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The Spiker Gazette
Oxford, WVVolume  12Issue  8August 2018
In this Issue:Getting to Know the Radcliffe Kids
Spiker and Radcliffe Families Photo Album


Getting to Know the Radcliffe Kids

Written by:  Bobbi Spiker-Conley

     If  you loiter long enough in the Facebook group Ritchie County, West Virginia History and Genealogy, you are certain to run into a few strangers that have strong connections to your family. You may recall that is how I "met" Eva Johnson, the woman who found Catharine Zinn's diary in an antique store. Most recently I "met" new member Jennifer Lynn Tobias when she asked for help identifying the subjects in several photographs she uploaded to the group. I immediately recognized one as a duplicate of this pic from my own collection.

The Spiker & Radcliffe children in front of the Mt. Zion Church circa 1921.
First cousins Brad S, Marjory S, Dale R, Dorothy S, Guy R, Kitty S, Jean S, Goldie R, Clyde R, Lynn S

     Jennifer revealed that her great-aunt's first husband was Clyde Radcliffe from Ritchie County, WV.  Name ring a bell? If so, that's because Clyde is our great-aunt Ethel Spiker's son. That's him on the right, in the back row. Clyde Radcliffe and Lula Alice "Kate" Stewart were married in 1942. (See  Jennifer in the Relationship graphic below.)


     As I understand it, Jennifer's mother, Judy, helped take care of Kate during the last ten or so years of her life (Kate died in 2011, just ten days shy of her 100th birthday,) and had acquired many family photos. Judy preserved the originals in archival albums; Jennifer created digital copies.

     We began swapping photos. Most of them were new to at least one of us. But a few of mine were very similar to a few of hers - same family, same date, just different people or different angles. Apparently, those pics were from a Radcliffe Family Reunion. Ed Radcliff, a child in one of the photos, estimates they were taken about 1950.


     I "met" Ed online last January. His daughter was a high school classmate of mine. On a whim, I did some research to see if she and I could possibly be related by marriage. Her maiden name was Radcliff (no "e" at the end.) It didn't take long to confirm that her dad's great-uncle married my great-aunt. The uncle and aunt's names? Yep - William Stark Radcliffe & Laura Ethel Spiker. (See Ed in Relationship graphic at right.)

     Ed and I also swapped photos and compared histories. Of course, the difference in the spelling of the common surname immediately came up in our conversations.


     That (so-called) missing letter "e" is but one variation in their tree; alternative spellings I've come across include Radcliff, Radcliffe, Ratliff, and Ratliffe. Source documents are often contradictory -- among cousins, from parents to children, between siblings, and even for the same individual. In this case, Ed tells me that his ancestors have never used the "e" at the end of their surname. However, an exception occurred when two of Joesph Bailey Radcliff's ten children, namely Charles Washington and William Stark, adopted the different spelling. Odder still (at least to me,) is that ONE of Stark's three sons went back to the "traditional" spelling. 



     Take a look at this graphic. Cut-outs of  Stark's sons' grave markers are displayed over copies of their WWII Draft Registration forms.

     You can see that the spelling on each marker matches the spelling on the forms. Dale's surname does not have the "e" at the end. One could argue that the Registrar completed the form and spelled Dale's name incorrectly - but look closely and you'll see that Dale SIGNED his own name that way.

     No-one seems to know why the changes were made, but we do know such changes are very common in history. Even OUR surname has changed to include branches from Speicher, Spiker, Spyker, and certainly a few others we haven't yet discovered. Personally, I enjoy a good mystery. So while some of us debate which ancestor is "right" and which ancestor has it all "wrong" (big grin here) I'll just "hang" more pictures on the "walls" for now. 



     Here are some of the images we've been swapping. (The rest are being uploaded to our tree on Ancestry.) As you scroll through the slideshow, look for familiar faces including Aunt Gracie, Aunt Cora, Uncle Pearly, and some of our parents. (By the way, Uncle Lynn's face in the pic at the top of this page is priceless! I don't think I'd ever seen him frown a day in his life.) Enjoy!

Click on any photo below to view the original image. You may then easily scroll through the entire slideshow.




♦  Submitted by Barbara Stroud Thrush

     It's official - we are going to be adding a new member to the family in February 2019. Congrats to my baby boy & my beautiful daughter-in-law, Cole and Kylie. Mimi & PaPaw are beyond excited!!!


♦  Submitted by Bobbi Spiker Conley: [Updated Aug 19.]  

     Just days after I published this edition of the Gazette, I heard the sad news that our 2nd cousin, Joan Mary Struzik Cerney passed away from cancer on August 16, 2018. Her grandfather, Pearly Spiker, and our grandfather, Jacob Spiker, are brothers. 

     Joan has long been the go-to historian for her branch of our tree; her ability to recall names and faces is uncanny. Just last month, she and her brother, Wayne, were helping me positively identify everyone in the photo titled "Spikers and Radcliffes" (none of us were certain about the children.) I didn't show her ALL of the photos because I wanted her to be surprised along with everyone else when reading this month's Gazette. At first realization, I was sad about that - sad that she didn't get to see these photos of family that she loved so much. But then, after thinking on it for a bit, I realized SHE was getting to see the REAL PEOPLE - live and in color. How great is THAT???

     One photo I did not add to the Radcliffe album was this one of Tom, Joan, Goldie Radcliffe, and Uncle Lynn taken at my mother's kitchen table. I think she would have liked it.


Below - Yetive (Spiker) and Alonzo Struzik with their children Joan and Wayne, about 1938
Inset - Siblings Joan and Wayne, Christmas 2001

In Loving Memory
of Joan Mary (Struzik) Cerny
04 Dec 1932 - 16 Aug 2018