Annie Sarah Taylor Wenzel Found! Hallelujah

A few years back, I had found an article that mentioned that Mr. & Mrs. T. W. Adams had visited in Santa Barbara with Mrs. Flora Lieb, who had been a former resident of Oxnard.  In the article it said,  “Mrs. Adams is Mrs. Lieb’s mother.” This was printed in the Oxnard Courier sometime in 1920. I never could find that article again and so gave up on it, until I found several more articles recently about my mother, Ottilie Lieb, and her sister, Barbara Lieb, attending school in Oxnard and being on the “high grades” list.

An interesting item of note is that Florence’s birth record name is “Flora.” Her mother must have called her Flora rather than Florence, so I believe it was Annie who had given the information to the Oxnard Courier’s stringer. Who else would have called her Flora?

That got me to thinking about the 1920 Census again. William and Florence Lieberknecht were listed in Santa Barbara on W. Ortega St., without their two daughters, and also in Oxnard in a boarding house, this time with both girls. At a closer look at the Oxnard census, an Adams couple were in the same house. They were Thomas W. Adams and Annie S. Adams.

This prompted me to go to the Ventura County Museum and Library to do some more searching in those Ventura County records. I did find more in the Oxnard City Directories and in the Voter Registrations from 1918 up to about 1926. Another article said that the Adams were leaving the city to go to Texas to visit Mr. Adams‘ son and to recover from rheumatism. Mr. Adams was selling his photo studio.

There were many more articles about the Adams, about my mother traveling alone at age 9 from El Paso, Texas to stay with her grandparents, the Adams, and her subsequent bout with pneumonia. I faintly remember my mother saying she was a sickly child and never got to go anywhere with her family due to various illnesses. In a 1929 voter registration list Annie and Thomas Adams were living in Hueneme. They hadn’t gotten very far on their way to Texas.

But now I can’t find Annie or Thomas W. Adams anywhere in Texas or in California beyond 1929.

I was able to locate a Thomas Winfield Adams who was born in Gonzales, Texas in 1848, the same age as my Mr. Adams. I have followed him and his family to San Bernardino, CA, to San Diego and to Long Beach, CA. This Thomas was married, his wife, Lizzie, died in 1909 in Long Beach, and he had two sons, Arthur and Ernest. This is suspiciously my same Thomas W. Adams. In the 1920 Census in Oxnard, CA with Annie, Thomas is born in New York, Annie was born in Virginia, although she was really born in Pennsylvania. Florence had listed her mother as having been born in West Virginia in one of her records, so it is Florence who must have given the information to the census taker in 1920 about Thomas and Annie. In previous New York censuses and in her children’s birth records, Annie has always said she was born in Pennsylvania. Florence may have guessed at Thomas’ birthplace.

Until I can lay Annie to rest, I will still consider her my missing ancestor.