The Search for a Grandmother’s Name Reveals Her Long-Lost Image
Jim Lane found out at age 12 that the woman he’d always known as Nana was actually his step-grandmother. His father’s real mother had died when his father was just a baby. But no one in the family knew anything about her. Jim’s father longed to somehow see a picture of her. But he didn’t even know her name.
After decades without answers, Jim decided to try and find his grandmother on Ancestry.com. His father recalled the unique name of an aunt he’d known as a child so Jim searched with different spellings and discovered the aunt in the 1910 Census. He continued searching in the 1920 Census. And there, listed alongside his great-aunt’s name, was his grandmother’s name. Now that he had that, he was determined to track down living cousins who might know more about her.
Jim found them — and with them, a treasure trove of letters, photos of his grandmother and even never-before-seen photo of his father as a baby. On the back of that photo in faded handwriting was a description of the baby’s mother teasing him and trying to make him smile for the photographer. Jim’s father is forever grateful for this discovery, knowing his mother had given him the smile on his face.
“To be able to share something so personal … to introduce your father to his own mother … is a unique experience — it's one that we don't get very often in life,” said Jim Lane, “I grew up on my dad’s stories and for the first time I had one to tell him. And he cried. He was so moved.”
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