Any good Genealogist knows that even when family history mysteries (hey, that rhymes!) seem almost impossible to solve, you should never stop turning over stones. That has never been more true than for my own great uncle Henry whose mystery I wrote about in a previous blog post here.
A few nights ago, I was researching my great-great-uncle Edward Heinrich Saleker’s involvement in WWI (he was the only member of my maternal family who served for the US during The Great War) when up popped a result for a WWII draft registration card in which he was listed as the next-of-kin. The index listed that the registration card was for a “John Salecker.”
When I finally viewed the original record, I discovered that the card was for my missing great-uncle Henry who went by several aliases including John Green. There at the top of the card, his real name is listed with his alias in parentheses. While I had discovered that Henry was living around Wisconsin and Iowa during the late 1950’s and early 60’s (mostly through his various arrests reported in the paper) I had no idea that he had lived in Dallas, Texas.
The card also revealed another clue. Henry listed his next of kin as Edward Salecker, who was his uncle, living at the very same address as his grandparents Henry (who he was named after) and Emelie. Alluding to the idea that Henry (who stated during an arrest in 1961 that he knew of no living parents or siblings) did know his family, and where they lived. Especially considering that in 1944, both his brother and his sister were living at the very address he provided on the card.
The card also gave his signature (which looks remarkably like my grandfather’s own handwriting) and some interesting physical features, including a scar that was the result of an ear surgery. Noted at the end of the card was “delinquent” proving further that great-uncle Henry, even at the age of 19, was already considered a vagrant.
I decided to browse Newspapers.com again and came across another mention of him from 1958 in which he stole a wallet after walking away (unauthorized) from a state hospital (that was known as a mental hospital) in Wisconsin. The good news: there is an archive in Madison, Wisconsin that has the intake records for the hospital. The bad news: Madison, Wisconsin is quite far from Cleveland.
Just another clue in this mystery, but proving an important point: never stop searching.