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The Brinkworth-Metzger Family

Today's photo was purchased with a group a couple years ago, possibly online but at this point, I'm not sure. What I loved about them was several had been identified. I am a sucker for orphaned photos that can be researched and, with luck, returned to their rightful families.

This photo of four women and three children, sitting on a porch with a portrait of another woman, had two hints on the back. Written in more modern handwriting in pen is the name "Metzgers" and the address 1039 West Main Street. Additionally, there are two photos of a boy named Claude Nelson Metzger – one taken for his birth announcement by Herbert M. Flora and another taken as a toddler by George L. Spaulding, both well-known Madison photographers around the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries. According to the Flora photo, Claude was born 27 November 1906.

Yet another Flora portrait shows Claude as a baby being held by a woman identified as Lulu Metzger. Based on this portrait, I determined that Lulu is in today's featured photo, iseated on the right in front of a woman in a white blouse and behind a young boy seated on the top step of the porch.

A search for her led me to the 1910 census, in which she and her husband, Peter Metzger (1859-1946) are living at the same address provided on the back of the feature photo. In the census, Claude is listed as their adopted son, 3 years old, born in Ohio. The birthplaces of his parents were unknown by the person who answered questions for the census taker. This was an important piece of information, because while I was researching, I though perhaps Lula and Peter had adopted the child of a sibling or other relative – a common occurrance in the case of an untimely death. But, if that was the case, the parents' birthplaces would be known.

Searching on, I found that Lulu Frances (1867-1944) was the daughter of English-born William Brinkworth and his second wife, Mary Jane Alford Lathrop, of Hanover, Indiana. (It also was Mary Jane's second marriage; both William and Mary Jane had children from previous marriages.)

Lulu married Peter on 10 November 1886. The 1910 census shows that Lulu had never given birth, which could explain the couple's decision to adopt. Peter was a grocer in Madison. His son, Claude, followed the same career path.

Claude married Thelma Patricia Hill in 1926. Born in 1909, she was the daughter of Peter William and Lillian Barbara (Schilling) Hill in Sharpsville, Tipton County, Indiana. They had one daughter, Roseann, born 20 March 1928. Sadly, one year after her birth, in 1929, Claude died of Bright's Disease, which is a disease of the kidney. He is buried in Springdale Cemetery.

The 1930 census shows that Thelma moved from Madison to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where her parents were living. Her father was working as a carpenter for the University of Michigan. She apparently returned to Madison, where, in 1956, she married a local man, Robert Jacob Jones. Thelma died in 1974; Robert died at age 94 in 1995. They also are buried in Springdale Cemetery.

Roseanne married James Leineweber of Madison, who died in 2010. They had three children: Linda, Mark and Mike, all of Madison, as well. According to her obituary published in the Madison Courier in January 2012, she worked for Economy Cleaners, Hammack's Grocery, Little People's Boutique and Rogers Drug Store.

At this point, I'm not sure who the other people in the featured photo today are, but I think it is a funeral tribute to the woman in the portrait. I think Claude is the little boy next to the boy in front of Lulu. If this is the case, the photo would have been taken around 1910 – the clothing and hairstyles back this up. The deceased may be Mary Jane, who died in 1895, and the other women could be Lula's sisters. There are conflicting records regarding Lulu's family that would require a lot more analysis to sort out.

In the meantime, enjoy the other photos that I purchased with today's feature. Anyone with more information on these people, or perhaps are relatives and are interested in obtaining these photos, please feel free to contact me.


Disclaimer: Information in this post should not be taken as Gospel; this is research that has been done "on the fly," using mostly census information, marriage, and death records as available. None of the information has been proven using the Genealogical Standards of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Additionally, there will be information (deemed by me to be reliable) that has been harvested from public trees I've found at

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29 jul 2023

Hello, RoseAnn was my grandmother. And I have wanted to crack this adoption theory of her father for many years. I’d love to connect with you and see whatever photos you may have.

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Remind me to look for your photos. I'm really bad at remembering things like that. :)

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