Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Meeting the Woodworths


Some distant relatives we meet may be those we soon forget. In the case of Marilyn Sowle Bean, last keeper of the family photos recently spotted at a local antique shop, some of her in-laws were absolutely unforgettable. I know; I've had the opportunity to meet them, too.

It was the Woodworth family who visibly demonstrated the impact of Marfan Syndrome upon the extended family. My first chance to meet them was on an outing to the Sacramento area, where Marilyn's mother-in-law's brother's sons were honoring their mother on the occasion of her birthday.

If that description of the family's relationships seems convoluted, there is a reason for the elongated connections: so many of the men in the family—and one woman—had long since died. The extended family, however, still kept in touch, which is probably why I, through my connection with Marilyn's son, ended up on the invitation list.

Long gone was Marilyn's mother-in-law, the former Maude Woodworth, who died in 1933. Gone also was Maude's brother Lucius Woodworth, who followed his older sister less than seven years afterward.

Lucius' wife, the petite and perky Canadian, Margaret Isabelle Frizzell, however, outlasted them all by decades. It may well have been her eightieth birthday upon which the six sons of "Aunt Belle" had gathered to honor their mother. As family gatherings often do, the event was not complete without a photo taken of dear mom and her sons. As I remember it, the picture basically amounted to Aunt Belle standing with three sons on either side, her head reaching about as high as their belt buckles. Not all of them may have been afflicted with Marfan Syndrome, but each one certainly claimed the telltale height.

It didn't really take a genealogist to figure there was something inherited from that Woodworth side of the family which made each of the male descendants stand out in a crowd. However, was it from Maude's paternal line where the Marfan Syndrome came? Or from her mother's Williams line? I hadn't really traced Maude's family history back beyond the next two generations.

Now that I'm revisiting Marilyn's reclaimed photo collection, I may as well take this as a prompt to see what else can be found on her mother-in-law's Woodworth and Williams families.  


  1. A hereditary illness passed through a family is just so sad. Thank you for remembering them.

    1. Yes, that is so true, Miss Merry: in the big picture of it all, it was sad. But in the day to day living of it, you just take one step at a time. There is a lot of life that can be packed into each of those baby steps.


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