Finding Emma: My Search for the Family My Grandfather Never Knew

Finding Emma: My Search for the Family My Grandfather Never Knew

by Amy Whorf McGuiggan


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John Joseph Osborne grew up as an orphan and an only child—that’s what family and friends were always told and what everyone willingly accepted. There was never any talk of his childhood or teenage years, and there was even some uncertainty as to where he had been born. It was as though he had sprung from thin air fully formed. If anyone knew the real story, they weren’t sharing it. In truth, John Osborne’s early years were simply not a preoccupation for family and friends. Hardworking, entrepreneurial, and a devoted family man, he was a steady, reliable, amiable presence in everyone’s lives and it just didn’t seem to matter that the years before his marriage to Esther Julian were a complete mystery.

But mysteries have a way of begging to be solved, and in 2011, a granddaughter’s curiosity, and then questions, began to percolate. How and when had he been orphaned? Where had he grown up and with whom? Why had there never been any mention of a relative or a caretaker? What illness or accident had befallen his parents to leave him alone in the world? Who were his parents? If an identity, a sense of oneself, is created by family, how does someone without a family or ancestry understand who he or she is? It was time to reconnect John Osborne with his story.

Finding Emma takes readers on a compelling genealogical journey of discovery ,beyond the names and dates on vital records, to reclaim the lost branches of John Osborne’s ancestry: one rooted in early Salem, Massachusetts, and the other in Ancient Acadia. Along the way, John Osborne’s personal story—a story of survival against the longest of odds—is unearthed after being buried for more than a century.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781937650957
Publisher: Small Batch Books
Publication date: 05/20/2019
Pages: 250
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

Amy Whorf McGuiggan is the author of My Provincetown: Memories of a Cape Cod Childhood; Take Me Out to the Ball Game: The Story of the Sensational Baseball Song; Christmas in New England; and John Whorf Rediscovered. She has researched, written, and curated exhibitions for the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum (PMPM) and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM), researched and written a guide to the Provincetown cemeteries, and most recently completed a project that identified and marked the graves of seven Provincetown residents whose service during the Revolutionary War had previously gone undocumented. While writing Finding Emma, McGuiggan also documented the Revolutionary War service of her fifth great-grandfather, Aaron Osborne.

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