Colleen Fitzpatrick – Adoption searches


How many have you have helped an adoptee find their parents? Fantastic, you know it is one of the best experiences you can have when you see the transformation that
comes in that person when they find their family. It’s like they are complete And much of the work I do involves finding people and I don’t know what their
name, is which is very hard to do and so sometimes I’ve been successful,
sometimes there’s cases I never give up – there are some I’m
still working on – when I put together a talk not just on adoption searches per se that is the most common reason you’ve
been looking for somebody without knowing who they were But also you know, I find people for, people with amnesia that don’t know their names,
perhaps unidentified remains, we don’t know the name of the person There’s a woman in the United States
that committed suicide, they thought they knew who she was and checking her out later they found
out she had stolen the identity of somebody so beyond that we didn’t know who she was.
And in my talk I’ll show you I’ve worked with some Holocaust children who
survived, or child survives the Holocaust but they survived without their identities and they have no idea who they might be So let’s get started and I’ll show you some of the kind of ways that you can handle it, some
of the things that I did that might help you in your searches
for people whose names you don’t have any idea what they are First of all there’s always more
information than you think Here’s an example, I gave an example, I
hope this comes out Of a case I worked on, I talked about this last time I was here about Mary Catherine Cook Mary Catherine Cook, let me tell you who she
was I was approached by a couple that live
not too far from me in Huntington Beach California The husband had been adopted and the wife had not been able to conceive on her own So they had an egg donor who donated to
them so they could have children And they had a set of twins that were about 10
years old at this time The problem was that now that they
were in their 40s they were concerned that their friends
were developing certain medical conditions and problems and you know they were concerned that
they wanted to know what was going to happen to them more or less, they wanted
their medical history in order to be able to prepare if there’s
anything serious in their future they would know that for their children. So the wife had the egg donor’s medical history, they were okay with that But the husband was a complete blank – he
was adopted and they knew nothing about his birth parents except, they knew his
mother was named Mary Catherine Cook she was from San Diego and her father
was a doctor and they knew this because
right after the adoption happened in late I think 1967 Mary Catherine Cook found out
she had some kind of disorder and she would not be, probably not be able to have children, any more children so there was some discussion on getting the child
back but that never happened she just everything was resolved and they went, you know, on with their
lives. So Lisa the wife in trying to find out more about her
husband’s birth parents sent to the county, Ventura County, which
is north of LA where he was raised to get his adoption papers. And six months
later this is what came back: it was one of
five pages there were three typewritten pages ahead of this. This is page number four where it talks about, it’s a fill in the blank
about the mother who we knew was Mary Catherine Cook Everything of any interest, of any significance has been blacked out or erased and there’s nothing All you see is national descent was Scotch, English, Danish Presbyterian. She was about 18 years old
and she had been in California for 12 years So she came from somewhere else, she moved into the area with her family when she was 5 or 6. 5’7, 118lb, brown hair nah nah nah nah nah, not too much there In the bottom you see a strip down there that talked about the family. This is the mother beginning with an N R This is the family, she had two brothers, they lived at the same address The ages had been obscured education had been obscured, occupation The only thing left open was the
condition, the health of the family was all good So you can imagine, I did what you’re
thinking You’re going to sit there and try and read
behind the black stripes and hold them up to the light, and you know all I had was a scan I said I just couldn’t do it you know, I
just couldn’t I tried to figure out what kind of doctor
this was, you know hiding behind there and I wrote to the medical associations
in San Diego, I said ‘Do you have any Dr Cooks in the
1960s?’ A lot of them didn’t have any records left, no directories I found a couple of doctors, none of them began with an R I wasn’t getting anywhere okay, so this
is what I get There’s always more information than you
think. What I did was this I made an alphabet gallery of the
writing that I could see For example the Gs come from the ‘good
health’ good good good The Bs come from ‘brown hair’ and ‘blue
eyes’. I have a P – I didn’t show the whole thing P was Presbyterian. Let me move this out of the way E was English, you know Danish was a D. So I collected as much of the alphabet as I could in the handwriting of whoever filled out
that form, which probably was not Mary Catherine Cook or anybody related to the family, that
was, who knows who that was an adoption person, a Ventura County official It didn’t matter. Okay so what I did was, of everything on the pages there I figured the easiest to figure out would
