How I Doubled My Family in One Google Search

I grew up only knowing my father’s family and mostly from a distance. His family was in New York and we were nomadic on the east coast. I knew no one from my mother’s family from Iowa. She would mention only bits and pieces and sometimes the story would change. So I grew up with a big hole. I have not kept in touch with either of my parents. It is a long and painful story. My life has been without the closeness of family and I have done everything by myself except for brief marriages.

On January 15th, I received a call from a social worker in Tennessee to tell me my father had passed away from pancreatic cancer. She needed someone to take care of his final arrangements. Since both my younger sisters had passed, it was only me and my mother left. Well, that’s what I thought.

I turned to Google one evening searching for “Kruse Clemente Iowa” and turned up an obituary for Elsie Kruse that listed my mother as one of her surviving daughters and one of my sisters as preceding in death. I found my missing grandmother!

From the obituary, there was a whole list of aunts and uncles. I made contact with one of my aunts and discovered I had an older brother from my mother’s first marriage. From my newly found brother I found out that he had a younger sister who supposedly died at a very young age. I went to find records online, only to find her and her daughters alive and well. So my family keeps growing. I just wished I would have found this family before my grandmother passed.

I have a lot of Christmas cards to buy this year. And I need to organize all the birthdays so I can keep up. And I need to learn to reach out and keep in touch. It’s still new to me but nice to know more about my roots.

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