Cooking: It’s All in the Family Chicago, illinois
When Peggy Mcdowell, a caterer in Chicago, illinois, wanted to find out how far back the cooking talent extended in her family tree, she had no idea she would end up going into business with a long-lost cousin. Mcdowell’s father was a chef, owning an ice cream company as well as a fast-food chicken store. digging into records on, Mcdowell discovered her grandfather’s life story. Born in 1893, he grew up in an iowa coal-mining town. But after witnessing a tragedy in the mines, he ran away to Chicago, landing a job at the Palmer House, where he learned to cook and eventually became a chef for the CBQ railroad. reaching deeper into her tree, Peggy eventually connected with a long-lost cousin who was also searching for his roots on He shares her passion for cooking. “When i contacted him i just thought we would chitchat,” said Peggy, but today they’re bringing the family legacy full circle by opening a soul restaurant in Chicago.

JiM Lane
The Search for a Grandmother’s Name Reveals Her Long-Lost Image Key Biscayne, florida

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 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 neverbefore-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.”

aLton WoodMan
A New Yorker’s Father, Lost and Found White Plains, new York

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 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. 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 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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