It Would be Nice to Look at You

Gravesite of my Great Aunt Elzora Dakin Sorber and her son Robert.
Photograph found on Find A Grave. Used with permission of photographer Susan Beyer.

While cleaning out some of the many files on my computer, I ran across the above picture. I had found it on Find A Grave a while back and saved it as it marks the graves of my Great Aunt Elzora and her son Robert. Elzora was my father’s mother’s sister; her name was Elzada. The family story was that Elzada and Elzora were twins. I have no pictures of my Grandmother Elzada, and since she died in 1920 before my father turned twelve and the family was scattered to the winds, chances are no photos exist. Also, she has no gravestone to take a picture of.

It was while looking at the date of death for Elzora it came to me that I now had a way to check and see if they were twins. Death Certificates are now available online for deaths up to the year 1966 in Pennsylvania which is where Elzora lived. In a matter of minutes, I had a copy of her death certificate. A quick check of the dates of birth for Elzora and Elzada showed they were both born in Maine in August 1880. They were twins.

Death certificate for Elzada Dakin Moore. The person who supplied the information was Elzada’s twin sister Elzora.


Death certificate for Elzora Dakin Sorber. Elzora had been a widow for 41 years after her husband William died in 1924. Also note the birthdates on the two death certificates which shows they were twins.

Several years ago I was contacted by a person who said he was a direct descendant of Elzora on a genealogy message board. He was answering an inquiry I had made regarding the Sorber family. They were looking for information on the Dakin side of the family. The person said he had photographs he would share of Elzora and even thought he had some of Elzada. He had no idea if they were twins or not. My excitement was hard to contain. I sent him the answers to his questions and waited while he got the photographs ready to send. To make a long story short the days turned into weeks then months. Finally, he just stopped answering my email.

I have since that time reached out to others who have the Sorber line in their family trees, but I have not heard back from any of them. It would be nice to get a picture of my Grandmother Elzada but a close second would be a picture of my Aunt Elzora. Perhaps by seeing a photograph, I might get a glimpse of where some of the features I have or my father had come from. Since Elzora outlived her sister by 45 years, it stands to reason that somewhere someone has a few photographs they could share.

Rights – Public Domain, from the British Library’s collections, 2013
Title – Mr. Grant Allen’s New Story “Michael’s Crag.” With … marginal illustrations in silhouette, etc

I know so much more about my Grandmother Elzada Dakin Moore than I did years ago when I first started this journey into my family history. When I started, I knew just a little more than her name. Now she is like the silhouette of the woman above. You can tell much about the person that the silhouette represents perhaps even like my grandmother that she loves to read. I am aware that I may have all that I am ever going to be able to learn about Elzada, but it sure would be nice to look at her.



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42 Responses to It Would be Nice to Look at You

  1. Pierre Lagacé says:

    I have a hard time understanding why people who contacts me and genuinelly seem interested, then for no reason stop sharing.

  2. Pierre Lagacé says:

    This has happened many times.

  3. Anne Pugh says:

    I have just had a wonderful response from someone I found via who has a very distant family connection. She has sent me a copy of my great grandfather’s obituary and I have learned more about him in two minutes than I ever knew. I’m thrilled and so moved by it!

  4. dlpedit says:

    As I study the past, especially family histories, I never cease to be amazed at the uniqueness of the names given “way back then.” Elzada and Elzora are two that I had never run across. I did run across a female relative named Tennessee and commonly known as Tennie. I wonder what people generations from now will think of the names we had or gave to our kids. Also, invariably every time I delve into the “journey,” as you called it, I find myself wishing that I had asked more questions of those who had answers then but are no longer with us. Just yesterday, I ran across this statement by William Zinsser, a great memoirist: “One of the saddest sentences I know is ‘I wish I had asked my mother about that.'” Great post!

    • chmjr2 says:

      I seem to have many names in my family line that today would be considered different. I also have a Tennessee in my family line. However it was more of a pen name Tennessee Williams.

  5. I hope you find a picture. It can happen.

  6. Amy says:

    How awful that Elzora fell down the stairs at 84. And what unusual and beautiful names! Do you know the history of those names?

