I am a retired, senior from Canton Michigan in the USA. I began an innocent search of my family roots several years ago. The story of what has developed since then is a total miracle and a gift from God. No human being could have orchestrated this project! The people involved from all over the world and the timing had to come straight from God. There is no other way to explain it. Down deep in my heart I believe that for some reason God had a plan in bringing us all together. The following is a very brief version of the story of our family over the past few years.
Not long after that day in Ohio, I put my first Family Tree together. It was TYPED on three pieces of 8.5 x 11 paper and consisted of about four generations. I mailed that out to my cousins and asked for any more information about the family. We updated bits and pieces of it over the next 22 years
Sometime in 1994 I received a postcard in the mail from Halbert’s Family Heritage in Bath Ohio. They asked if I wanted to look up my family tree. Send them $29.50 and they would send me a book about the Wiggle Family. These were in the days before you could access that information on the computer and the Internet. I sent them the money not expecting to ever see anything back in the mail.
Shortly thereafter, I received a package from them with “The World Book of Wiggles” enclosed. I glanced over it and just stored it away. Nothing in it appealed to me at that time in my life.
My George’s brother, died in December of 1999. George and I were helping clean out his apartment at Henry Ford Retirement Village in Dearborn Michigan. One day a mover came to transfer some furniture to Alex’s son in Walla Walla, Washington. I was there to let him in and sign the mover’s contract. The mover saw my Wiggle name and asked if I knew some other Wiggles who lived in Canton? I lived in Canton and knew I had no other family there. I insisted there were no Wiggles living in Canton! The mover insisted there were! We had a fun discussion that day about who was correct. I was busy that month and stored that information on the back burner of my brain.
Phil Wiggle is my cousin from Amherst New York. He kept bugging me on his Christmas Cards to get in the real world and get a computer……so we could send each other emails! So in January of 2000 I purchased my first computer. I still remember bringing it home and putting it together myself! That was a once in a lifetime experience. Once it was together I didn’t know how to turn it on or off. So I soon enrolled in a few Computer Classes at the Gateway Computer Store. I had retired in 1994, had some time on my hands and decided to learn how to use this new wonderful invention! I found Word Processing very fascinating and email awesome! Little did I know what was ahead of me in the next few years!
March 31, 2000, I awoke around 5:00 am. This is very unusual for me since I have never been an early riser. I decided since it was quiet, I would transfer the manually typed Wiggle Family Tree onto my computer. That would make it easier to add information as it came in. That morning I typed into the computer whatever information I had about our small part of the family. Then I went into albums and boxes and looked for photos and other information about the family. I spent hours that day with the “Wiggles” in photo albums and memories of bygone days. All those photos took me back to times we spent together at holidays, wedding, picnics, graduations and vacations. I got out a binder, printed out what information I had at that moment, and started what became the First Edition of the Wiggle Family History.
As I was literally working on this project, the phone rang with sad news. My cousin in Newark Ohio had died the day before. She was the only child of Aunt Phyllis and a very special cousin to many of us. Both Aunt Phyllis and Diana died of cancer at age 54. It was an awesome thing to realize that our Family Tree began at Aunt Phyllis’ funeral and the first edition of the Family History began the day after Diana died. I went to Ohio for Diana’s funeral and did nothing more on the family history for another week.
April 6, 2000, I was working down in my office and remembered the Wiggles who were suppose to live in Canton. I went to the phone book to look up their names. Sure enough, the Mover was correct. I found their address and two other Wiggles that I did not know. I decided it was time to identify these Wiggles and see if we were related. I sent them each a form letter stating who I was, named a few members of my family, and told them that I was working on the Family Tree and to get back with me if they were interested in pursing our family connections.
After I finished the rough draft of that letter, I remembered the “World Book of Wiggles” that I had received back in 1994. I went digging through boxes and found it. That is a miracle in itself! The back section of the book contained names and addresses of Wiggles all over the world. I knew there had to be some validity to these names since I was on that list. I also recognized many of my family and their correct address. I was on a roll and decided to send a letter to all the “Wiggles” that I did not know. That day I mailed out 37 letters to California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Utah, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and England. I included my name, address. Phone number and email address on that letter. I had received this book back in 1994. This was the year 2000! I had no idea how many of these addresses were still valid and how many of these folk would still be living. But I had nothing to loose and everything to gain!
