A Family Mystery

It seems like things are constantly changing. Everyone is in such a rush to move forward that nobody wants to take the time to listen to stories from the past. I have always thought it was important to know where a person comes from.  Recently I have been doing a lot of listening and looking. Shortly before Christmas my mom and I were messing around on one of those ancestry sites. My mom was getting excited finding out things about her family that she hadn’t known. That led to a lot of digging through old papers, photographs, and listening to stories. I’ve been spending hours scanning photographs, documents, newspaper clippings, and handwritten letters into my computer. I love listening to the stories that my parents are telling as we come across something new to add.

My mom and I decided that we are going to put together a little book. A family tree with memories written down so that future generations of our family can know their ancestors.

Like the picture of my grandpa B. When my grandma was younger she was visiting a neighbor. This picture was hanging on the wall. She knew she was going to marry that man someday. Now, she hadn’t met my grandpa yet but she knew when she saw this picture that was the man she wanted to marry and she did. They spent many happy years together.

There are relatives that I never had a chance to meet but now I feel like I knew them. I have listened to stories about them. Seen old photographs. I can see where people that I have grown up with look like others who have come before us. How my children have similar features. I have put faces to relatives that I have only ever had names of before.

There is one mystery that we came across though. Richard Dix (Stage name) 1st cousin to Morley Stirlen

The man in this photograph was my great-grandpa (Morley Stirlen)’s first cousin. He was a silent film actor in B rated movies who went by the stage name of Richard Dix. We don’t know his real name. We don’t know anything about him other than his stage name and his relation to my great-grandfather! First I searched the name we had. There is a Richard Dix that I came across and when I discovered his real name I couldn’t find a connection between that person and my great-grandfather. Then I uploaded the image and did a google image search in the hopes that I would find more photos of him and maybe I could trace him down that way but I didn’t have any luck with that at all.

I wish I could find out who he was. Or what movies he was in and then I could watch them. I’d love to find his family and find out more about my extended family. But I don’t know what to do next in the search for this information. Do you have any ideas of where I could search?

Is personal family history something that interests you?

About Angela Schroeder

Angela Schroeder is a single mother of three. She was born and raised in Iowa in a river town known for its pearl buttons. Having four siblings, she never lacked for someone to play with. As she grew older, she found herself pulled into books and writing more and more. Her parents are her heroes, her siblings her confidants and tormentors, and her children are a wonderful blessing. Church is important to her children and her. They enjoy the friendships they’ve made with the people there. Writing has always been a passion. Her first experience was in fifth grade when she went to a one-day writing conference. After that she knew it was something she wanted to pursue.
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17 Responses to A Family Mystery

  1. Personal family history is very important to me. I asked questions of my mother and father all the time, but now I wish I had asked more. Once those people in your life have passed on, so have their memories, if they are not written down. My regret is that I didn’t write down everything my parents told me when I was younger. Some things are already lost. You have me wondering now if maybe I shouldn’t write them down now. Even if it’s only one memory of what I was told per day. Thank you, Angela.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeff Salter says:

    I’ve gone through at least three spurts of activity related to my extended family’s history. One was in the early 1980s when I compiled two volumes of my own recollections (from earliest memories through high school). I had intended to keep going, through my college and air force years, but that never happened. Another was when I began doing research on my wife’s family — for the three books (two published so far) in my Somerset series.
    Somewhere along the way, I was also compiling — back in the days when we did it manually and with microfilm — genealogical charts of my dad’s line.
    My mom was in DAR, so she has a wealth of info from one of her family lines.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. VERY interesting, Angie! I know th ename Richard Dix, and he was more than a B movie player, but this may have been someone using the same name as your relative.I do not know when the Screen Actors’ Guild came in and sorted out that no two actors could use the same name, but it may be worth contacting them, (now merged with the TV and Radio Actors’ Union to be “SAG-AFTRA”). I know that the guild came in early on.
    I wish you all the best with this. Please let us know if you learn any more.What a great picture!
    I sat my mother down a few years before she died and made her identify every person in the family pictures that she had. Some were lost that had been put in the hands of an aunt. We now also have another aunt’s pictures and family papers. Between that and talking about family stories with cousins, I learn more and more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a great idea! I will contact them.
      That’s wonderful that you’re getting pictures and papers from other family members. I have heard so many stories of people just tossing things out after someone passes.

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      • Unfortunately, that is what happened to a lot of the papers on my mother’s side. She was closest to my grandfather but after some years of having many of the family papers, including the immigration papers from Italy, she entrusted them to an aunt, who was closest to my grandmother;(she had a number more of the family dishes than we did). That aunt’s son had them all in storage, but he rather lost it, mentally. When he died, the woman he was married to destroyed them all; she would not let his son have any of the family things.

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  4. Patricia Kiyono says:

    What fun to find out one of your ancestors was a movie star! I’d love to dig into my ancestry, but it’s difficult since I can’t read Japanese. I’d have to pay someone to do it for me. My mom told me that before she and dad married, her uncles looked into dad’s ancestry and found some connection to a shogun – but she doesn’t remember any details, and those uncles are long gone.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Elaine Cantrell says:

    My husband loves to do this kind of family research, but I have no idea how or what he does. He has a lot of people in his family tree.

    Liked by 1 person

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