The first time I saw Beulah’s name was in the obituary of her father, Clinton Elias Heck. Clinton died on 31 March 1963 in Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania. I was aware of the other children listed in the obituary: Clinton, Earl, Arlene, Wilbur, Clifford and Mary Jeannette. Their names were familiar to me. During years of research I had met four of the six children and my mother had spoken of her nieces and nephews many times, but, the name Beulah never entered any conversations.
By the time I discovered Beulah, my mother was in her advanced years and all of the nieces and nephews, but one, had died. My mother did not remember Beulah. The nephew knew Beulah but had lost contact with her and had no idea where she lived. All I had was a first name. No probable age, no location, nothing!
While researching another family in the records of St. John’s German Lutheran Church, in Reading, Pennsylvania I came across Beulah. At the bottom of a page was the baptism entry for Beulah Evelyn Heck with parents, Clinton Heck and Marie Fischer. What were the odds there were two Beulah Hecks with a father named Clinton? According to the church record, Beulah was born on 2 February 1918 and baptized 7 April 1918. The sponsor or godparent was Mrs. Marie Fischer.
No one mentioned Clinton had previously married, and county marriage records did not indicate an additional marriage. With additional research I discovered Clinton and Marie married in 1917 in Maryland and divorced in 1920 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. However, there was still no new information concerning Beulah.
Searching the Heck family did not lead to any positive results. It was time to search Beulah’s maternal line, the Fischer’s. I soon learned Marie Fischer’s parents were Bernhardt and Mary Fischer. Searching for and locating the obituary of Mary Fisher gave important clues as to what happened to Beulah.
According to Mary’s obituary, she was the widow of Bernhart Fisher and one of her surviving children was Margaret Dague, widow of Charles. The family of Charles and Margaret was not found in the 1930 Pennsylvania census, but Margaret, and her family were listed in the 1940 census and Beulah was listed as one of the children. Beulah, age twenty-two, would have been the correct age to be the Beulah I was seeking.
Additional research showed that Margaret, Beulah’s mother, married Harold G. Peplau in 1960. No obituary for Margaret was located, but I found an obituary for Harold Peplau. His obituary provided clues concerning Beulah. Listed in the obituary as the wife of George Schmidt, Beulah lived in Darby, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Using the Social Security Death Index and entering the birth date of Beulah, acquired from her baptismal record, I learned that Beulah died on 5 January 1991 in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Beulah was found and she did not even know she was lost.