Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wherefore Art Thou, Emajean?

Wherefore Art Thou, Emajean?
A Friends of the Library Mystery
 (To Review, Part I)
(To Review, Part II)
(To Review, Part III)
(To Review, Part IV)
(To Review, Part V)
(To Review, Part VI)
(To Review, Part VII)

Helping at the Friends’ Children’s and Young Adult book sale at the library, the researcher was tickled to hear other volunteers asking about the Emajean story. Hearing of the search had sparked people’s curiosity. One of the ladies who had much more background in genealogy than the researcher started asking about it.  The researcher told her about the information on the man’s photograph.

 “My dad gave me a thorough detailing of that photo, but it only gives me context. I suspect he’s Emajean’s stepbrother, Walter, but I can’t verify that.  And I have to remember that my goal is to find the family in order to return the photos!” she exclaimed. “There are several photos of nurses obviously dressed for some event – graduation probably, but I don’t know who they are. I tried to match the photos with some in the annual and couldn’t be sure.”

Her colleague, intrigued by the hunt, asked, “have you tried . . . “ and named several resources. They agreed to exchange e-mails later to see what they could discover together.

As promised, after the sale, the researcher’s e-mail box contained more information.  Her friend sent information from the mid-century Jackson City Directories.  The 1937, 38, 39 and 1947 all showed Jean Mahoney living with her mother and sister (both named Frances) in Jackson, Michigan.  Her mother was shown as widow of Francis Mahoney. By 1951, all the Mahoney names were gone. What had happened?

It certainly didn’t appear that Emmajean  married. If she didn’t., who did and how on earth did this book get to Reston, Virginia?

One of the resources her friend had mentioned she ought to look at was a site called DeadFred where she could post the photos. This genealogy photo archive allowed people to upload photos of ancestors in the hopes that someone would help identify them. After spending a few minutes, the photos were posted. There!  That’s all I can do for today. Maybe someone will recognize them and contact me.”

As she got ready to close down her efforts for the day the researcher had a horrible thought. What if someone bought this as part of a lot of books at an auction, and then donated it rather than throw it out? We’ll never find the connection to Reston if that’s the case!

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