Saturday, February 24, 2018

Sepia Saturday: Mitz and Fritz

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt immediately brought to mind a number of photos of girls with their dogs. As a little girl, my mother had a mutt named “Fritz.”
Mary E and Fritz
My mother is on the right with her dog Fritz.
This was taken in front of her family's store
in Shenandoah, Virginia.
My grandaunt Helen Killeen Parker apparently enjoyed the companionship of several dogs over the years.

Helen Killeen and dog
Helen Killeen and dog

Helen’s friends also had dogs.

Lucile and dog at Ocean View
Lucile and dog
probably Ocean View
Helen did not label many of her photos with names, but this one she did. Lucile. But Lucile who?

In the same photo album was this one of Mitz and Lucile. Mitz? What kind of name is that for a guy?

Lucile Fritzinger and Mitz Ollice
Mitz and Lucile about 1921

As with most things in my genealogy world, one little curiosity eventually fades from my thoughts only to be replaced by another. Trying to identify Mitz and Lucile was not a priority. Heck, they were probably not even family. Learning more about my dad’s Irish granny and her sisters is always one of several competing priorities. I hoped Aunt Helen’s wedding gifts book would provide clues to the identity of those darn children and lady with a poodle.
Cover of Aunt Helen's wedding gifts book
Instead I found this: Mr. and Mrs. Mitz Ollice. Above that listing is Mr. and Mrs. John Ollice.
Page from wedding gifts book of Helen Killeen and Walter Parker
One page from the wedding book

It is no surprise that “Mitz” Ollice is not to be found on John Ollice, however, is right there in the right neighborhood, in the right period of time. He was not old enough to be Mitz’s father. Nor were any of the other Ollice boys. While at first the census record appeared to be a deadend, it turns out John and Mitz were brothers, 2 of 6 sons born to Thomas and Alice Trainer Ollice. Mitz was not listed as Mitz; further search revealed that he was William Innis Ollice.

William Innis “Mitz” Ollice was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1899, but by 1900, the Ollice family was settled in Portsmouth, Virginia where Mr. Ollice worked as a machinist in the shipyard. The Ollice family lived on Atlanta Avenue in Portsmouth, just a few streets away from Charleston Avenue where Aunt Helen and her sisters and brother grew up.

A marriage record for William Innis Ollice solved the mystery of Lucile. His bride was Lucile Fritzinger of Norfolk, Virginia.

She was born Lucile V. Fritzinger, daughter of Eli and Mamie Smith Fritzinger. That “V” stood for Veronica OR Virginia, depending on which Ancestry tree you want to believe. Her father was a baker.

The son of a machinist and daughter of a baker growing up in two different cities separated by a river somehow met. Perhaps they met at the popular Ocean View beach where so many of Aunt Helen’s summer photos were taken. In fact, the one of Mitz and Lucile was taken probably a year or two before they married in 1923.

Mitz became a fireman and Lucile a homemaker and mother to four children: William Ronald, Joseph Vincent, Shirley Lucile, and Mary Katherine.

In 1927 when Helen Killeen and Walter Parker married, they received more silver and crystal than anyone today would want. But the Ollices and Fritzingers had a different idea:  bedspreads and dresser scarves.
Page from wedding gifts book of Helen Killeen and Walter Parker

Hop on your bike or walk your dog over to Sepia Saturday.

© 2018, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Well done! Another great story about how important friends and neighbors were to the folk of earlier times. Nicknames are a real puzzle for genealogists since they were rarely recorded. I think these cute monikers are the result of so many generations repeating their father's/mother's first names. They used nicknames to distinguish one John/William from another. What will future family historians do with the non-gender specific names of our time like Cody, Dakota, Parker, Reese?

  2. It's all about chasing rabbits (or dogs) and solving puzzles, isn't it? They were related - by friendship!

  3. Oh Wendy - what a fantastic story. Well done you. A wedding gift book. I had never heard of them before today. What a treasure that is..a marvelous time capsule and web of relationships is revealed therein.

  4. What fun that you stumbled across this information! One of these days you will solve that mystery of the children and the lady with the poodle!

  5. Oh my this is just marvelous, and such a wonderful idea. Your photos are perfect too!

  6. Oh my goodneas, wouldn't it be run to have a list of wedding gifts going back generations. What a treasure.

  7. A great story and lovely pictures; what a gift for the title of your blogpost.

  8. Sometimes we 'luck out' in our research! :) The pix of all the cute dogs & their ladies are great. In that first one I see your Mom and her friend have been roller skating with the old skates that buckled onto their shoes and tightened up with a skate key which was always worn around the neck on a string of some sort. Those were the days!

  9. What a wonderful bit of sleuthing! So great that you had that list of wedding gifts to search for clues. Always intriguing to wonder how married couples met.

  10. That wedding book - a gold mine of information.Your Killeen stories always give me a thrill.

  11. Yes,nicknames can be a puzzle in future research.But cracking the code might tell us more/different things about the person than the formalnames would.
    Saying that,I hope some of mynicknames are never passed down to posterity!

  12. Nice detective work and great that you solved your "mystery".

  13. Good sleuthing, my friend. And I noticed the same thing Gail did, those roller skates! There was once a song (Olivia Newton John comes to mind) "I've got a brand new pair of roller skates, you've got a brand new key..."