Prominent F/F/F Family Researchers

      The purpose of this page is to honor those people whose efforts over the years have helped promote research into the Flory/Flora/Florey/Florea/Flori and related lines, enabling us all to find out more about our family histories.

Gladys Donson

A person whom many of us first made contact with in the 1980s or 1990s when trying to research early Flora/Flohri/Floreys was Gladys Donson.  Her generosity and interest in family research and in the sharing of the data she uncovered was remarkable.  Her participation both in genealogical societies and in publishing books presenting her research is most impressive.  In early 2013 she was asked to reveal a bit more detail about herself and her work and wrote the following:

“[ My interest in family history] started when I was four or five years old.  I was fascinated by stories told to me by my great grandma (born in 1845) and her two “old bachelor” sons who lived with her.  For example, I felt a hair-raising chill when she told of how the wolves howled around their cabin in the Great Black Swamp of northwest Ohio when she was a little girl.  She told of her husband’s great-grandfather “Old John” (Athy) who fought in the Revolution and lived to be a hundred years old.  She told of a   host of aunts, uncles and cousins.  These were just names [to me] at first, but became real people with the telling of the stories.  We all know how many oral traditions and stories prove to be mostly wrong, or terribly mixed up, but not hers.  They [have] check[ed] out just as she told them.  It got so I loved going to cemeteries, some remote and abandoned, and finding the grave site of some long ago family member.  In many ways, genealogy is a history adventure with a personal twist.

“However, it wasn’t until 1970 that I had an “empty nest” and some time to do serious research in libraries, near and far, and to correspond with distant relatives searching for the same people I was.  I met a fourth cousin, Larry Athy, of Houston, Texas.  After several years of intense research and a trip to Ireland, Larry published our findings in Captain George Athy of Galway Ireland and Maryland, followed by Corporal John Athy and His Descendants.  Since the Athys and the Floras were intermarried, the book on Thomas Flora soon followed.  Larry Athy is now deceased, but a distant cousin who lives nearby and I researched and published The Musters of Northwest Ohio.  On my own I published The Family of Nicholas Walter and Margaret Roth.  My current project is researching the War of 1812 veterans of Defiance, Williams, Paulding and Van Wert counties in northwest Iowa.

“I have also put together many notebooks of various families that have never been published.  These I have shared with a few interested family members such as the Renters, the Porters, the Bremers, the Guslers, the Fosters, etc. etc.  In the process I have met many people and traveled to many places, both near and far, and loved every minute of it.

“So far, I am still living on the family farm near Bryan, Ohio.  I have our daughter (now retired), four grandchildren (all married with families of their own) and sixteen great grandchildren.”

     I am sure that many people in the F/F/F research area (and, in fact, in many other areas of genealogy as well) are very grateful for all the work that Gladys has done and all the information she has added and helped to add to the archives.

WILLIAM FLORY

     One of the most influential of all Flory researchers has been William Flory, co-founder of the Flory-Flora-Fleury Newsletter, published quarterly from 1988 (Vol., No. 1 November) to the end of 2012 (Vol. 25, No. 4 October). The Newsletter was not only an extremely important research tool, but it was also an announcement board for the many Flory re-unions that have taken place, a chance for people to publish additions to their family line beyond what appeared in the studies by Walter Bunderman and John Marcinkowski, and a compendium of interesting genealogical facts. 

     We asked Bill to provide a few facts about himself and the newsletter for this page, and what appears below is his response. First, though, I would like to thank him on behalf of all of us, for the great job he has done. The Newsletter was a great organ in bringing and keeping us all together during its existence.


PROFILE OF WILLIAM FLORY

     I was born in Grandview, Washington

  • Graduated Grandview High School, 2 years Columbia Basin College – Certification in Radiation Protection.

  • Worked for G.E. on the Hanford Project for 20 years in Radiation Protection.

