Detective Work and a New Cousin

(I hope I can tell this story clearly enough without using the names – I don’t want to betray any privacy without permissions)

So I was recently contacted through Ancestry (a genealogy database that I have subscribed to for ages) by someone who had done their DNA test and reached out to me as their 4th cousin.  Now I’ve gotten those requests before and I usually reply cordially, with a “nice to meet you, thanks for contacting me”, but this one was more intriguing.  She said that her mother was adopted and she knew who her birth grandmother was (I’ll call her EM) but my dna match was from what she suspected was her birth grandFATHER’s side (whom she knew nothing about).  She told me a few background details that sent me scurrying to those branches of my family tree to check things out. (I love a good mystery)

So I thought if I could place the family of her grandmother (EM) near or around the suspected grandfather’s family (JG), there may be some evidence that my JG was indeed her grandfather.

EM worked at the Albert L Stockman beauty shop in 1940,41,42. The address was 218 Lyceum Bldg, which was on W. Superior (corner of 2nd) which was part of the ‘Bowery District’. (that historic part of Duluth was demolished in the 60s in the name of urban renewal) She lived with her family and son (whom she kept and raised) nearby.  JG was married with 4 daughters in 1940. He worked at the First Street store (131 W First Av corner of 2nd Ave). He was unmarried by 1942 and living at 2801 W. Superior and then remarried in 1946 (she was listed in 1948 as a beauty operator). A theory could be that since his work was so close to EM’s shop (same cross street, one block up), that they may have met? Coincidence also that he became divorced around the birth of EM’s second child as well (1942) …

So I sent these details off and she responded that there was a family rumor about her grandmother being ‘a mistress’ (there’s usually some truth to those family rumors) and that she looked at the 4 daughters of JG from 1940 and one of them popped up on her DNA matches as a second cousin!  Confirmation and mystery solved?

She contacted this second cousin and it was confirmed that JG was their common grandfather so she is hoping to get to know her new relatives and see pictures of her half-Aunts and cousins.  Her great grandmother and my great grandmother were sisters, so we are more distant, but still family.

I am so happy that this worked out for her.  I’m honored to have been involved and to have provided some resources to help.  This is one of the most satisfying parts of being a professional genealogist and historian.  And also a big shout out of thanks to old City Directories being transcribed and indexed!!

p.s. – feel free to contact me at 314-292-9153 for your family mysteries — CJ

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