Meeting Aunt Agnes

How fitting an end to this All Soul's Day, El Dia de Los Muertos. Slowly these last few years I have pieced together my family story near and far, recent and distant. I have connected my grandparents siblings, even my father's father's family who scattered every which way in a trail of mystery and intrigue. Two years ago I was wondering if I'd ever find his sister Margaret, the opera singer who went west and seemingly vanished forever. This May we finally found her family, and while I haven't met most of her descendants - my west coast cousins - in person yet, I'm thrilled that they are part of my virtual life and that we share rich musical DNA.

That has left one of Grandpa's siblings shrouded in mystery, until today. Great Aunt Agnes disappeared after 1921. Family lore says she got married, had a kid, went to California, divorced, married again, had more kids, died young. But no trail - until today.

I don't know the whole story yet, but a few big bricks fell out of the wall with the discovery of a 1921 marriage license. Her husband had just come home from World War I in the Marines. They lived in CT, then Newark NJ. He outlived her, married again, but doesn't appear to have any descendants. I have hopes that I might piece together her story, perhaps find that she too might have living descendants who know nothing of any of us.

As I said a year and half ago about my then-missing and mysterious Great Aunt Margaret, she deserves to be remembered by someone. To have her name spoken, on this day of remembrance. So a grateful toast to my kinfolk near and far, known all my life as well as mere months, and a toast to our Aunt Agnes.

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