be the occupation As I said I worked on what kind of doctor that was and I wasn’t getting anywhere, so I said
let me try something else, let me try the mother’s occupation, that’s probably not going to be too hard All right I saw it ended in an E The second to last letter is a big tall
letter, what do you think that is? Housewife great, so now I’m
looking for an housewife who had two boys a girl, and the girl
got pregnant and gave a baby up for adoption That narrows it down to about five million people So I said okay let me look at the brothers. And the brothers, you
see the ditto mark they were the same, doing the same thing
in life. All right what do you think the brothers did? – Scholar? – Okay we call that student So I took the handwriting, I put it
together in ‘student’ and then because I’m like peeping at it through these little black shutters I clipped it so that the bottom is exactly the clip And I compared it to what I was peeking at through the shutters S, T, U – the belly of the U D So I have a housewife and two students. All right that narrows it down from 5 million to 3 million But I’m making progress. Okay so the next
thing I looked at was look at the layout of the page. You know
you have the national descent, you have a couple black stripes a whole bunch of black stripes, this is
where the family’s information is Brown hair so on, so on. This is page
number four Page number three looked like this. And it had only three lines at the top It says Let’s see, somebody states in the history, in his family that he is subject to boils So one of the sons, I can’t read it
here, but it says, also states there is a history of eczema in his family and that he is subject to boils Okay so one of the sons, you have a housewife, you have two sons and one of them is subject to boils. Okay so you get down from from 3 million to 2.8 million All right but still, you’re still feeling your way in the dark More information. I was sitting in front of this one day, kind of just pondering And you know something struck me about this page I said ‘wow’, I tipped my laptop back to look at it, and I found I could read whatever was on, when they were xeroxing it, was laying on top of that blank page So if you look, remember I told you to look at the layout This is like a fold here, but look at the stripes where the family’s information was Remember the place where she was from was two black stripes couple of black stripes, this is a fold that
wasn’t laying on So I found out that every page had
something about the next page bleeding through and I had five pages, and so now I had a sixth page they hadn’t given me And that sixth page said just a little bit extra You know the boy’s name was originally
John you know it said something about hayfever One of the brothers had hayfever. It was really not identifying but it was very interesting So after I had that I said, there’s a stripe here I can’t
reach it, you see this top one here, not the one going all the way across, but there’s a long one and a short one, and that covers the city and the state that she was from I enlarged just that piece of this paper And this is what it looked like It’s got some doodads, some speckle and some noise, it’s not just flat white It’s got stuff in it. Now what you’re looking at now is you’re looking at a blank page, you’re
reading the page behind that that has a black stripe and I hope to see behind that black
stripe After I spent a lot of hours – they thought I was nuts – actually it has some structure in it And there has been some bleed through from the letters underneath that black stripe. And let me show you what I found This is a little bit easier, maybe if the lights were dimmed There is, the M this is the line here, you see this is lighter and this is darker This is the line where people were filling in the blank And I was able to see a little foot like this hanging below the line and then sort of a little hump that came up and I knew that was M And then over here I could see I wasn’t hallucinating this is really true, I could see some of the structure it was a D and then they had some other letters here I couldn’t quite make out So I knew the city she was from began with a D and the state she was from began with an M. Now if you know about the United States maybe you can’t recite all 50 states but if it was an L I know it would be Louisiana That would be it, and H would be Hawaii It would be great. It turns out it has six states – that’s the most common letter of the alphabet for states and there’s six of them. There’s Minnesota, Maryland, Michigan, Montana and I guess two others, Maine and Massachusetts Thank you very much. I should know that, I knew that, I knew that Okay so I said she’s from D, M Who knows? Okay, but still I’m getting there. A housewife, two sons, one has boils and asthma, she’s from D and an M, she’s six years old when she comes into California You know, on and on. All right, so I’m good, I’m getting there So then what I did, I wrote to the San Diego Historical Society I said ‘Can you give me the city directories from 1965 and 1968?’ Because I figured that if the adoption happened in late 1967 The family was listed in 1968 directory living where they lived in December 1967 Even if they had moved by then the directory would have been done So I look down the list and I came across Roy C and Noreen C Cook He was a regional sales manager for Field Enterprises Field Enterprises is an educational publishing company they publish you know the SAT test that