     My Ancestral Line:

  • Joseph Fleury 1682-1741 & Mary

  • Abraham Flory 1735-1827 & Catherine

  • Emanuel Flory 1776-1849 & Sarah Keagy

  • Abraham Flory 1807-1888 & Lavina Kinsey

  • Jacob H. Flory 1849-1904 & Manetta E. Forney

  • Jesse R. Flory 1898-1985 & Goldie Harker

  • Bill J. Flory 1928 & Patricia Flaherty

     How the Newsletter Started

     In my original genealogical search, I became acquainted with Leslie Flory.  We corresponded for some time and had some telephone conversations. During one of those conversations he said “WE” need a Flory Family Newsletter, and I am getting too old to do it. I talked it over with Pat and we decided that we could do that. So Leslie was the main contact with all those he had communicated with over the years about the family. I never visualized what the resulting correspondence would amount to, and the time it would require in responding to it.  We started out with Pat typing the newsletter, and soon graduated to the computer and word processing and I do all of it now.  My only regrets regarding the newsletter is that errors still crept in no matter how I tried to go over it prior to the final printing.

     The Number of Subscribers

     The most we have had was 143, the lowest was about 110. I am sure it didn’t fit everyone’s needs or expectations. Also the Internet has probably reduced its usefulness for some.

     Subscribers From Various Countries

     We had subscribers from the following countries. Some have passed away, while some have ceased their interest in genealogy:

  • England, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Hawaii.

  • From most of the States, but not each one.

     Other Flory Lines I Research

     When I started my research, I only knew my Aunts, Uncles and cousins as “Flory’s” in our area. In the last few years I have made contact and worked with a Flory line that descends from the immigrant Joseph Fleury and came west through Iowa, North Dakota, Idaho, and Oregon. Although I am still trying to put them all together, I have found the ancestral line, and the descendants down to the last couple of generations. These generations have few that are interested in their ancestors to help very much.

     How I Became Interested in Genealogy

     In about 1960 I started to wonder who my ancestors were.  My grandparents died when my Dad was seven years old, so I never knew them. Both my Mother’s parents died before I was born. So the only grandparent I knew was my Dad’s Mother.  She was a great lady and I think because of that influence, I became interested. My father didn’t know anything about his Dad, only that he came from Kansas, and he thought it was Lawrence, Kansas. As I searched and communicated with others I finally became acquainted with Leslie. Then I obtained the F.F.F. Family book by Bunderman and then also made contact with John Marcinkowski, who has been a great help in many ways including the Newsletter.

     What I Do and Did

  • Worked for General Electric Company in Radiation Protection on the Hanford Project for 20 years.

  • Owned and operated a Hardware and Appliance Store in Arizona for 8 years.

  • After the death of my Mother, returned to Grandview to care for my Father, and worked in a Nuclear Power Plant, retired in 1993.

  • Was elected to the Grandview City Council in 1992, and my last term will be up this December [2003]. I do not plan to run again, my plate is so full that I can hardly keep up and do justice as it is. Tuesday and Thursday is tied up with City and other commitments. Wednesday we work in a local Family History Center. Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays are catch-up days for the N.L. and genealogical pursuits and family. All of which suffer from time to time in the rush of it all.

THANKS BILL!

William Flory

   WILLIAM FLORY

LESLIE FLORY 1907-2002

by

Bill Flory

      Robert Flory, Leslie’s son, informed us that Leslie passed away October 22, 2002 at the Medical Center at Princeton, New Jersey. 

      Leslie originated the idea for The Flora-Flory-Fleury Family Newsletter early in 1988. We had met through frequent genealogy correspondence. We discussed information about our common ancestors, Abraham and Lavina Kinsey Flory, many times by telephone. He suggested that we needed to start a Flory Family Newsletter which would include the many spellings of the name, and someone needed to take on the project. Pat and I discussed this, and I innocently volunteered to co-edit the newsletter with Leslie as the editor. The first issue was published in November 1988. It has now been published for fourteen years. The number of subscribers has varied.  The Internet has probably had some impact with the many genealogy sites it offers.

      Leslie was born in Sawyer, Kansas 17 March 1907, the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Barnhart Flory. Leslie married Helen Louise Kezeler on 5 April 1931. Helen passed away 25 April 1998. He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Kansas in 1930.  He joined the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in Camden, New Jersey that same year as a student engineer.  After six months, he joined the Television Research Department under Dr. Vladimir K. Zworykin. His main effort in the early days of television was in the development of the first practical electronic camera tube, the Iconoscope.  In the late 1930′s he moved on to other projects, many directed towards technology for the military.  He held patents on digital impulse counters and other basic computational circuits. Most of these concepts were so far ahead of their time that the patents expired before the computer industry developed.

