One of the reasons I’d gotten started on researching my family a few years ago was my mom wondered what had happened to her sister, Florence. Since I’ve started this journey, I’m realizing more and more families have one or more members who seem to disappear without much of a trace. Florence is one such person in my family.

Florence was born to John Plenzler and Anastasia Przybylski on October 1, 1915. She was the second of three children: Raymond was the eldest, born in 1914 and my mother was the youngest, born in 1926.

New Years Day 1953

Mom, Dad, Karen, and Davey Plenzler on New Years Day 1953

The information I have on Florence is scarce. My mom lost touch with her many years ago, probably sometime in the 1960s.

Florence had a son, David (“Davey”), who was born in 1941. Florence was 25 when Davey was born, and the family was in some turmoil. Anastasia was widowed at this point, and had suffered with breast cancer as well as other health problems. Most likely, Anastasia was indigent. Florence was single at the time, and my mother would have been just 14 years old when Davey was born on April 22, 1941.

Anastasia passed away in 1946. By this time, my mother was 18 years old. Gradually, by the time my parents married in 1948, mom had full-time care of Davey and had raised him for a number of years.

Davey was living with my mother, father, and sister in 1953. I have a photo of the family together dated New Years Day, 1953 as well as Davey’s First Holy Communion record through St. Hyacinth. Davey would have been 12 at the time of the picture, and would have been just past his 10th birthday at the time he made his First Holy Communion on May 13, 1951.

Ultimately, Davey was placed in a home because he required much more care than normal children–he was mentally handicapped and did not do well in normal schools of that period. Mom maintained her relationship with Davey all of those years, treated him much like her son. While Davey was growing up, mom and Davey lost touch with Florence. Contact between Florence and my mother was infrequent although mom did have an address for her in Detroit, Michigan and knew she had married when she moved to Detroit. Mom has also told me that Florence did have another child, a son, who was killed in an auto accident.

However, as time passed, the two sisters lost touch. Davey passed away in 1994 after developing a fairly independent life for himself. There was no contact information for Florence at this time and I’ve since learned that Florence passed away in 1999 by finding a Social Security death index record for her. That led me to search land ownership and deed transfer records in Wayne County, Michigan, where I located a quit claim that indeed placed Florence in Detroit and identified her husband as John. I then located John’s death through the Social Security death index and found an abstract of his Michigan death certificate.

I have no pictures of Florence, nor do I know if she had other children. I cannot verify whether she had another son or whether that son died.

Florence is one of the mysteries in our branch of the Plenzler family. Mom had wondered about her many times through the years. I have not been able to locate any records for her yet that provide any indication of what happened to her, or what her life was like, or any other children she may have had. I hope to find more about her story. If anyone has any information about Florence Plenzler Soborowski please let me know.