This Will Make Your Head Spin

Yesterday I finally solved the mystery of Dad’s cousin, I.J. (Izzy) Wagner, who was one of the most influential men in Utah. You may recall that I wrote about him three years ago. (Wow People I have Met) I have been trying to figure out the connection between our two families on and off for years and am thrilled to have finally unraveled the pieces. I realize it is an eye-rolling event for anyone but me and possibly other genealogy addicts, but nevertheless, I wanted to share my news.

The key was Dad’s extensive family in Boston, a fact that was news to Dad when I told him that his paternal great-great grandparents resided in the capital city of Massachusetts. That grandfather was a man named Harris Wolfson, who came to America from Russia in 1900 along with his wife and five children. He became a teacher of Hebrew. Dad’s grandfather, Misha, was Harris’ grandson.

I learned that cousin Izzy was the son of a man named Harry Wagner who also immigrated to Boston from Russia, so I focused on that family. Izzy’s mother’s obituary told me that her mother was a woman named Leona Wolfson, so I believed the Wolfson family was the key. (Izzy’s mother was named Rose.)

It was not until yesterday that the case broke wide open when I examined the ship’s record for Rose’s brother-in-law Abraham and learned that Abraham was heading to the home of Grandpa Harris, his wife’s uncle. This (along with many other minor details) confirmed that Grandpa Harris was the brother of cousin Izzy’s grandmother, Great-Great-Great Aunt Leona Wolfson.) Are you dizzy yet? As confusing as this appears, I have actually simplified all the dots that I connected.

I know, I know, who cares! But I am thrilled that I solved my human crossword puzzle, and you should again be warned that I am relentless in my search for answers. I can eventually find almost everyone, so I guess when I said in my high school directory that I was a private investigator, I was really not lying.

Perhaps I should have been sent to the Ukraine to help untangle the web of deceit that is being uncovered in the impeachment investigation.

P.S. Izzy is Dad’s 2nd cousin twice removed.

Ordering the Platinum Card

Well girls, something happened today which caused me to worry—just for a brief time—that I might need to turn in my genealogy-stalking badge. But I am happy to report that it I need not relinquish it. In fact, I am renewing it for another ten years and getting the platinum card this time.

Here is the story:

Last night, Aunt Ar asked me about a particular leaf on our family tree—one of Grandma’s first cousins. Grandma had told Aunt Ar that she was thinking about her long-lost cousin and wanted to send him a Christmas card. So I told her I was on the case.

Using my superior genealogy skills, I checked the tree, determined that he would be only 75 years old if still living, and set off on the hunt. Within a short time I learned that while he had at one time lived in Wildwood, he later moved to Indiana. This was based on a search using

Next, I moved onto a second site,, which provided the names of four towns where my subject had lived, and having tested this search with our name, I concluded that the first city in the list of four was Grandma’s cousin’s current city. also provides associated relatives, so I then proceeded to plop them into Facebook.

And snap, I got a hit—a woman I believed to be his spouse. After observing the spouse having many Facebook friends from the New Jersey area, with one of the towns matching one of the four towns from my search, I concluded with a high level of accuracy that I had located Grandma’s cousin.

So I sent her a Facebook message, and then later, someone posted on the alleged spouse’s wall with a public posting, which allowed me to write a note there. Within an hour, I was talking to a woman who I believed to be the daughter, who was off to see her father that day!

I provided a few pertinent facts such as grandma’s maiden name and the town she grew up in, and the daughter confirmed what I then knew—I had succeeded in finding Grandma’s cousin. I proceeded to send her photos of her father as a little boy—some with his sister, some alone, and one with Grandma.

His daughter told me that he was “sitting there crying with emotion.” I worried that I was upsetting him, but his daughter said he gets emotional sometimes and was just touched that someone had remembered him.

So we all had a good day. Grandma had a thought, and I was able to help her carry out her mission of being able to send a card to a cousin of whom she had lost touch with many years ago. And now I will wait for my platinum ancestry-stalking card!

Grandma & No-Longer-Missing Cousin