we take to get into college they publish like reading modules where school children will read a module and then move to the next one when they answer the questions They do all that stuff. Okay and they lived at 5262 Pendleton Street in San Diego Hmm, Noreen sure fits that shape, doesn’t it? And you know whoever the rocket scientist was that drew these black lines was so careful
to try and hide the Y at the end that name, see that? And put an extra stripe to try disguise the fact that that name had a descender in it So I was feeling pretty good, Roy and Noreen I said ‘that sure fits pretty good’. And then I looked again at that list and there was another guy, named Nelson R, a student who lived at 5242 Pendelton Street Yes. How about Nelson? Somebody, rocket scientist again was very careful to disguise the fact that there was in a descender in that All right, so I said ‘let me check this out’ I said ‘what about occupation?’ Sales manager He wasn’t a doctor, and you find this with adoption searches, not everything’s exactly the way they tell you Sales manager. Okay I had a sales manager with a housewife with two sons One was named Nelson. I looked up to see if Noreen was still alive and I found out she died in 1996 in San Diego Her maiden name was MacCuaig and her mother’s maiden name was Nielsen Yep there you go Let’s see, Scott, English and Danish. The mother is Scottish and her mother was Danish, and the father
was Cook, he was English To complete the story there’s Roy And I said maybe he’s alive but unfortunately he died in 2002 in San Diego County in a city just north of San Diego we’ll call Oceanside. So I actually drove to Oceanside to try and get the obituaries out of the local paper And all it said was Cathy Cook. I was hoping it would say ‘Cath Cook of …’ with the city. But and I looked all over, there are so many Cathy Cooks, Mary Cooks, M C Cooks It was a mess, couldn’t go there. But what I did do I saved the obits. I said ‘there’s a missing
brother’ so I wanted to see if they had the baby after they came to California in all those indexes online it says David Cook born in 1961 he would have been six, his
mother’s maiden name was MacCuaig That’s got to be him, the name is so odd Furthermore David, you see how they disguised the D at the end, isn’t that clever? and he was six years old. There they are Okay one other missing link I said, remember Noreen, I forgot to mention was from Canada You know and I said ‘Well if Noreen was from Canada then she had to come to the United States’ And this is her immigration card through Detroit, Michigan So there was Noreen, she came when she was 2 years old in 1921 and she came with her mother Karen, of course that’d be Karen Nielsen and Nelson was named after Nielsen So at this point I thought I had made a plan to go over to Kelly and Lisa’s house and tell them ‘Get a DNA test’ because this all happened very quickly But by the time I got there I had already figured it out, so I walked in and I told Lisa ‘Well I found Mary Catherine Cook’ and she goes ‘What do you mean?’ Now Kelly wasn’t there, the kids weren’t there but they showed up a few minutes later And he had never met me and I said ‘Hi, you know, I’m Collen, oh and by the way I wanted to tell you, I found your birth mother’ And he was very very sanguine, very calm guy and to me it
didn’t mean anything, you know? But his wife Lisa told me later it was like his hair was on fire I couldn’t tell the difference – he looked fine to me But he raced to the phone, left a message, we had a phone number he called Nelson Nelson turned out, we looked up Nelson. Nelson lived only eight miles away and he ran a non-profit for kids introuble called Coaches of Influence where he tried to help kids get discipline and get back on track So Nelson he called, he left a message for Nelson and we had to leave So the next day they called me and I was Oh gosh I was dying to know what happened. Kelly said he called Nelson, he said Nelson returned the call, it was a Monday To Nelson he says ‘Are you Nelson Cook?’ He says ‘Yes I am’ ‘Do you have a sister named Mary Catherine Cook?’
He says ‘Yes I do’ He said ‘Did she have a baby in December of 1967?’ He said ‘Yes she did’ and he said ‘I’m the baby’ So Nelson said ‘You know I don’t know how my sister is going to feel about this but my brother and I are overwhelmed to hear from you, we’re so happy’ He says ‘I thought about you so often
through the years and I always wondered how you turned out and I’m so glad to hear from you’ So Nelson called Mary Catherine who’s
a church secretary in San Diego She had never married and never had any other kids He says ‘Are you sitting down?’
And she says ‘Well I sit down for a living’ He says ‘Well are you really sitting down, because someone who claims to be John called this morning’ And she says let me just get my head
around this, just let me think a minute and they made an arrangement for them for Kelly to talk to Mary Catherine Cook
on the phone several days later and I heard later it was like they had never been separated You know they just had that same
language between them and they were able to meet a couple months later because
David lived in Dallas That’s kind of a distance, a couple of thousand miles So on the 4th of July he was coming to California kind of to have a family thing anyway, but
now there’s another reason So I waited, you know I was hearing updates But on the 4th of July they called me to
say they were coming back from the family reunion And I said ‘Well how did it go?’