I saw all these people with names spelled like mine - WIGGLE - that lived in England. Could they be related? This was my first clue to any Wiggle Family Connections in England. As I look back now, it is amazing to me how all this family information became available to us. Call it Divine Intervention or a Miracle! But it is thrilling to matter what you call it!
This is how it all started! I didn’t have a clue what was to come after I mailed out those form letters that day in April of 2000!
April 10, 2000, I received my first email reply from Ron Wiggle in Dearborn Michigan….just a few miles down the road from me. He included a few generations of his family history and told about some of his family coming from England.
April 11, 2000, I received the next email from his brother, Jerry, in Bennett Nebraska.
April 12, 2000, I received my first email or communication from England. It was from another extended Wiggle cousin. He started his email with, “What a surprise to find the clan so well represented in the New World! I wonder when we crossed the pond”.
That same week I got a phone call from another cousin in Redford Michigan. His Dad had received one of the letters that I mailed and had put it on his refrigerator. Tim saw it at his Dad’s house and asked if he could call me. That afternoon I received my first phone call from Tim. He worked just a few miles down the road and asked if I could meet him at work someday.
And the snowball began rolling…..and it hasn’t stopped to this day. When I started my search for my family I had about 30 addresses of Aunts, Uncles and cousins in the USA. Most of them lived in Michigan.
At this point I knew very little about my immediate family. I knew my Dad was one of thirteen children and all of them were born in Detroit, Michigan. I knew my Grandfather’s Name and knew he was also born in the City of Detroit. That was the extent of my family knowledge. So I started searching for more information about my immediate family by going to the main Detroit Library and looking in their historical records. Then I called cemeteries all over our area asking about our family name. They gave me complete names, dates of birth & death and the person responsible for their burial. It’s amazing the information I gained about my immediate family at these cemeteries. Then I called my Dad’s only living sibling, Uncle Harold in Florida and asked him all kinds of family questions
Pretty soon I started getting letters and packages in the mail. Word had gotten out that I was working on the Family History and pockets of family from all over the USA started sending me information about their family. For the first time in my life I learned that my Grandfather had four brothers. I soon learned their names and members of their families. I discovered the name of my Great Grandfather and knew small bits of information about him.
I wanted to document what I had learned about the family for future generations. I didn’t want the knowledge I had gained to die with me. How in the world could I share all of this with them? In the next few weeks, I started documenting information about my Great Grandparents, Grandparents, My Dad, My Aunts and Uncles on individual pages on the computer. I used the same format for all of them. It included:
By this time I was also collecting photos of many of these folk. Soon I had a loose leaf binder, sheet protectors and a Family Album in the making. Between April and the end of July of that year I had gathered enough information to make a book. I had gone to Kinko’s, a photocopying business near our house to see if they could duplicate it for me. When they said “Yes”, I was on a roll!
I completed that first Photo Journal by the end of July. It contained about a hundred pages of information and photos of my immediate family. I took it to Kinko’s, had about 50 copies made for the family. It was entitled “Wiggle Family History and Photos, the Story of the Julius Wiggle Family from Michigan”
That summer was the beginning of a Miracle! Since that time multiple Wiggall / Wiggill / Wiggle Families from all over the world have been added to our Mailing List and Family Tree. I’ve done little since then to look for any more of my extended family. Now they somehow hear about me, call, and email or write looking for information about the family and wondering if we are related. I can’t explain the thrill I get every time I hear from another member of the family, and the moment we realize that, yes, we are related!
This is how is all began! It has taken two Photo Journals to tell the rest of the awesome story of how we found The Wiggalls and Wiggills in the last five years. Those journals are called:
“Oh Yes, More Family”
For more information about any of the above, please contact me at: