Clipped From Ukiah Daily Journal
By FAg WOODWARD Journal staff Wrlttr Relatives of Harriett Gireerilee will be gathering in Ukiali this weekend for a special treat. They will meet and visit with a distant relative, Daphne Sidell of Norwich, England. Although the family was aware of its En^pish roots and even that there were still family members residing in England, it wasn't until Helen and Don Musser were doing genealogical research that Helen's distant cousin was uncovered. The storv behind the story is that at the same time the Mussers were malc- ing inquiries in correspondence to England, Sidell lilso w£|s making an effort to locate the part of the Aolett family that had gone across the; sea to America. In an old Bible that had belonged to her grandfather, Sidell found a postcard from a James Ablett (Harriett's father), who was her grand; father's brother. It was postmarked in Des Moines, Iowa, and she wrdte the postmaster in that city asking him to give her letter to a relative of James Ablett. Her letter was directed to one of James' sons (a twin), Edward Ablett. Edward gave the letter to a niece, one of his sister's daughters, wiip also lives in Des Moines. Both wrote to Daphne and in correspondence directed her to the Mussers, whom they knew were working on tlie family's genealogy. While all this was going on, Don Musser wrote to the occupant of a residence in England asking that his letter be given to a vicker who could send birth, marriage and death records from the township in which the Mussers knew the Ablett family had lived. Their correspondece reached a Tony Ashby, who did as asked. ^ Among the information gathered by the vicker were: the names of Daphne's parents, John Smith and ^yife. The vicker also asked Ashby: "bo you suppose that chap in the U.S. would mind sending the usual $10 fee?" Delighted with the success of his venture, Musser, a retired school teacher afld principal, willingly sent the required fee. While Sidell was corresponding with relatives in Iowa, she discovered that a great uncle in the Ablett family had been awarded the Victorian Cross by England's queen for his action during the Orimean War. He also was presented the scarf of his commanding officer, by that officer. These, she learned, were in a museum in London. On a holiday, she traveled to London to visit the museum, which she found protected by the Grenadiere Guards. Sidell's family had been members of the Coldstream Guards and wh6n the Grenadiere Guards learned this they treated her like a qtifeen, she reported. In addition to entertaining her, they had someone gather for her a family history that raced her family back to about 1750. When Sidell finally got in touch with the Mussers, she had all of this history to share with them. Sidell is employed in a print shop in Norwich where she operates a camera that makes enlargements and reductions of reproductions for periodicals, books and pamphlets printed there. In fact, this print shop has won the contract to print ail of the works of William Shakespeare. Sidell's dark room skills have been an added benefit, since she has been able to send the Ablett family in the U.S. reproductions of a number of old photographs. Months of correspondence, sharing information about the families followed, and this month Sidell was able to talk her employer into a three-week vacation to come to the United States. Last week she was entertained by 84 ENGLISH VISITOR, Daphne Sidell, visits with 92-year-old Harriett Greenlee, an American cousin. members of the Ablett family in Des Moines. This week she will be visited by members of the family who live on the West Coast. Sidell arrived at the San Francisco Airport Monday afternoon atjd was picked up by Don and Helen Musser. While waiting for the rest of the family to gather, the Mussers plan to take their guest to visit the Avenue of the Giants, the fish harbor at Noyo, the art colony at Mendocino, Parducci's Wine Cellars, Hopland Station, and McDowell Valley Vineyards. Harriett Greenlee, 92'/^, Helen Musser's mother, and the daughter of James Ablet, knew about the Ablet family in England. In fact, during World War II her son, while stationed In England, was able to make contact with a member of the Ablet family there. It was an aunt of Sidell, who has since died. Members of Sidell's family in Ejigland knew and talked about this visit which took place 40 years ago. "Now," the English visitor says, "we are the oldest generation left.''