Helping Two Sisters Connect

There are many things that I love about my job, but this has to be one of the best experiences I’ve had in a long time.

Last year, I started going to a local farmer’s market to get away from my desk and share FOREVER and some of the genealogy items I have at my store, Shop the Hound.

I met a lady in the fall at the market, and we started talking about photo collections. She said, “I don’t have any photos of my father.” She went on to tell me that when she was a baby, her parents weren’t married, and her mom passed away when she was only a few months old. Her aunt and uncle raised her, and she didn’t know what happened to her dad. Of course, for me, this is like throwing down the gauntlet, so I asked her if she could write down what she knew about her father, and I would see what I could find.

All she knew was her father’s name; he was probably 20-23 years old in 1943 and lived in Edmonton then. She didn’t know where he was born but knew he had a younger sister.

The surname was quite common, so I was surprised it was the easiest search I’d ever done.

On the 1931 Canada Census, only one family lived in Edmonton, with a son named xxxx and a younger daughter. The father’s name was xxxx (age 38), and his wife, xxxx (age 35). The son was xxxx, age 13, and the daughter was xxxx, age 7. Both xxx and xxx had been born in Alberta.

I also found a 1952 US Border Crossing. At the time of the border crossing, he is traveling with his wife, xxxx, and son, xxxx. xxxx was an Engineer, and they were traveling from Vancouver to go live in Arlington, California.

In 1961, xxxx and his wife lived in Downey, California, and he worked for Fluor, a global construction company. This information is from a Downey directory.

Xxxx and xxxx married on March 31, 1947.

I was able to give my new friend not only information about her father but also about her grandparents and her aunt (the younger sister), as well as photos of her father, grandparents, and great-grandparents. All this in just three hours of research. My new friend was over the moon with excitement.

But I saved the best for last. I could provide all these photos because someone on Ancestry had posted the photos, and she appeared to be a half-sibling. This lady, who lived near Portland, Oregon, had a tree that included my new friend’s mother and my friend. The tree was anonymized because the lady in Oregon had entered them as living, but I knew that her half-sibling knew about her.

I asked my new friend if she wanted me to message her through Ancestry to see if they could connect, and she said yes. In a few days, they were chatting on the phone for hours.

But this is not where my story ends. In May, I received a message from the new half-sibling, who said she was coming to Edmonton in June to meet her new sister and would like to meet me as well. A few days later, I received another call from my market friend, who told me she would be coming to the farmer’s market with her sister, and wondered if I could join them for coffee afterward. Of course, I agreed.

They came to the market, and you would have thought they had known each other forever. They were chatting and talking about people they had in common. Clearly, they’d done much talking over the phone during the winter.

They posed and asked if I thought they looked alike, and they did. We had coffee after the farmer’s market, and photos and documents were shared all around. They kept on saying how lucky they were to have found each other and that each was the best gift. You see, the next day was my new friend’s birthday—her 81st birthday—and she not only found siblings but was able to meet one of them in person.

From what I understand the weekend was spent meeting other family members and getting to know each other more.

This is my first time finding connections for families without using DNA. All I used were records and ancestry trees, and that was a nice surprise.

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