She says ‘Oh fine’ she says ‘Nelson’s children were older so they took our
children to the beach while we talked and then cousin so and so came with potato salad and we had dinner then this other cousin came and we were glad to meet them and we were kind of wondering how you knew all this stuff because every time they told me something I’d say ‘Wait she told me that already’ So I said to myself, I said ‘Gosh that’s wonderful it’s like they never were separated,
cousin so in so bringing potato salad How normal can you get?’ I was happy and then later we actually
met Mary Catherine Cook and we heard her side of her consternation on all this and she said shortly after that she was
invited to the kids’ school to give Grandparents Day. You know she had to get up and talk about the grandparent, being a grandmother because she didn’t even have to be a mother, she just stepped right in to being a grandmother Wouldn’t that be great? She never had any other kids. So she got
up and said how proud she was of the twins and stuff and you know she was
kind of taken with this And then she said one time she was over at Kelly and Lisa’s a short time after that, and she
overheard one of the twins, I mean they had gotten to kind of mix and know one another and she heard one of the twins say to his Dad ‘Dad I don’t think that’s fair we only have one Mom but you have two’ Anyway the moral of the story is when you look at adoption records, there’s always more there than you think I want to tell you something about implicit verses explicit information
What I showed you was explicit right It was kind of right in front of you but you had to put the letters together sometimes when you have adoption searches or other kind of searches when you don’t know the name You have to almost breath in the words and
get a feeling for what they really are saying instead what they
are saying just explicitly This was a man who was 78 years old who came to me His name, I’m going to change a lot of
names here, he said he was adopted in Manhattan in 1935, he had looked for his birth parents for 56 years So he had his original birth certificate that said his name is Harold Memmering If I accidentally slip and you hear his real name don’t worry it’s fine I just happen to have my talk talk prepared with all the changed names in it Harold Memmering. 1935 he said ‘They said I was named after my dad so I’ve looked for Harold Memmering for 56 years, I just
can’t find him. He had gone to the court in New York trying to get
them to open his adoption records. New York
just doesn’t go there Doesn’t do that. He had hired a private investigator to go to the New York State
Vital Records Office and sweet talked the clerk into allowing
him to see just the names of his birth parents. And what came back, his mother’s name was Gloria Jones His grandparents were named Max Jones and Marie Jones Well you think about that, he was pretty
sure he got ripped off He had gone back to the adoption agency many times and he asked them, he said ‘Can you give me more information?’ And finally in 1976 they kept telling him no, but in 1976 the laws changed in the state of New York. That for the first time an adoptee could get the ages and causes of death of his immediate family members so he had gotten that which I will read to you in a minute but still it wasn’t enough to go anywhere with And finally he said he had pulled his
hair out, he had gone to court he had the private investigator he had genealogists all over trying to
find Harold Memmering and Gloria Jones you know and it went
nowhere, he absolutely had given up And the private investigator didn’t help. So finally he read about DNA He read about me. I had helped the police in Seattle try and solve a cold case and he was struck by this. He said ‘I’ve never tried DNA’ So I said ‘Maybe you need to take a DNA test because that could tell you your father’s real name Okay now back up, about the non-identifying information that they had received that he received from the adoption agency I want to read this to you and I want you to keep in mind several things I want you to listen to the voice I just want you to listen. I read this every day for months The maternal grandmother studied piano and voice in Europe she graduated from high school, she was German and Danish ancestry The maternal grandfather died at 55 of liver trouble he was successful businessman, he had distant English and Scottish ancestry which is common in the US And the mother was educated by private tutors, she never worked she was a trophy wife they were wealthy, nothing required of her. So that when she got pregnant she could do nothing but give
the baby up for adoption, she couldn’t support it And in the family she had one brother
and two sisters, so there was one boy and three girls in that family.
Here’s his letter He said, his name was Stanley ‘Dear Stanley, I don’t have Miss Brown’s notes from your contact in ’56 but I’m sending you the information – 1956 –
but I am sending you the information in our file which we shared with your adoptive parents at the time of your placement’ This letter is dated 1976 – 20 years after his first contact ‘Your maternal grandmother was a bright, intelligent woman she studied piano and voice in Europe
and was reported to have considerable talent She graduated from high school and then took up her music She was of Danish and German descent, her parents were both dead Her father was killed in an accident and
her mother died from a stroke She had one brother who was a professor
in college. Your maternal grandfather died at the age of 55 from liver trouble He was educated in a private school and later owned his own large successful business He was a son of the revolution. His parents
were born in Pennsylvania and his father died at 50 years of age, and his mother when she was 64 of a stroke. A brother
of his, a college graduate was killed in the hunting field and his sister
died from childbirth They were of distant English and Scottish
ancestors Your mother was a lovely looking girl
with dark hair and beautiful dark eyes She was rather short but well-built. A
very attractive girl with a quiet personality She was educated by private tutors here and in Europe She studied painting and was fairly good at it, she had never worked nor done anything very much as the family always traveled considerably
and being the daughter of a very wealthy family nothing had been required of her
