As children, my sister and I (now in our 60s) were told that our father had come to this country through a marriage with an American woman. They lived in New York and had a son. That’s all we knew. Our parents divorced when I was six and my sister was four and somewhere along the way I was told that our brother had been adopted by his new father and his last name was no longer Fischel. End of story…or so I thought.
I’ve always been interested in family history. When I began delving into my family’s history, though, I concentrated on my maternal side as I grew up with little interest in my father or his side of my story. After all, I didn’t know my older brother’s first or last name, his mother’s name, his adopted name, etc., so why even bother searching?
I created my tree on Ancestry.com under my husband’s account (Thomas Redfern) and dabbled in adding information until I retired a year ago. Then, I seriously began entering information and photographs.
Last November, my husband received an email through Ancestry.com from David Zubatsky, a genealogist in Pennsylvania who believed his friend, Jack Fischel, could be related to me. David provided Jack’s contact information as well as a detailed history. I was quite impressed with what I read and at 7:30 in the morning I called my sister to read her the email.
Her reaction - “What do you think this means?” was how I felt, too. I called Jack and left a voice mail. He called me back and asked if we could talk that evening. In the meantime, I emailed him a photo of my father with a very beautiful woman asking if he knew who she was.
When I answered the phone that evening Jack said, “Well, Sis, the photo clinches it. That woman is my mother and that picture is on my living room shelf.” Wow! My brother had found me at last.
Jack and my sister Marsha and I chatted over the phone for a few days. We “met” Jack and our new sister-in-law, Julie, for the first time via Skype the following Sunday.
Thanksgiving was close at hand and on Thanksgiving eve my children and grandchildren met their new Uncle and Aunt via Skype, and I met my new niece, her husband and my new grandniece and nephew.
On June 19, 2012 my sister and I flew to Landisville, Pennsylvania to meet our brother and his family in person. We spent three glorious days with Jack and Julie, met our nephew Josh, our niece Corrie and her family, and our new hero—David Zubatsky.
Thank you Ancestry.com for helping us find each other. This meeting would never have happened without this site. Now, we talk weekly, visit via Skype, and email on a regular basis. We plan to see each other again as soon as possible.
I am attaching a few photos of us at our meeting. I am the one Jack is pointing to in the photo Jack and Me.
Ask Ancestry Anne: Is Wilson really George's Father?
Question: I have found a possible connection to my great-grandfather, George W. Coulter (1857-1926) who died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I have a lot of information that seems to link him to a man named Wilson George Coulter (1827-1881), who I believe, is his father.
I don’t have specific linking documentation, just a LOT of situations where they are found in the same locations at the same time. The suspected father of my ancestor traveled due to his being a preacher, and my great-grandfather is found in many of the same areas. For example, according to his death certificate, George was born in an obscure town, which is where the preacher was stationed at that time. My George had a child born in Lancaster, which is where the preacher died. Plus, a George Coulter with same occupation as mine is in the city directory for Lancaster on same street as preacher’s son, Peter Henry Coulter. It seems extremely unlikely that this is a mere coincidence. Should I add this to my tree even though I don’t have them living together. I am 99.9% sure they are family.
— Cynthia Coulter Marcinik
Answer: Short answer: No.
Let me first commend you for digging deep to find everything you can and then recognizing that you still don’t have anything that states outright that George W. is the son of Wilson George Coulter.
But what you are doing is using an excellent tactic for making that connection when you can’t find document proof — you’re looking for friends, neighbors and other relatives, all of whom could help you make a strong case that you’ve found the right person.
In 1870, the same Wilson Coulter is living in Medford, Burlington County, New Jersey, and you’ll notice in 1870, there is a George living in the household. But unfortunately, in the 1850, 1860, and 1870 census the relationship is not stated.