The lady that started it all back in the 1980's was my grandmother's mother, Dorothea Lotter Volz. This is the only picture that to my knowledge exists.
When I was a teenager my grandmother told me that her mother had died when she was a baby and showed me this picture. Up until that time I thought my great-grandfather's wife at the time (Anna Elisabeth Dietz) was my grandmother's mother.
In the 1980's I wrote to the New York City Municipal Archives and asked them to look for her death certificate. I knew my grandmother was born in 1890, so I asked them to search 1890, 1891, and 1892. A letter came back and I was told they were unable to locate a death certificate.
Six months later I joined a genealogy class while we were living in Oklahoma. The teacher told me to write again, but not to even mention that I had written before. She said that sometimes it just depended upon who got the request and some people were better at reading the old handwriting than others. So, I wrote again and requested a search of the same years. A couple of weeks later the death certificate came in the mail.
From there I learned that my grandmother was actually 17 months old when her mother died. I also learned that Dorothea was buried at Linden Hill Methodist Cemetery in New York. I wrote to the cemetery and learned that her mother-in-law (my great, great grandmother), Maria Volz, was also buried there. On a trip back home we were able to visit their graves. The graves are unmarked.
It kind of helped me feel like I knew her and she wasn't forgotten.
Dorothea Lotter and Wilhelm (William) Volz were married in New York City on April 6, 1890. I was also able to obtain their Marriage Certificate.
And the Marriage Certificate told me her parents' names. Her mother was Elisabeth Ruemtheim and her father was Friedrich Lotter. Like Dorothea they were born in Germany.
I hope eventually I can learn a little more about her.