Her father used to own a long string of hunters and was also quite a yachtsman She had one brother who graduated from
private school but the three daughters all had tutors Your mother met your father while he was
in real estate near where she lived He seemed very much in love with her
They were both interested in out of door sports and sailed together his boat a lot Although her family were very social
minded she liked the simple things and was delighted to find a companion who liked to be with her alone and not always desiring large social parties
She was very feminine sort of person who would be very
charming in her own little home She felt very deeply in love with your
father and she ultimately became pregnant He begged her to marry him but her family objected He said he would help her when her time came but just at that time his mother was taken sick
and he left to visit her He wrote your mother saying that he was
going west, that his wife wanted to get a divorce This was the first that she knew of his
marriage. She did not hear from him again This was very difficult as she really loved him and adored you Her dream had always been to have a son someday and now she had this perfect little boy
she could not keep him She had no training to make a living
herself so she could not make a home for you Although she knew your father well she
never met his family nor heard much about them. She said he was tall with blue eyes and light hair very quick mentally, and very gentlemanly in his manner He was crazy about sailing, a good boxer,
and swam extremely well I hope this information will refresh
your memories of twenty years ago There is an additional note in the record
from your natural mother which states that should you ever return
for information she would want you to know these facts
and that she gave you up because she loved you and wanted you to have a happy and secure future’ I’d like a note in a bottle When I read this, I read this every day to get as much implicit information as I could about who this family could be. And what I did really was thinking about the voice of who
gave that information The letter was written by an adoption
official but behind that the information was given by the natural
mother and I’m trying to hear her voice through this letter. The first question is
about how old was the mother? Was she a teenager? Was she an immature teenager that just fooled around and got caught? Or was she an older woman you know that had pretty much given up getting married, the social life? And I came to the conclusion the way she
spoke, the way she described her father the way she described the hunters, the
activities the family was involved in I thought she was in her twenties, she
was not very, very young she She was a mature woman who just was
lonely and she got caught So in that regard she must have been born about 1915-ish So how old her father was dead, how old was her father when she died? To me it was a woman who was an adult talking about, she knew her father as an adult. It wasn’t a woman talking about a father that died when she was a little baby you see And she wasn’t, you know it wasn’t very far along because she was in her twenties, so I said Probably the father didn’t die too long before this happened and it could happen because he died
the family have been disrupted maybe she got loose a little more she was trying to explore life a little
more and she got pregnant so I came to the conclusion that her father
didn’t die too long in the past before this happened so I said okay he died let me just guess
about 1930 about five years ago you had that feeling I’m using my
intuition trying here the mother tell me who she is so I said he died about a little bit in
the past not too long and I said to was her fault family
really wealthy what she making this up for the adoption
agency was she fantasizing about gee I’m so broke I have this kid my family can’t support you know but I’m dreaming my way into
having yachts and the tutors and stuff and I came to the conclusion that that was authentic that really she was
talking really about like that had that texture someone who
was wealthy explaining why she couldn’t keep the baby and
lastly I cited if you look at all that she was
born about 1915 he died about 1930 they were wealthy if you look at all that the best place to look for this family was in the 1920 census before her father died okay so the first thing I did X trying get the explicit information to work I went to the new york times I figure if
this family was wealthy and they were in new york when he died he would have to be in the
New York Times maybe the obituary was there so I typed in
three daughters and a son 55 years old and I came up with this guy William WP Marsh who was an executive at Borden Dairy Company he was he died in 1932 he was 55 years
old he had three daughters and one son One of those daughters was Elizabeth born in 1916 this man died of heart disease but our
birth grandfather died liver disease okay I’m okay with that I he was a business executive but the
birth grandfather owned a business it said he owned a
business and this one belonged to a civil war club called the Union League and the man in the right up belonged to the suns of the revolutions do you follow me here this man belonged to a very prestigious golf club called Ginlegg Club or something and we
know that the birth grandfather belonged to prestiges Yacht club that’s where the mother met the
father at the Yacht Club this family were yachtsman so I said is that a fit or not all the explicit
informations right some of the you know could have just maybe just been massaged by the birth mother trying to change the story in hide her identity so I said maybe at fit maybe not so I I contacted this family I found the
descendants I discussed with I the yes great-grandson so it be there grandson of Elizabeth March it turned
out that this man his wife’s family was a relative of the director at the New York
genealogical & biographical society which gave me a leg up to that genealogy
and after some discussion with the the birth family the great grandchildren
of this man the grandchildren Elizabeth and so on we came to the conclusion it just didn’t fit it just didn’t feel right yes you know all
the explicit some explicit stuff was right and we could massage the rest a
bit yet but just didn’t feel right just so I
