Mildred’s Family Has Been Found

This is Mildred. The picture was taken about 1936.

This is Mildred. The picture was taken about 1936.

The picture you see above had been stored in a box for well over 50 years. It is from the collection of pictures and other items my wife, and I found when we cleaned out her parents home well over ten years ago. I have been slowly placing names and histories to these items. Each one is a challenge but brings its rewards when the mystery is solved.

This picture was a little easier as it had a name very lightly written on the back. It was not a family name, and no one seemed to know her. I took a guess that it was a picture taken for a school graduation. My wife’s mother had graduated from Plattsburgh State Normal School in the year 1939. I found a website that had copies of the “Cardinal” yearbooks, from the Plattsburgh State Normal School. I found Mildred in the 1936 edition. I was now certain how and why my mother-in-law had her picture.

This is the year book page I found on-line.

This is the year book page I found on-line.


My next step was to search my favorite on-line digital newspaper sites. After several days of looking I finally found Mildred. The news articles traced a life in print. Marriage, births and in the end deaths. By reading these articles, I got to know Mildred and her family. I also discovered that she died just this year at the age of 100. I learned that she put her teaching degree to good use teaching until she retired in 1977. Then she volunteered for Literacy Volunteers for many years after. Her husband died in 1975. They had one daughter and at the time ofย Mildred’s death three grandchildren.

I was able to contact the daughter, and she seemed very happy to be able to get the photograph. All in all, it took me a few hours research spread out over a month to be able to do this. I get a great feeling when I can restore these items to their families. So I have done my genealogy good deed, and I encourage you to try and do the same.

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52 Responses to Mildred’s Family Has Been Found

  1. Bob & Sandi McGinnis says:

    Great reading!

  2. Job well done, thank you.

  3. Congratulations! You are a natural born sleuth! What a wonderful thing to do, and cudos for encouraging others!

  4. momfawn says:

    I am always saddened when I find old photographs at a yard sale. Good for you for “going the extra mile” to return this lovely portrait to its rightful owner. – Fawn

  5. gpcox says:

    You are very lucky that the picture held up so well for over 50 years!! Family treasures are hard to beat – aren’t they?!

  6. What a nice thing to do! You’re a real life Santa! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. You’re like the Sherlock Holmes of family heirlooms! Was Mildred a good friend of your mother’s when she was in school then? So wonderful you were able to get the photo back to her family.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I have no idea if they were good friends or not. However based on the photograph and they were not cheap I would say so. None of the family today knew who she was. It is a great feeling to be able to return these items.

  8. Morag says:

    Reblogged this on Wir Unst Family and commented:
    I love this story – finding someone just from a photograph, and giving the photo to the family of the person once found. Lovely.

  9. pastsmith says:

    What a heart-warming story. Always good to hear the happy-ending ones. Thx.

  10. Amy says:

    How wonderful! I love a story with a happy ending. There are not enough of those!

  11. Jim McKeever says:

    Well done! The term ‘stick-to-it-ive-ness’ comes to mind.

  12. dkheeter says:

    Enjoyed the story. Now we know what a fine woman Mildred was!

  13. caroleparkes says:

    Well done ! I once returned a post office clerk’s long service record to his descendant. It’s a great feeling.

  14. Well done! I’m glad the daughter was receptive and appreciative.

    • chmjr2 says:

      Yes so was I. I have still sitting on my desk a similar type of photograph from the same box. I have contacted the relatives but no one seems interested. Even the ones who have a tree on

      • That’s such a shame. I’m sure that can’t help but make you feel a bit sad. Such reactions certainly sadden me. Not long ago, I found a bunch of old photos for sale on the Etsy site and took the time to track down a living descendant, only to be told to mind my own business. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    • chmjr2 says:

      Yes they seemed very happy to get the picture.

  15. Love that you do this – you never know when a photo might mean the world to someone…..
    Thank you, too, for reading my posts! Your comments and ‘likes’ are very much appreciated!

  16. LucyJartz says:

    We found some old photos in our rental house, and I can’t bear to part with them… hoping to someday be able to reunite them with the family. Your story gives me some direction for my next search. Thank you.

  17. ccrooksphoto says:

    Good job! Know that the daughter appreciated your efforts.

  18. Dawn says:

    Great story. So often old pictures just get thrown away.

  19. thejduk says:

    Very nice. I’ve received images of g-grandparents from others and that’s nice. And recently I was able to send to my newly discovered 2nd cousin in the Czech Republic a picture of her mother at age 15 which she didn’t have. You’re right, it’s time well spent!

  20. What a fun story !I love happy endings!

  21. Melanie Wood says:

    I love your story! My genealogical journey has been astounding: a babyboomer born to Second Time Around parents who both died when I was still in my teens. I’ve got Aunts, Uncles and cousins (some within walking distance…!) nearby. And my mother’s story…good grief! Literally grief – the book will probably be called Nobody’s Child or something similarly tragic. Poor her, she died 50 years ago and only now do I have an inkling of her tragic story.

  22. chmjr2 says:

    So it will be up to you to tell it. Being the family historian is never easy, if you do the job well. Best of luck.

  23. heneker52 says:

    Great news…and I do love the photo of Mildred in 1936 it’s wonderful she is gorgeous…hope I can discover some elusive relatives soon…you have given me hope…cheers

  24. EmilyAnn Frances says:

    May you be rewarded for your kindness and generosity towards others! Lovely story.

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