Susan Sarandon's story on "Who Do You Think You Are?" http://www.nbc.com/who-do-you-think-you-are/ inspired me in so many ways. I always admired her honesty and independence, but I have to admit I enjoy seeing the "stars" of this show so natural, without performance makeup, just as themselves. I applaud their efforts to trace their history.
Susan's search struck a chord with me. She hunted details about a grandmother she never knew. Her name was Anita and she left for destinations unknown when Susan's mother was only two. Consider the fact that Anita was only 13 when she married and you can understand what a different time it was in the early 1900s.
Ultimately Susan tracks down the house where her grandmother lived, less than an hour from where Susan grew up. So close, yet Susan was pleased to learn her grandmother enjoyed the later years of her life.
One of the reasons I started my family history journey was to understand why my father grew up without his father. He did ultimately have a wonderful step-father in his life, but my step grandfather passed away years before I was born.
Johannes Dalhaimer was my grandfather's name. He left the family home in the summer of 1925. Some say he was never seen again. Others say he briefly returned the day my father was born.
There are clues but I have not landed a link yet. Could he have gone to Flint, Michigan? Did he return to Fresno, California? Could he have gone back to Mariental? Since my grandparents followed the harvest when they came to the United States from Russia, did he have the energy to go back to it? I have met cousins who now live in Washington and there was a connection, but nothing after 1925.
In the meantime, I will continue to enter the ancestry.com $20,000 giveaway at http://www.ancestry.com/and hope that will be the key to discovering the story of Johannes. But, if you have any ideas and what else I can do, please send me your thoughts and encouragements. I always wanted to uncover this for my Dad, but since he is in heaven, he already knows. Now I want to find out for me.