Where are the Gaulthair Children?
Given away or abandoned, what happened to them?
April 16, 2012
Message received from from Esther on Ancestry.com.
"I'm trying to find information about Lydia for her children, Frances and Enrique (in photo as small children). Please contact us. They need to know about their mother.Thank you. I'm their cousin."
My heart stopped. I read it again.
"Gary", I yelled. "Come and see this".
I could see him as he came from the kitchen into the office. I pointed to the message on the screen. He put his hands on the table and leaned forward to read it.
"What does that mean", he asked. I looked at him in surprise. "What do you mean, what does that mean?" I asked. "It's them!"
Looking sort of shocked, he said, "How do you know?"
"Look at it. It's talking about Lydia and two children by Ramon, who else could it be?" I responded.
He sat down. "That is the second time in my life I have felt faint"
Gary is adopted
On the day he was born, his biological mother handed him to his adoptive mother and walked out of his life. The only time he heard from her was when he was 16 but it was a short conversation. She wanted to know how he was. He was :fine". What do you say to a woman who you don't know and really don't care about? She meant nothing to him. In hindsight, he should have asked some questions but he was a teenager and had a life that had nothing to do with her.
He was told he was adopted when he was 13-yrs-old. That was the first time that he felt faint. He had to be told because he was never legally adopted and they were afraid that if he got into any trouble he would be taken from them. That's a whole other story but at 18, he started the procedure and was legally adopted at 19.
Fast forward to age 25 when we got married. He shared with me that he was adopted. I had tons of questions but he really wasn't interested in finding his biological family. What we did know was that Lydia Gaulthair had at least 13 children. We knew about two of them, Rickie and Frances by the same father. We knew Lydia had another baby after Gary because Gary's mom talked about it. Still, he would not ask the questions of his parents.
Not willing to leave well enough alone, I had spent years looking for this family. By the time Gary finally decided he would like to find Frances and Rickie, I had been on Ancestry.com for many years. I added a new family line in January 2012, adding him as a Montoya and listing the information that I knew. It was quite a shock when Esther contacted us in April. Based on the sketchy information they provided, I was able to add more of the pieces although this continues to be an on-going process.
Family Tree Maker
This is not only a great way to track a family tree, it works with Ancestry.com so everything can be downloaded. There is no way for me to track all the information I found without this tool and iit is user friendly.
Lydia Mary Gaulthair
We don't know much about Lydia. Gary's mom is her cousin and grew up with her but he didn't ask his mother anything about her and there are no pictures. Frances sort of remembers her but Rickie was too young. They don't have pictures either. Betty, Gary's aunt, also knew her and Lydia tried to give her one of the children as well but she couldn't keep him. She doesn't have pictures.
Lydia was born in 1925 in La Farge, Wisconsin. She spent all of her youth there. There are indications that she had children in 1941 in the La Farge area and in 1947 in La Crosse. Most of the records for Wisconsin have to be requested. Right now, it is simply to expensive to fly there and do the research that is needed.
At some point, she spent some time in El Monte, California with her aunt Sophia, Gary's adoptive grandmother. She must have been here around 1955 when Gary was born in Covina. She was back in the area in 1957 because that's when the next child was born.
The records show that she lived in Texas in 1974 where at the age of 48 she married 19-yr-old Marcello Montez. She died in 2002.
Gary's biological grandparents - Catalino and Aurora Montoya
The first picture we received from the new family was of Gary's grandparents. We were shocked! He has never looked like anyone in his family before so to find that he looks just like his grandmother took our breath away.
The photo is Ramon Montoya
Ramon was born in 1916 in New Mexico. We are not sure where he met Lydia but will have an answer soon. We do know that he spent some time in Wisconsin but are not sure of the time frame. Mostly he lived in New Mexico where he raised Frances and Rickie.
Denver David "Camp" Powell, born in 1913, we also think fathered a child with Lydia. Her name was Patricia Powell and she passed away last year..
We think that Delos Duain Rickman, born in 1921, may have been the first of the men to father children. Karolene and Gerold would have been born in the early 1940s.
Stumpy - We always thought that from what Gary's parents said, Lydia left Gary and took off with a one-legged man called Stumpy. We were absolutely shocked when we discovered that it was incorrect. Tom is the man Lydia left with.
There are two other children who we know about but we don't know who their father's were.
I love this but it will not work for Gary's family tree. Still, for my side of the family, it would be a great gift and I am thinking of using it for several family members.
Christopher, Me, Gary, and Scott.
Write your family story and then publish it using the 2013 Writer's Market
After all the research, I wrote a book to share it with the Gaulthair Children. However, a friend suggested that instead of self-publishing, I try to submit it to known publishers. The best way to find a publisher is the Writer's Market. They list every publisher, the guidelines and the submission requirements. I have had it sent to my Kindle and find that although it is a little bulky there, it is always at my fingertips.
I ended up self-publishing the book. It was written for the kids so they would know everything I know. It's not a masterpiece to anyone but them.
The children - Gerold
The children - Karolene
1940's - Karolene and Garold Rickman - This information was found on a genealogical website listing Lydia Gaulthair as the mother. We have not had any success tracking down these two children and have not verified the information. I am in the process of ordering the records so I will be able to confirm that eventually.
The children - Patricia
Patricia Powell - Again from the same website comes this information about Patricia as a Gaulthair. What is interesting here is that she was raised by her aunt and uncle. Was she the first abandoned child and why didn't her father raise her? Lots of work to do on this one.