said let’s just keep going we can always turn back if that turns out to be right so we took the YDNA test me and it came
up with the name frost and as you probably
know the YDNA follows the family line
like the family name so when you wanna find a man’s name we
take like we were talking this gentleman Mr Larson in the front if you take that
test adoptees like to take the test because it
helps them find their father’s birth name so my friend Stanley
came up with Frost and we contacted Mr Frost and said tell us about your family you know
what’s going on he said actually my family has lived
I lived in Florida but my family lives in New York and
they’ve lived there for three hundred years on Long Island he said but I don’t match any Frost you know this this screen I say was almost
identical to Mr Frost so we had you know some idea they were
closely related he said but I don’t match any Frost I have a
group of I changed the name Bradstones that I imagine it turns out
the Bradstones lived next door to my Frosts for three hundred years so I think there might be a connection
there you know I don’t know so I said good alright that’s good we’re
getting we getting headway and Stanley was really upset that there were not any Memories that came up on his list he said because
I was told I was named after my father I said well I don’t know maybe there’s
no memories out there you can compared to but looks like your name may
have been Frost out wanna this aside I wanted to say I look at all a lot of Frost and this was a kinda weird story about up Man named Frederick Frost he was adopted his father was
named Frederick Beatson and when Frederick Beatson died there
was a story in the paper because he took his
son Frederick Junior actually sold him to the Frost family
and he got twenty five thousand dollars in return and so when Mr Beatson mister B’s and died there
was an argument over the beat and went overseas this adopted out
son who should get the I stay in the story
came up about missed a beat in promising his son pay the twenty five thousand
dollars back or something like that is part of the state knows a verbal think so widow was fine
with this adopted out son who was the son by a previous marriage
it was very is almost comical warehousing fighting and so I thought know this is
kinda interesting story but I never could connect Stanley any other frost family so after really just kill myself and not getting
anywhere I was done I couldn’t think of anything so I talked
to a friend which is always good get somebody to go over everything into
holes in mind what you do with it get to the end you
can’t think of anything else maybe your friend can point out an
assumption or something that you may that’s wrong and and somebody tell me
some really interesting after nine months or so she said have
you ever considered that when he was named after his father
that actually Harold is his father’s name and
that memory might be his mother’s maiden name because the woman with he would take his
mom’s last name I had never considered that dollar in a you know you always relearn everything
you never can learn enough re relearned alright so I said that’s interesting let
me go look for female Memmerings and this is a different
kind research so went back through the census records
collecting all of these Memmerings and I got to the 1900 census and I found a family living in New York in
there was a widow and she had three sons and one daughter
and they were all grown and they were still living with her the Memmering family so I said um I said okay are that’s interesting and I put aside and the weirdest thing
happened it was like there was I swear this is interesting I was alone
in the world and I felt like a woman was standing
behind me and she said when which when I flipped the screen over
to the next record she said you want to take another look at that and I laughed
and said yeah okay I laughed and I pulled it back I swear
this happen this woman was there out of the blue and you knows there is no body there So I flipped it back on the screen and there
was the Memmering with Wilhelmina Edward William and Daisy and Herbert
worker children but right under that there was a two-year-old boy named Howard Bradstein so really the man
was Harold Memmering Bradstein I said this has to be him whats the chance
of that happening and it was so I said let me check this
guy out a little more okay let’s assume that’s him and I followed him he was in real estate
in Fairfield County Connecticut 1934 he was married and he loved sailing he
had a boat that was register with some authority and furthermore in 1935 he moved to Florida where he was living with his wife and his mother so I said that has to be him and I tell you when I call Stanley
and told him that well I mean it was at he’s a very in southern
gentleman so he lives in Kentucky and when you ask him a question its gonna
taking him a long time to answer so I said you know Stanley yesterday I
talked to you and you were you told me you were real busy so I said
you know I forgot to ask you something I said if I was to come up with something do you want me to tell you something or do you want me to wait for all your guests to leave it took ’em 10 minutes to say yes um and he was like yes its so important and yes the guests are important you know nmm nmm nmm and I am standing and my hair is on fire and I finally I broke and I said I’m
really glad that you feel that way cuz I just found your father last night and there was dead silence and I said Harold Memmering Bradstein and he goes no I’m glad there is a bench here and so I
went to and then I said after we went through the whole story he knew I was right I said now that I’ve found your father your mother can’t be too far away okay so I said Fairfield County Connecticut remember we
knew she was born about 1915 ish she had three girls and a boy the
father would have been born 1880 75 to 80 so I did a very broad search on Fairfield County not just the city
because there are a lot a little towns along there and I knew because whatever was reported about the
father I knew that was right right on the money so I said it helped
the mother is more than likely exactly what the document says so I went
to the 1920 census I went to Fairfield County I opened up
the intent as wide as I could did a very general search on Ancestry I
I came up with about 200 something hits of
families that fell in that category the man 1880 plus or minus living in that area and I was down to 186 when I came up
