Old Photos Find Their Way Home

Posted October 17, 2012 by Geni | No Comment

Geni user Paul Hart recently shared a wonderful story with the Geni community. For years, he has been in possession of old photographs belonging to his grandmother’s foster family. After years of searching for the family’s descendants, he finally tracked them down to return these long lost family items. And along the way, he solved a mystery about his own grandmother’s whereabouts. Read the full story below:

My grandmother (Fern) went into a foster home when she was a child. The couple (John and Bertha), treated her well as I understand it.

When my grandmother passed away, pictures from this family passed to my father. When he passed away, I got them. I have spent the last few years trying to find descendants of John or Bertha so I could return the pictures.

I had tracked John’s son Howard to California, but he passed away a number of years ago and his obit did not give much information. When the 1940 census came out, I was able to find Howard had a daughter Kathleen.

It took me a little while, but I was able to find her married name and number. I called her last week. After I had verified she was the correct person and let her know I had pictures of her grandfather (Bertha was actually John’s second wife), she started crying. Because her grandparents were divorced when her father was young, and she grew up in New York, the pictures that I have will be the first time she has ever seen her grandfather. She is 73.

A thing like this makes it worth it. :)

As a bonus, I had always wondered why my grandmother was in Plainfield, NJ where she met my grandfather. I had pictures of a Kathleen and what seems to be her son John in Plainfield. I assumed my grandmother was visiting them. Pulling the pictures out again, I realized that one of the women in the pictures looked like Bertha. I started looking into her records more closely and found her maiden name matched Kathleen and John’s, I then found her obit where it mentions John is her nephew.

This weekend I was able to find someone else researching Bertha’s line. They actually had pictures of Bertha online from when she was a young woman. I contacted them and let them know I had some pictures to send them. I have not heard back from them yet.

So the mystery about why my grandmother was in Plainfield is solved. She was visiting Bertha’s family there.

I might start sending out some old pictures I have to see if anyone knows who the individuals are in them.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Let us know in the comments below!