The children - Frances - The photo is Rickie, Frances, Trisha, Diane, and Sharon
1952 - Frances - We always believed that Ramon was the father of Frances. Now we find out that Ramon adopted her and no one knows who her father was. Since she was adopted, the records are sealed. Her mother was Lydia.
The children - Rickie - Rickie, Ramon, and Frances
1954- Rickie - The younger brother of Frances and we know that his father was Ramon. Lydia tried to give the kids to Gary's adoptive mother but she didn't want them. Ramon hired a private detective to find his son but couldn't split up the brother and sister so adopted Frances.
The children - Gary
1955 - Gary - Ramon is his biological father and the family knew that Lydia was pregnant when she took off with the kids. Lydia hid Gary so well, Ramon wasn't able to find him. It was a shock to Rick and Frances when they found Gary. They knew he was out there but had not expected to find him.
The children - David - The photo is David just before Lydia dumped him in an orphanage
1957 - The picture is David, This is the child that Lydia tried to give to another aunt who couldn't keep him. We now know that Gary's mom kept in touch with Lydia for at least 6 years because all the children seem to have pictures of the other kids in their possession. It was in 1957 that Lydia dumped Frances and Ricky into foster care and David into an orphanage and never spoke to any of them again.
The children - Darla - David, Lydia, and Darla
1960 - Darla was a treat and a total surprise. We didn't know about her but she is David's half-sister and her father is Stumpy. When Darla was three months old, Lydia left her and David alone in the house and walked away. Fortunately for them, they had a father who cared for them.
July 2, 2012
Gary met Ricky and Frances for the very first time. It was emotional for all of them and the two days we spent with them was filled with cousins and other family members. It was quite an experience.
Very 1st meeting - Frances, Cousin Esther, Rick, and Gary
Deja Vu - "Gary come see this!" - 7/5/2012
Cousin Esther not only provided the use of her home, she invited other family for Gary to meet. She and Dennis are wonderful people and we are glad to be able to say that we are now part of their family. Frances is loving and kind and very excited to have another brother. She spent a couple of weeks with us, meeting the Gaulthair side of the family. Rick is interesting in his own right and could possibility be described as a mountain man who can chew down a tree and make a house.
We got home from the trip in the late afternoon. We were tired because meeting family is a big deal. We came in and I headed to my computer to see what I had missed in three days and there was a new comment on Ancestry.com. It started with, :Hi, I think I am one of the Gaulthair Children". Flash back to "Gary, come see this", Darla is definitely a Gaulthair and the sister of David who we had been looking for. We just found two more Gaulthair children and spent the rest of the evening talking on the phone and sharing information.
Does that mean that there is a road trip to Texas in our future?
Photo of Lydia, David and Darla just before she walked out of their lives.
Deceit and lies
We think we have a handle on at least 8 of the 13 children. That leaves 5 more to track down. Lydia had a habit of having children and leaving them in her wake and now the kids want to know more about their mother and what made her the way she was.
This is quite difficult because the more we find, the more the lies surface. There is a code of silence here that is almost unbreakable. I have verified that Karolene and Gerold are Gaulthair. Patricia is also Gaulthair. Patricia has a cousin that is living who will not talk about this. Gary has two aunts who is still living but won't share what they know. Gary's mom told him that she would answer any of his questions but continued to lie until the day she died. Ramon refused to talk to his kids. Darla's dad has Alzheimer's and cannot speak. Although we found Karolene and Gerald, to them this is old history and getting information is difficult. There are answers out there, we just have to unearth them.
9/2/12 - Found Karolene and Gerold
This is truly a blessing because Karolene has information. While she can't answer all the questions, she is very kind and willing to share. Gary now has one more brother and sister and we now know that there are more somewhere. The adventure continues but the new brothers and sisters are in constant communication and they all like each other.
Read the whole story - The book is being revised.
It was originally written in anger at the people who kept these children apart. After a year, I now see it needs to be more objective and I am working to keep the anger in check. However, all the kids got a copy and now understand more about their lives and their place in this family. In one year's time, our delight with the new brothers and sisters has grown and we find our lives enriched by them. Now we have some additional information and pictures that need to be included.
We planned a trip to meet Darla and David. Along the way, we will gather up Frances and take her with us. Rick isn't able to join us so we will take lots of pictures. It's different than meeting Rick and Frances. We have had a year to get to know these people and they are not strangers anymore. Everyone is very excited.
Frances, Gary, and Darla - July 2013
In spite of her apprehension, Darla welcomed us into her home. She and her husband Bill, were great hosts and treated us to the play "Texas!". It's the states official play and spotlights the history of the Panhandle. Held in the amphitheater in the Palo Duro Canyon, I must admit that it's spectacular. We had a great time with Darla and Bill and also got to meet her father, Thomas Stump. He was the mysterious "Stumpy" for all those years. He has Alzheimer's so is unable to remember Lydia or the past but he is very pleasant and we enjoyed our time with him too.
Frances and David - July 2013
We meet Melea and David Stump and spent time with them them at a park in Webb City, Mo. It was the fastest 9 hours we have ever spent. I can see us making future trips to visit and David want us to all get together for a family vacation.
I don't believe in coincidence and this is not a fluke. This is all done according to God's plan. If he wants us to find the other 5, they will be revealed to us as the others were.
These are the children that needed to find each other and fill the hole that Lydia dug for each of them as she left them behind.