with the Jones family I could mouse over and rule out the people that had two daughters and
two sons and didn’t have children that were from Ireland and nmm nmm nmm and I came up with the Jones family and looking just you know drilling into
that father died of liver problems he was 55
years old he was a successful business owner lost all the
money in the crash belong to the Suns of the Revolution and was the founder of the local Yacht Club how’s that so the daughter the daughter who was the mother was the
only one the father died in I forget before the 1930 census the mother the mother was Marie what’s it say was Marie Jones was still
living with Stephanie and the boy the other two girls were gone off
somewhere the mother was widowed so that I I knew it had to be Stephanie the
other girls were gone so when you look at what happened there
Harrell Memmering Bradstein we only have a fraction of the name not the whole one turns out the reason she was marked down
as Gloria is because that was her nickname she never ever went by the name Stephanie she always went by the name Gloria so
actually even though Harold Memmering and Gloria Jones that was right it was Harold Memmering Bradstein and Gloria was her nickname so there we have it she was born in 1911 her father died in 1927 close enough for
government work they were wealthy and there is the they had a reunion there is the happy adoptee and I called him and he started making feelers in the family you know because obviously his parents are dead his father died in 1967 his father was married four times his mother died in 1947 her she was destitute her mother and
father had both died she was left in a tenement in Manhatten she had three day pneumonia and
she died penniless 1947 he was 12 years old I’m so he
started all the brothers and sisters had children
and he started to contact his cousins and there was a warmth that just was rushed out to hug him and he had to come out to California a right after that last year to a for a
dog in a dog show he judges dog shows he deals with horse races race horses and when he came out his cousins knew he’d be out there so
this cousin had big party for him there were cousins that flew in from Rhode Island from Iowa from San Francisco drove up from Southern California and
Andy and I were invited we all got together he said that was the
highlight of his life when his family gave him a one year old birthday party so the last section is let’s use DNA a little bit more to
see you know what you can squeeze information you can squeeze out to help adoptees these are what I am going to tell you about is how I hope the Holocaust survivor find retrieve her family information we are
not to the bottom of it yet but we hope one day if you wanna go to a really fascinating
website go to missing hyphen identity dotnet it is
a website dedicated to the children who survived the Holocaust without their
identities every single one most of them have
research journals on what they have tried to find out who
they are and these people have dedicated their entire lives too finding out themselves not their mother and
father grandparents just themselves um and if you read what
they tried what they did you will be amazed you learn a lot there was one woman who all she knew
really started out with was the people she was hidden with and she
posed as a catholic child and all she remembered was there was a
young woman from next door down the hall in the same apartment
building that visited her visited the family a lot and would kind of
favour her and play with her and give her some candy or something so she remembered that woman’s first name and going back to the city directories
and you know the historical records she found the woman’s last name and researched her more and that was her birth mother and from that she was able the mother
was gone she was able to find family all over the
world she was able from having nothing she was
able to find her entire family on um in 2012 had an idea that DNA might
help identify some these kids so I got up some help from JRI Pollen which
is the big jewish records indexing website on jewish gene dot org that is the
big Jewish genealogy website JRI Poland is the Polish
section that run by Stan diamond and they have been collecting all of the
records from the Polish state archives indexing and putting actual records online it’s a
multi-year project they’ve got millions of records done so far I also got help being have been getting
help from the Holocaust Museum and I hope you know if you doing jewish
research about the Yad Vashem that is the remembrance of the Holocaust Yad Vashem is the Garden of Remembrance and this is where all of the Holocaust records are being put on so I thought I looked for candidates that might benefit from DNA testing
because if I could find DNA cousins maybe they would have more the story and
I could triangulate in trying to help these people find their identities I’ll just say two slides on Autosomal snip test and I will tell you how this works you may have heard there’s a new test
called Autosomal DNA what they do when they do this test
is they test seven hundred thousand points on your DNA called snips they are just points and they take your seven hundred thousand points and they put it in the database with all
the other people that have been tested and then they look at how many points
you share with other people and on the basis of
how many points you share that’s gonna tell the percent of your points that you are going to match to somebody else will tell estimate on how you related to that person. so if I tested and somebody else tested
and we came up with fifty percent of more points in common we’d have to be a parent-child combination
or we’d have to be siblings that’s the only way that could happen if we were first cousins we’d share in the
range 12 percent of our points second cousins 3 per cent and third cousin share a little bit less
than a percent see find your percent can you figure out
how close your DNA cousin is and then you have to sit
down and do the genealogy behind how you could be related DNA can tell
you related but it can’t tell you the exact connection that’s up to you so for
example if you tested and you found somebody that shared 3
percent of those points with you that would have to be your second cousin
and you’d sit down and figure out if you shared great grandparents who who
