Matrilineal Monday: Helen Zumstein Geiszler in Photos

Helen Zumstein Geiszler about 1940
Helen Zumstein Geiszler
about 1940
My grandmother Helen Grace Zumstein married Robert Paul Geiszler on 9 Jun 1945. Helen is the daughter of Robert Victor Zumstein (1896  - 1967) and Clementina Comfort (1895 - 1963).

Helen was Robert and Clementia's first American born child. Victor, as he preferred to be known, and Clementina were both from Canada. Victor was attending the State University of Iowa when their first two children were born. However, Clementina would travel home to Canada when she was expecting her bundles of joy. With Helen, the family was living in Ann Arbor, Michigan where Victor was a professor. The family decided not to return to Canada for Helen's birth.

For the longest time, I only had this one photo of Grandma Helen in her young adult years. I had no pictures of her as a child. Every person who knew my grandmother, says she was known for keeping up with style trends and for dressing so nicely.

I visited her perhaps twice while I was growing up. I didn't appreciate her when I was a teenager as I should have. But now, I cherish the memories of my grandma bustling around her dark wood panel home, with crocheted covered pillows. She walked with a limp of sorts, but I don't know why. However, she adored her family and loved sharing stories of everyone on her hallway walls. And she tried to be a gracious hostess, serving all sorts of meals. My favorite was her baked potato casserole. I've yet to find anyone who makes a similar dish as she made.

Last year, NUMEROUS photos came into my possession. They tell a timeline of Grandma Helen from her earliest years to the years before her death. I obtained the older photos from her niece who still lives in Canada. I obtained the photos from adulthood from the albums her sister-in-law kept and are now in the possession of her niece who lives in Ohio. My mother also gave me a few photos. I'd like to share these photos now.
Ohio Zumstein Children in 1928
(l-r) Helen, Dorothy, and Robert Zumstein
abt 1928

Welcoming Baby Fay Zumstein in 1931
Helen, Dorothy, and Robert Zumstein

I love the photos of the kids in 'birth order'. I love the smile of little Helen in both photos. She looks like a cute handful. I have no idea what she was like as a child. But now I know what she looks like.

The Zumstein Sisters, 1936
The Zumstein Sisters, 1936
Fay, Helen, and Dorothy Zumstein
Look how stylish and well-groomed these girls are. Perhaps this is where Helen learned her sense of fashion. With pretty girls like these, one is certain that great grandpa Victor was very protective of these ladies as they grew up in Columbus, Ohio. By this time, their dad was a professor at Ohio State University.

Helen Zumstein and her husband Bob Geiszler, only had one child, my dad Robert, Jr. I've shared this photo before, which came to me from my father's aunt. The above photos were emailed to me. This photo was mailed to me so that I could keep it. I will take photos any way I can get them!

I love looking back at the grandma I didn't really know and seeing her throughout her life. I love being able to date photos rather easily because of the styles she featured in the photos. Something tells me, Grandma Helen is in heaven trying to impart some sense of style to me. (If only I wasn't too lazy to put the effort into it!)


  1. I just discovered a great free online resource for searching archived USA based small town newspapers (news, photos, obituaries, etc) via the website of archiving company Small Town Paper’s website. It’s definitely worth checking out!


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