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In Search of Florence

I made a breakthrough today thanks to the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf.  I first discovered Florence L. Boddice (my grandaunt) in early 1900 census data that placed her at the Western Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb (yeah, they’ve changed the name). In 1996, my grandaunt Aggie told me that Florence was deaf, but not from birth.  She also said that Florence played the piano beautifully even after her hearing loss. Florence’s name came up again this past August while speaking with a cousin. He showed me a large photo of the Boddice family taken on Christmas 1932. I asked why Florence was missing and he explained that she died before that date. Wanting to know more about her, I e-mailed the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and asked whether they had any records. I didn’t really expect a response, but respond they did! They initially told me that their old records were spotty, but that they would look just the same. Today, they responded with more information than I had hoped for! It appears that Florence is listed on an early registration log as the 862nd student of the school. It also states that she became deaf as a result of measles when she was 9 years old, that she enrolled in the school in 1907, and graduated in 1920.  What happened to her between graduation and Christmas 1932 is still unknown.