CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — For years, Margie O’Meara searched for her father.
“My mother never said much about him; I don’t think it was a very friendly divorce,” O’Meara said on Wednesday.
He left Margie, her mom and older sister, when she was only 6 months old. Until recently, she didn’t even know what he looked like.
So, she asked her friend Jane Fisher and another volunteer at the Linn County Genealogical Society for help. They started digging into old records.
“She got busy, and found that she had a brother living, and she thought three sisters,” said Fisher.
Fisher helped Margie write a letter to her half-brother Chet, but Margie was heartbroken to find she missed him by only one week.
“By the time my letter got to him, he died,” Margie told us.
But soon after that, a response came in the form of a letter from Chet’s oldest son, Victor.
“My nephew wrote me the nicest letter, he just was so happy,” said Margie. “He said, ‘I’d love to have another aunt.’”
Margie said in speaking with Victor, she found out he had a piece of her own history she’d never been able to find.
“I told him I had never seen a picture of my father, and he sent me a picture of my father, and a picture of my half-brother and two half-sisters,” Margie told us.
After 93 long years, Margie finally saw the face of her father, Warren E. White. Suddenly, she had two new sisters from her father’s second marriage: one in Lamoni, and one in Des Moines, and a new nephew, Victor, in Bennington, Nebraska.
“It was really something,” said Bonnie Silver, Margie’s half-sister in Lamoni. “Because I had no idea. You know, I was really surprised.”
It was a big discovery for Bonnie, who also spent years trying to find siblings from their dad’s first marriage.
“A long time ago, something slipped out from somebody that we might have a couple sisters, but we never heard any more about it,” Silver explained.
Margie and her new family are now planning long-overdue reunion, years in the making.
“That would be so nice,” Silver told us. “All my kids would love to meet her, too.”