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About Anna M Tucker
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Sisters ... 67 years in the making
By: Jørn Earl Otte, Staff October 02, 2001
(Beckley, WV, Register-Herald)
For years, Anna Tucker said she "had a suspicion" deep in her heart that somewhere out there she had two sisters.
She didn't know their names. She didn't even know if they were still alive. But she knew - she felt it in the marrow of her bones - that she was not alone.
Thanks to the power of the Internet, she discovered her feelings were rooted in reality.
The result was a reunion with her newly discovered extended family, and the opportunity to meet her two sisters for the first time in 67 years.
"It's wonderful. It's really incredible," Tucker said as she sat on the couch in her 73-year-old sister Macie Church's living room in Crab Orchard. "I'm really glad this day has finally come."
"I'm really thrilled," said Tucker's other sister, 71-year-old Jane Rockel of Logan. "I'm just so glad that she's alive and we found her."
Finding each other was a relatively easy task once Church's family and Tucker's family decided to use cyberspace to discover their roots.
"My daughter, Cheryl Clark, decided to do a genealogy on our family," said the 68-year-old Tucker, who lives in Painesville, Ohio. "She gathered as much information as she could, and then started posting it on the Internet."
When Macie Church thinks back on her childhood, she has a vague, foggy recollection that she had a little sister who was taken away when the sister was just an infant.
"I remember when she was born, but that's about all. I remember seeing her as a tiny baby," Church said.
Church's son Harry decided he wanted to do some genealogical research on his mother's family, especially to find out if this long-lost sister could be found, or if she even existed.
Coincidentally, Harry also sought the help of the Internet world - and statistics show that he is not alone. Genealogical research has been reported to be among the top five reasons people use the Internet.
But this sisterly reunion didn't happen overnight.
"They had been on the Internet since 1997," Harry said, referring to Clark's research on her mother. "So when we discovered my grandmother's name (Maddie Tolbert) on their family's information, we knew there was a connection."
The families began corresponding through e-mail in mid-July, and in September their reunion became a reality.
"My mother upped and walked away from the family 67 years ago," Tucker said. "We still don't really know why."
The family was living in Kingston and the sisters' grandfather, William Tolbert, who lived in Pax, got word of what had happened.
"He got my mother to take me to him," Tucker said. "Then, about a year later, my mother came back wanting me and my grandfather ran her off. My grandfather said the last thing he ever heard my mother say was, 'See you on doomsday,' and then she left for good."
But when Tucker was a young girl, William Tolbert died, leaving Tucker with her stepgrandmother - who wanted nothing to do with the rest of the family. Only by accident did Tucker find out she had other relatives, but she knew nothing of her sisters.
"I knew I had a brother because one time when I was little, I remember my brother coming over to visit," she said. "After he left I said, 'Who was that?' My step-grandmother said it was my brother, but that I didn't need to worry about it because I didn't need to have anything to do with that family."
Tucker never saw that brother again. He died in the early 1980s, long before Tucker's genealogical research ever began.
While she was living with her stepgrandmother in Pax, Tucker was completely unaware that just a few miles away in Lester she had an extended family.
"That's what's so frustrating," Church said. "We were so close. It bothers me.
"But we're together now," she quietly added, "so that's good."
©The Register-Herald 2001