Monday, December 15, 2014

Ethel May Kendall Hibsch, My First Family Historian (52 Ancestors #48)

This is another article for the series "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks", a challenge by Amy Johnson Crow on No Story Too Small

Ethel M. Kendall Hibsch, 1979
Sometime on 22 May 1899, likely in their two-story wood-framed house in Los Nietos, California, Henry Martin Kendall and his wife Ida May Brown welcomed a baby girl they named Ethel May.  My Grandma.  Baby Ethel joined siblings Charles, Celia, Henry and Joseph.  Another brother, Thomas Arley, would arrive in a couple years. She lived in Los Nietos for several years until the family relocated to Baldwin Park, Los Angeles County, California in the San Gabriel Valley.  There, she was surrounded by the rich ground where citrus orchards were abundant, like on her father's ranch.

Kendall family home in Los Nietos, CA circa 1899. 
See Ida May holding Ethel May.

Ethel May Kendall about age 10 posed on the Kendall Citrus Ranch
 in (then) Baldwin Park, California
Family gatherings and church picnics were common at the Kendall Ranch.  In her teen years, Ethel May hosted her own parties with friends from school. On Friday, June 15, 1917, she hosted her own 18th birthday party!  A few weeks later she graduated from Covina High School.   

Source: Covina Argus published 1917 June 17

Ethel May Kendall
Covina High School Class of 1917 

Following high school, Ethel attended the Woodbury Business School in Los Angeles after which she worked as a stenographer at the Office Exchange Agency in Covina according to the 1920 Covina City Directory.  It was about this time she was smitten by a young man named Alba W. Hibsch.  He worked at the Covina Argus newspaper.  Soon they would marry, have two sons and eventually, six grandchildren. 

Ethel was active all of her adult life.  When her children were young, she belonged to the Parent Teachers Association and helped out when her youngest son was a Boy Scout.  Other organizations to which she belonged included the Covina Women's Club,  Eastern Star and the Presbyterian Church.  After the death of her husband Alba in 1959, she frequently traveled on her own, a rarity for the time.  She doggedly pursued her family history in Kansas and Ohio and ultimately identified her American Revolution ancestor that allowed her to join the Daughters of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames and Daughters of the American Colonists.  Having personally read many documents and memorabilia she left behind dating from her girlhood days, somehow she acquired an early appreciation for documenting history that lasted a lifetime.  Lucky for me and that her youngest son saved it all!

She lived her entire life in and near Covina.  She died on 9 October 1988 at the age of 89 and was buried at Oakdale Memorial Park in Glendora, California.


  1. What a wonderful birthday tribute to your grandmother.

    I found your blog via GeneaBloggers. Welcome!


    1. Hi Jana - thanks for stopping by my fledgling blog and "meeting" my Grandma. -Denise

  2. Hi, Denise! It's good to see a California-based geneablog. My Mom's family was from the SF Bay Area, so while we're not cousins, I guess we could be "neighbors," of sorts. GeneaBloggers pointed me in your direction. Happy blogging!

    1. Hi Donna, thanks for the welcome. My husband's mother was born and raised in San Francisco - Cecilia Caballero 1919-2012. So, nice to meet you 'neighbor'. - Denise

  3. Welcome to Geneabloggers! I've been a member for about eight months.

    Regards, Grant

    1. Hi Grant, thanks for the welcome. is a great community to share and learn. - Denise

  4. California had the best orange groves and strawberry fields!
    Not bad on avocados either. :-)
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

    1. Hi Theresa, thanks for stopping by. Yum, California is America's fruit bowl! --Denise


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