Long Lost Family – Finding the Children of Homer and Amanda
A couple years back, I was at a class reunion picnic, sitting and chatting with a classmate. We hadn’t run in the same crowd during our school years but had shared several classes. There were 170 in our graduating class and we all knew each other to some degree. The majority had been together since kindergarten and that included Don and me.
He mentioned that we were second cousins. I was surprised and asked if I’d known that in school and had forgotten over the years. My mom didn’t get along with my dad’s side of the family so it is possible I never knew.
Don’s grandmother Jessie and my grandpa Paul (my dad’s dad) were siblings. I have vague memories of family reunions at Aunt Jessie and Uncle Sylvan’s house but don’t recall Don being there. Then, while we were still very young, the reunions stopped.
Don told me that he had come into possession of a box of old family photos of Grandpa Paul’s line of the family. Did I want them? Of course! Don shipped them to me and it was like opening a treasure box when they arrived.
I e-mailed my cousin Paula (her father and my dad were brothers) and I told her about the box of photos. She has been working on a very branching family tree at Ancestery.com. We live over two hours apart but made plans to meet.
As we looked through the box of pictures we found tintypes from the mid-1800’s, women dressed in the style of the 1920’s and great-grandpa Richard presiding over our fathers’ generation when they were all school age.
Then we came across the photo of a handsome young man, probably in his early twenties that we didn’t recognize. He was slight of build with a great big smile. Who could he be? Then we found a picture of him in a navy uniform. On the back was his name: Homer Snyder. Neither Paula nor I had ever heard of any relatives named Snyder.
We found a picture of Homer sitting on a blanket in the grass with three beautiful blond, curly haired children and cousin Amanda! Amanda was Jessie’s daughter and a cousin to our dads. We knew Amanda had been married but not to Homer. We came across their wedding picture.
That sealed the deal, they had been married and the children were theirs. Then there was a photo of the men of the family sitting on the stoop of a house. Written on the back of the picture were the words, after Homer’s memorial.
So that was the story: this sweet young man with three children and a beautiful wife went off to fight in WWII and never returned. I did some research and found he’d been a Soundman, third class in the Navy. I also discovered his first name was Karl, though he went by his middle name.
I’ve been entrusted with the priceless photos of Homer and his family. I feel it is my responsibility to make sure they find their way to his children but I have no idea where they are. My search for them began with posting photos of the family on the blanket in the grass and Homer and Amanda’s wedding on Facebook with the caption: Please share this post and help me find the children, Helen, Marcia and Richard, of Homer and Amanda Snyder.
I am looking into other ways to find them. I’m hoping to meet my long-lost cousins soon and return their rare and precious photos.