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Sat May 6, 2017, 08:41 AM

So, I finally found out what happened to my paternal grandfather.

I never knew him. My dad only remembered meeting him once. He disappeared frequently from the time he married my grandmother, and left for good before Dad was three. They met when he came back to give my grandmother a legal divorce. He was a con-man and an identity thief, we knew, but that was it beyond his actual birth and marriage/divorce records under his legal name.

Dad passed away in 2009, and at that time I was his only family that he knew of that still lived. He wanted to know not just about his father, but his own children who ended up getting adopted. He wanted his kids to know who their Dad was, even if they didn't get to know him.

I've already found my younger brother and sister -- two years after Dad died. But his own father eluded us. We knew he wasn't entirely involved in above-board activities. He hadn't been heard from since a few months after I was born. But he wasn't in any people search, and wasn't in the Social Security Death Index.

Finally, they accepted a missing persons report after interviewing his sister, who confirmed the potential that he hadn't stayed gone voluntarily if he left -- people came looking for him, claiming to be from the FBI, saying they had a material witness warrant for him. But they had no records of him in prison.

The US Marshals compared our family's DNA to several bodies where they knew the subject had engaged in identity theft, including the strange case of "Joseph Newton Chandler".

Finally, yesterday, the Marshal in the Chandler case confirmed my grandfather's final identity and resting place. He died as Robert Stuart, in 1998. By then he was forced to use his real Social Security number to claim SSI, as he'd suffered some kind of amputation and was in a nursing home. They confirmed most of of the information we thought we knew about him was correct.

And now I can go visit his grave.

https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=34246143

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Reply So, I finally found out what happened to my paternal grandfather. (Original post)
moriah May 2017 OP
livetohike May 2017 #1
moriah May 2017 #2
livetohike May 2017 #3
moriah May 2017 #8
femmocrat May 2017 #4
moriah May 2017 #6
femmocrat May 2017 #7
Floyd R. Turbo May 2017 #5
moriah May 2017 #9
Floyd R. Turbo May 2017 #10
LeftInTX May 2017 #11

Response to moriah (Original post)

Sat May 6, 2017, 08:49 AM

1. Closure and hopefully peace.

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Response to livetohike (Reply #1)

Sat May 6, 2017, 08:58 AM

2. Solving a mystery for me, more true closure for his sister who never knew...

... where her baby brother was. She was the source of DNA for the comparisons, and really deserved to know what happened before she, too, died without knowing.

I have to say I was really surprised that the Marshals didn't just exclude their people and move on, but actively worked to find my grandfather through the few records he left in the system.

He's not buried under his real name. But at least there IS a name, not John Doe, another fear we'd had and why he was placed in the MP database. And it was apparently one of his preferred aliases. So while a lot of it for me had wanted to make sure he was in the ground under his real name... I'm okay with this.

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Response to moriah (Reply #2)

Sat May 6, 2017, 09:28 AM

3. So sorry for your Great Aunt, too. There are many people in the

federal government who have compassion. Glad they stayed with it to solve this for your family.

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Response to livetohike (Reply #3)

Sat May 6, 2017, 10:04 AM

8. I am, too. The Marshals have been wonderful, and I do hope they...

... find the identity of "Mr. Chandler".

Because I had been on the Doe Network doing searches for him for years, I knew about the case. We knew he had ties to California, but the closest we knew to my grandfather having any experience in the Navy was he'd said he'd worked on oil rigs. Still, there was far more we *didn't* know than we did.

It was sorta surreal when the first call came where they saw my grandfather as a possibility for "Chandler" -- the case us so unusual it's led to speculation he might have been the Zodiac Killer.

Yesterday's call... I was crying. I knew they had other places that those resources needed to go. But then again it might not have been that hard for the Marshals, considering the higher level of access to federal databases they have.

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Response to moriah (Original post)

Sat May 6, 2017, 09:33 AM

4. Thanks for that link.

Maybe I can track down a few long-lost relatives.

Would you consider getting him a new tombstone with his real name?

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Response to femmocrat (Reply #4)

Sat May 6, 2017, 09:47 AM

6. I'm torn, seriously, but I'm leaning toward leaving things as they are.

I am a firm supporter of the cause of the missing and unidentified. It is TRULY the nation's largest silent mass disaster. Only a quarter of the estimated 40,000 unidentified human remains in the US alone are in the official NamUS database, but NamUS has been responsible for closing nearly half of the number originally in NCIC before the NamUS initiative began.

And the motto of the organization of volunteer forensic artists who do reconstructions is "Everyone Deserves A Name".

If it'd been a tombstone with no name at all... absolutely. That'd been my goal -- if he was out there unclaimed in some morgue, do the right thing by him by getting him in the ground under his real name.

But evidence shows he may have lived as Robert Stuart more than he did as his birth name. If it was his chosen name... and it is A name....

I will probably let it rest unless my great-aunt wants him moved from Texas to the family cemetery. It's really now, in my mind, about her and her wishes. But I have submitted the information to FindAGrave to have at least the web memorial updated to show both for genealogical reasons.

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Response to moriah (Reply #6)

Sat May 6, 2017, 09:50 AM

7. This is a very interesting and informative thread.

Thanks for posting about your family's history and your quest.

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Response to moriah (Original post)

Sat May 6, 2017, 09:45 AM

5. I've used that site to track down my ancestors. So far I'm back to 1854.

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Response to Floyd R. Turbo (Reply #5)

Sat May 6, 2017, 10:18 AM

9. Familysearch.org is good and free.

Found one side of my family's trip over from what was then Prussia.

Though, remember it is the LDS database and connects with other people's trees. If you get into a particularly traced tree, you might be able to see claims where you can trace yourself to Adam and Eve. Seriously. I did. Heh.

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Response to moriah (Reply #9)

Sat May 6, 2017, 01:07 PM

10. Thanks!

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Response to moriah (Original post)

Sat May 6, 2017, 04:32 PM

11. I'm glad they had obtained the DNA of R. Stuart

In 2014, we discovered that my dad's paternal grandmother had passed through Ellis Island in 1923, but had been deported. Nobody knows what happened to her or where she went because she didn't have a country to go to. We had always assumed she had died in 1915. She had a 16 year old daughter with her.

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