Tracking a Lost Cousin

Tracking a Lost Cousin

After doing Randy’s Genealogy challenge last night, I realized that I knew almost nothing about my Mom’s cousin, Rees Embry Winter. While I’ve been able to track the descendants of all my Great Aunts and Great Uncles, Rees’ family was a big question mark. Naturally, once I realized this I could not leave it alone.

This was all I knew about Rees. He was the son of Viola (Jackson) and Rees Winter Jr. He was born in Oakland, 24 Sep 1938 and died in Texas in 1985. I found an old Christmas card amongst my grandma’s things listing his wife, Jan, and three daughters (whose names I will leave out as they may or may not be alive)

And that was all she wrote! My attempts to find information on his daughters came up blank. In fact, outside of the Social Security Death Index, I couldn’t find anything on Rees.

Last night, I did a google search. I found out that Rees was buried in the Houston National Cemetery. He had been in the Navy–more new information for me! No one had ever told me Rees had served in the military in any capacity.

On a whim, I went to and saw that they had the California Birth, Death, Marriage, and Divorce indexes. After a few tries, I found what might be the 3 daughters in the birth index. But, I couldn’t be sure. The spelling of their names was unique, but without knowing the mother’s maiden name, I’d be guessing.

I decided to check the divorce index since it covered the right years. Sure enough! There was Rees. He divorced the woman listed on the Christmas card. From her surname I was able to gather that at least two of the girls I found in the birth index were his daughters. Their birthdates fit with era the photo on the Christmas card was taken in. I am not sure what happened to the third. It’s possible she was from another marriage. Maybe she was born in Texas since I’m not really sure when Rees moved.

Today, I went back to since I am full awake 😉 Maybe I missed something last night. I started with Texas, but only found information about his death.

Then I did a search in California. I found the entries I’d seen last night. But, I also pulled up an obituary for his ex-wife. Though this tells more of her story, I’ve picked up some interesting tidbits. One daughter of Rees and Jan is deceased. There was a daughter listed who may turn out to be the one I found in the birth index. One daughter is missing…hmmmmm…There is one granddaughter mentioned.

So, I still need to find Rees’ obituary so I can solve a couple of things. But today I know alot more about his family than I did yesterday. And, it’s all Saturday Night Genealogy Fun’s fault!

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