A New Yorker’s Father, Lost and Found
Alton Woodman’s father passed away when he was just 14. Alton had pleasant memories of a man who cared for him a great deal. But he wanted to know more, so he turned to Ancestry.com.
Alton searched the 1910 U.S. Census and found his father as a toddler living with his family. Then he moved on to the 1920 U.S. Census, but the information didn’t add up. Alton’s father, just a young teenager at the time, was shown living in a different city than his mother — as an inmate in an institution. Accurate?
Alton did some research and learned that the institution still existed. It turned out to be a school for orphans. He wrote a letter to the school and in response received a package filled with details from the eight years his father had spent there.
Alton discovered that his grandfather had passed away suddenly in 1913 and his grandmother couldn’t care for the children on her own. He learned that his father had been a very nice young man who was great at math and had many interests.
Alton never dreamed he would find so much about his father. He was happy to realize how much his father enjoyed his life at the school and beyond. In fact, Alton found a 1930 U.S. Census record on Ancestry.com showing his father reunited with his family again under one roof, just a year before he would marry Alton’s mother.
“I was able to connect this man and the things I learned about him with who I was today,” said Alton, “I began to see that I was very much my father's son.”
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