Found some missing personal effects from 1969: How to return to owner?

OK, the Cliffs Notes version: My uncle had a girlfriend in the late 1960s. Girlfriend had a daughter from a previous marriage. Maybe. It might have been a current marriage, since hubby might have been on a ship somewhere else in the world, if you follow me.

Anyway, going thru some of parents personal stuff (that ritual that most of us have to go thru once the parents are gone), I came across this chest of personal effects (mainly pictures and scrapbooks) from my uncle’s girlfriend. How they ended up with it isn’t relevant to the discussion, but they did, and it’s been sitting in an attic for 40 years.

I wouldn’t mind trying to return this stuff to her or her child(ren) if she isn’t alive.

What I know: Unc’s GF’s maiden name. Her approximate year of birth (1942). The last name of her husband (who was not my uncle). The name and DOB of her daughter. I have no subsequent knowledge of their whereabouts after 1969, but I suspect they both moved back the the West coast.

How would be the easiest (i.e., “cheapest”) way to try to track one of them down to return these–and here’s the catch–not come across like some crackpot!

Throw the name out to us internet detectives. Use the strength of the teeming millions to track down this person.

About 50% of the time or so, records looked up on have a year of birth associated with them. If you have the name, the DOB, and a pretty good guess as to the state where they might be living, I think you could narrow it down to a small number of candidates, unless the name is very common.

PM me her maiden name and I can see if she died under it with the SSDI. Otherwise, your friends at RCPL can try to help you, but it depends on if she married, how many times, and how unusual her name was. Also total chance.

Heck, I’ll just go ahead and post it. Maybe somebody knows them. (Just remove the extraneous splats):

Unc’s GF was Shirley Harty (I think that’s the spelling. Mighta been “Hardy.”) Daughter’s name is Pamela Jean Powe*ll (b. 7-21-64), possibly in the San Diego Area. Powell is also last name of husband. First name might have been Ken–but that’s not any guarantee. I think they moved back to San Diego area, but definitely CA. Don’t know where dad is from, but I think he was stationed in San Diego in '68/'69.


Associated names:



City, State

Possible Roommates / Associates:


:eek:I think I just found them on Facebook!:eek: Thanks!

I thought the SSDI was available to everyone. Like here.

Once again, thanks a bunch. We’ve made contact, and it has been confirmed. They’ll have their stuff returned to them after 40 years in storage.

I have a feeling that this thread won’t go on as long as the “wallet in the wall” thread.

What a wonderful Christmas story! Can we now call you Elf Snake-Hips Tucker?

What a cool thing to do, Earl!

I’m curious—what was their reaction upon hearing from you? Were they more or less indifferent when you contacted them, or were they jaw-droppingly shocked?

Awesome. Too bad wallet-guy didn’t think to put up a Facebook page, eh?

Actually, I don’t know yet. I don’t have a facebook account, but my sister does, so she actually made the contact. Plus, I thought it might be less creepy that way since my sister and the woman’s daughter are the same age and used to play together when they were living here. She did tell me that they had swapped email addresses, but I thought I’d wait a day or so to get the scoop on how things went.

OK, last bump, for anyone who’s interested:

My sister and I have both been in email contact with our aunt (which is what we always considered her). The bad part first: Her daughter, who would have been 5 when they left, has no memory of ever having lived in this part of the country, and didn’t remember us.

But so far, that’s the only bad part. My sister sent the daughter a message. The daughter then forwarded it to her mom, who told me she was shocked to receive it. But she also seems really excited about having reestablished contact with our family, and that she had written letters to various family members over the years, but no one ever responded. So, we’ve been doing a lot of catching up.

And once again, thanks!