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Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Mysterious Mrs. Seel

I've been collecting old New Gretna business ads for over ten years and, recently, came across an interesting ad in a 1924 St. Paul's United Methodist Church Directory found in Marian Broome's attic. I stumbled across it while looking for some photos to illustrate Marian's autobiography in the January 20, 2010 Blog entry. It's interesting to me because I have no idea who Mrs. G. Seel was, what type of business she ran (restaurant, luncheonette, etc.), where her business was, or where she lived. I've never come across the Seel surname while doing any New Gretna history or genealogy work.

I searched the 1920 and 1930 Bass River Township census and couldn't find a Seel listed. I also gave Myrtle Wiseman Falkinburg, who just turned 90 this week, a call to see if she recognized the name but, unfortunately, she wasn't familiar with it. I knew the ad was printed when Myrtle was only 4 years old but was hoping that she may have heard her mom or dad mention the Seel family as she grew up.

I'm hoping that one of our Blog readers will recognize the name and, perhaps, answer some of my questions. Maybe Dave Kalm, Clif Brown, or Don Maxwell can put on their "thinking caps" and come up with some answers.

Also, I encourage anyone with an old New Gretna business ad or two to let me know via email or the comments section below. I'm always looking to expand my New Gretna Business Ads collection.

Pete S


  1. Pete,

    I logged into Heritage Quest and did a little NJ census searching. The "best" match, which isn't what I'd call "good", is a George Seel in Oaklyn Borough, Camden County, NJ, in the 1920 census. His occupation is Electro Plater, and business Jewelry House. He was 46 and his wife was Catherine and 41. In 1934 they would have been 50 and 45. I won't speculate. I'll send you privately the census page tif.

  2. I meant "in 1924 they would have been 50 and 45".

  3. John,

    You may be on to something. George Seel in Camden in 1920 may be the key. His name starts with a "G" and the ad uses "Mrs.", so the "G" in "Mrs. G. Seel" may stand for George. Seel is a very unusual name, as you found out while searching through the census. Now, if we can find the Camden connection with New Gretna, we may be able to nail this down. Perhaps the Seels are related to a family in New Gretna. The quest goes on!

    Pete S