they would be and so you can work out your connection
now it can take you actually some time the further back you go the more possible branches you both can connect on so its
actually can be a very time-consuming but basically this is what you doing
they say your second cousins find out the great grandparents if they say third to fifth cousins find
out where in there your family lived at the same time if you
have common names in the family any hints you got to see where you might
connect the person that we started working with
first was this this little girl with had no idea who
she was the story is this that this happened in southern Poland in July 1942 a couple is walking to the train station
and a woman comes in says with a crying baby says I to about this couple will you buy milk
for my baby in a couple just surprised but the
husband is okay he goes off to buy the milk and while he’s gone that woman asks the
wife how about just taking my baby and the
wife is like well I don’t know you know the husband comes
back and there is some discussion they took the baby they say give us your
name we will bring the baby back later and the woman says you really don’t wanna know and that was the end to the adoption process
they took the baby and they raised it on their own and they
never said anything really about what happened and
later about 10 years ago the parents were gone an old aunt came
in and said an old aunt came in and said you know
told the story about to train station whatever little
she knew and the woman was shocked because now her family was not her family she was
somebody else so her son went and got her DNA tested and not surprisingly he got just
the maternal the mondecongrual tested and found out
she was ashkenazi jewish so you poland Southern Poland in July 1942 train station that’s when all the Jews
were being transported through Poland to the death camps you suddenly realize what really happened the woman took one last chance to save her baby’s life and she did so we will call her Bronia Bronia took the Autosomal DNA test and so the first column you see is all her
DNA cousins the first one is named Stan he
was a male born in 1927 if you look at the second column you see
the estimate that company 23 and me has produced on how closely all
the people are related so according to the number of points that
Stan shares with this woman Bronia they have estimated 2nd to 4th cousins good so I sat down I said first
of all I realized I had big problem because she
doesn’t know anything at all and when I talk to Stan very typically
of he was descended from immigrants to the
US around the turn of the 20th century I would imagine it was the same way here
in Australia if you had those kind immigrants they never talked
about their families Stans mother had died when he was very
young so when I’m talking to him really he had one 1/2 of his family kinda filled out but he knew very little about everyone else he was his genealogy were fragmented and when I
looked at the rest to the people on her list and
talk to them their genealogies were fragmented they were either descended from
immigrants around turn of the 20th century or they would
send from holocaust victims and neither kinda person really had that
full picture their genealogy so immediately I had all of this
information but it was so fragmented that I couldn’t really do what I want with it so I
decided to try something else what I did was this this is where the
train station is located I said there’s a lot information here I
don’t have all the names I don’t have all the relationships I don’t have the
family trees but if you have some geographical
information so I talked to Stan I said where are your parents from he said my father’s from Romania my mother’s
from the Ukraine okay the woman is doesn’t necessarily
have to be related to both for those she could relate just to one but I don’t
know which one without further information they live far apart because Stans
parents met in the United States the next one was Tomar his father was
from Romania and his mother was from Egypt okay we don’t have to worry about
Egypt but he’s on the map too in Romania the third one named Itan his mother was from southern Poland
and his father was from Belarus and they met in Israel and married later again
the woman’s probably going to be related to one or the other but not both so I figured and as I added Isaac was product Romania and Ukraine
again so what I was trying to do was get
enough information talk to all these matches throw them on the map and find out where
the bubbles of geography came together find out places
on the map that had the most color and number balloons because people it shared DNA shared geography and if I could find that I could
find out where her parents were from because that’s the lines she connected
through I did this this is for I did this for the top 20 or 30 overtime
unfortunately this is what I came up with so I found out what is common sense that
Jews are related to almost everybody in Europe like yeah I am just about done so I said this is
kinda tough so I said are alright let me back off and just do couple of them and I had maybe the
first six or seven I came up with two bubbles one southern
Poland are and one in Romania the one in
southern Poland I associate with her mother so her mother was from right around
the train station and father was from Romania and by the way they always give you sort about ethnic
ethnicity analysis when you do that and her father was not Jewish she’s only
half Jewish so Romania non-Jewish and Polish mother was Jewish from around the train
station two of her mother’s matches knew how they related to each other Melvin and Carmel had done their genealogies and they knew
they descended from a Rabbi who was born in 1811 so it turned out that she shares the
same piece of DNA that they share with each other so she’s a decendant of that Rabbi too and this is the beginning of a family tree for her for us it wouldnt be much but for somebody starting off from scratch that’s a big
deal so we hope that following this geography and following that Rabbi’s family we hope
to find the decendent of the Rabbi living in the area around the train station that would be a great break through and so using DNA using with help of JRI Polland the Holocaust centre and Yah Versham we hope we can get her back to her
family the end

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