    I also had a “cousin by marriage” contact me and tell me he was going to send me photographs of my father’s first cousin and her family after she died. He disappeared completely. I tried calling him (we had spoken on the phone), email, text, and even a handwritten letter. He just never responded. I was and am so sad and frustrated.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I have no idea of the history of those names and they are the only time they appear in the family. Well Elzada did name one of her daughters Elzada. You are right that it was awful about the fall Elzora suffered. As for why people do as your cousin by marriage did I would like to know myself. I know we all run into this sort of thing, but we can’t let it get us down.

  7. Peter Klopp says:

    First of all congratulations on your success in finding so many details on your great aunt Elzora! Yet, you must have been sad of getting no more information from people who originally were willing to share. Best wishes! Peter

  8. What unusual and wonderful names. I too have had contact with a person, DNA connected who set the bait with the hope of sharing valuable information for a brick wall and then poof – gone! I feel your frustration. I really enjoyed your post. Love the insert of the silhouette picture ~ Sharon

    • chmjr2 says:

      I am glad you liked the post. I also thought the silhouette spoke well to the issue I was writing about. You me and many others have had to put up many times with people who “set the bait” and then are never heard from again.

  9. It is such a shame that he never got back to you about your grandmother, but you never know, hopefully someone from Elzora’s branch will make contact with you one day. At least with your grandmother and aunt being twins, you are in the unique position of being just as happy even if you only get a photo of your aunt. Hope you get to see one of them!

  10. Luanne says:

    So sad about her falling down the stairs! I can’t stand how many people stop corresponding especially close DNA matches.

  11. I have some reasons about why you may never get a response to a DNA match or why someone drops you. This comes from my own experience.
    *The person has second thoughts about getting too deeply involved. They become distant or cut off the contact. They may not be emotionally ready.
    *There is the existence of some past event your side may not be aware of but which influences the contact’s decision to cease communication. You later find out from another relative you connect or reconnect to the story.
    *The contact has strong religious or political views. After checking out info online about you they cut you off without taking time to find about you from further interaction.

    • chmjr2 says:

      All good reasons and they may account for some of the problems we are talking about. I guess we all should be more open and talk to each other. If we did it would solve many problems. All that being said when a person has gotten all they need or all that you have to give they still should share what information they have. Too many times once I sent everything I have they just go away not to be heard from again.

      • Yes, you are correct on that point. The effort should be reciprocated by the other party. Another possibility is that they really don’t have what they say they do. I’m sorry to learn you have had these kinds of experiences. I think it’s best to keep pursuing other possibilities and have a flexible approach. Staying positive is best.

  12. KerryCan says:

    SO frustrating that you were so close to seeing photos of these relatives and then the guy never followed through! It seems kind of mean to me . . .

  13. I’m reading some of the comments you’ve received and see I am far from being alone at having carrots placed before me by people who then disappear, often after getting info from me. All I can say is hold out hope because someone may come along with photos of these great ladies with the amazing names. But I do understand your frustrations. The universe has a way of opening doors we never expected to be opened for us though, so keep the faith! I’ve had a number of angels come my way, and they more than made up for all those others.

  14. Sheryl says:

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you have better luck soon finding information about your grandmother. There are so many pieces to genealogy puzzles and sometimes I find new information when I least expect it.

  15. chattykerry says:

    Perhaps you can find the photograph from another close relative? So many DNA and other relatives have contacted me with initial excitement that quickly fades. Perhaps I disappoint them or they were looking for something else.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I have tried to contact other relatives who may have information but so far no luck. Most do not even bother to reply to my message to them.

      • chattykerry says:

        Courtesy seems to be thing of the past. Have you tried Family Search? That is one of my favorites although not always completely accurate.

      • chmjr2 says:

        I do agree about courtesy seems to show its face less and less these days. I have not tried Family Search in a while so will have to try there once more. Thanks for your comments and suggestions.

  16. Great piece, and nice to see her grave so well tended. I am not one for picking up every last leaf as they are beautiful on their own.

  17. maxadmin02 says:

    I love this post… Keep it up

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