      In 1942, RCA established RCA Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey and Leslie moved there with the cadre of scientists that founded the world famous laboratory, now known as the Sarnoff Corporation. During WWII his efforts were directed to infrared imaging systems used for night time surveillance and gun sighting.

      After 1945 and the end of the war, he worked to  develope reading aids for the blind.  The first character recognition systems were developed and demonstrated as part of this project.  Under contract to Princeton University, his group designed and built television equipment for use with the high altitude telescope.  This was the first such application that in the future would lead to all of the television explorations of the solar system and beyond.  Camera development for Project Apollo started with this group.

      Leslie co-authored a book entitled Television in Science and Industry.

      In 1967 RCA and Hoffman-LaRoche formed a group to explore the use of electronics in medicine.  In 1968 Leslie became director of advanced development for the Medical Electronics Division of Hoffman-LaRoche, where he remained until his retirement in 1971.

      After his retirement, he remained in Princeton with his wife, Helen.  They enjoyed many hobbies including travel, collecting and repairing clocks and music boxes.  They also had a greenhouse, devoted largely to raising orchids.

       Leslie has been a help to many in their Flory Family research.  His knowledge of Family History, support of the Family Newsletter and encouragement in genealogical research will be greatly missed. The Latin term beneath his name at the heading of the newsletter translated is:        

Devoted to the tradition of his ancestors

       We express our condolence to his family.

reprinted with permission from the Flory-Flora-Fleury newsletter, January 1, 2003

JOHN MARCINKOWSKI  (Passed away in 2012)

     Sooner or later, most beginning researchers who are seeking to find their Flory/Flora ancestors are inevitably directed to John Marcinkowski.  John, who is not a Flory himself (his wife, Zelda, is), has what is probably the most extensive Flory data base ever compiled on all of the American Flory lines.  This data base is an outgrowth from the book he published in 1973 intended to be a supplement to Walter Bunderman’s classic study on the Flory, Flora, Fleury family.  While John has no immediate plans to publish a second supplement (the first is about out of print), he uses his extensive files, which he is still compiling, to help people find where on the Flory charts they belong.  Those who email John get a prompt reply, along with his signature message, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!!”

     John’s efforts to promote a family that is only his by marriage extend even further.  He and Zelda have worked tirelessly for many years as organizers of  the “Flora-Flora-Fleury” Annual Reunion, held now in East Petersburg in Lancaster County, heartland for the descendants of Joseph Flory.  Since so many of you are curious to know a little more about the man who has helped so many of us, we have asked him to write a brief sketch of himself and his Flory activities.  John has consented, and these are his words:

      “In 1951, I went to my first Flory Family Reunion, saw the family history book that was written by Walter Q. Bunderman and got interested in the family history. 

      In 1970, there were requests for a new book. There were no more 1948 history books available and a decision was made to have the 1948 history reprinted. Mr. Bunderman was approached to get his permission for the reprint and also to publish a supplement to add information to the history. Mr. Bunderman gave his permission and also gave all the addresses he had from his files. These addresses now had to be updated by going to the public library and
checking phone books for current addresses. Letters then had to be sent to all these addresses for advances (money) and information to update the history. Mr. Bunderman also gave the printing plates to do the reprint of  the 1948 book and the 1973 supplement which saved some money on the publications. Our children helped with indexing and proofreading.

      Since 1973, information has been collected, recorded and filed for any future reference. Many new families have been found which need to be connected to the family or fully documented. Originally records were made on manual typewriters until 1977, then on to electric typewriters and then much later on computer 3.5″ diskettes.

In 1970, there was an election of officers for the Family Reunion for the office of secretary-treasurer. A nomination of Zelda or John was made. John said that Zelda should accept the office since she carried the family name. She held that office until 2001. In 1971, I was elected as vice-president and served in that position until 1999.

The Reunion was organized in 1924 as the Eckert-Flory Family Reunion. The reunion was held for nine years and then a separation was made in 1933 and the name was changed to the Flory Family Reunion. The numbering system was changed back to the First instead of continuing. The 2001 Reunion is actually the 74th Reunion if the numbering would have been continued. No Reunions were held during the war years of 1942-3-4-5.”

Thanks John!  

John and Zelda Marcinkowski

John and Zelda Marcinkowski

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