know that the custom of the time would have been to bury her, and I know that she was probably buried somewhere in Fresno County, but for now, she is simply the mysterious Amelia Thurnau, and when I can, I scour the available databases for where she might have been and what she might have done.

But without the standing conferred by a husband or an education that would allow her to pursue her own standing in the world, the life and times of Amelia Thurnau are not easy to figure out.

So when I finally wearied of looking for this ancestor who has (so far) resisted my efforts to find her, I turned to my crochet which — unlike looking for Amelia — gets me tangible results in reasonably short order.

I worked on not only the sixteen crochet remnants I had identified for rehab:

The first round of rehab on sixteen crochet remnants
The first round of rehab on sixteen crochet remnants

I also inadvertently worked on a seventeenth remnant — a two round boho crochet heart that somehow sneaked into my workspace:

A crochet heart seemingly pops up out of nowhere
A crochet heart seemingly pops up out of nowhere

My hope is that Amelia, like this renegade crochet remnant in need of rehab, will one day surprise me and appear seemingly out of nowhere. Until then I will move forward, one stitch, and one genealogical record at a time.