Perso/Message in a bottle
Traduction d'Anglais en Français avec Google Translate (plus ou moins fidèle) .
A 63 years old birth card (in 2010)
Please note: names have been obfuscated on the card and changed in the text below as I have not received permission (nor refusal either) by the interested parties to publish their names here.
These names will be used in following text:
- daugther: Karin Amelia Covington (maiden name), Karin Stanton (married name)
- Karin's father: Randal D. Covington
- Karin's husband: Steve Stanton
This 1947 birth announcement card shown above was found in the family papers when my father passed away in 2010. He had carefully kept this birth card for the past 63 years so it must have meant something special to him!
There was no envelope, no other letter, no document nor an entry with the name "Covington" in my parents' address book and my mother had been suffering from Alzheimer's for about ten years so it was impossible to get any information had she any.
The only other valuable information was the "Printed in USA" mark on the back of the card. Despite the "lettre suit" (letter follows) mention at the bottom left, I never found that letter.
With my father's death, I felt like this birth card no longer "belonged" to us and that it should find its new home with the Covington family so I started to gather as much info I could in the hope to find either Randal D. Covington, his wife or their daughter Karin Amelia.
I knew that back in the 1940's the only English speaking people my father knew were WWII allies. From some (but too few) earlier discussions with my father, I knew he helped RAF pilots who were forced to land in France to escape German troops and return to England. Despite a rather limited scholar education, my father did speak a bit of English and, let's face it, a lot more than most Frenchmen at the time so that was a real asset during WWII. With so little information available, I assumed Randal D. Covington might have been a US pilot flying with the RAF.
Anyway, back to the birth card, the only useful information I had was the name Randal D. Covington. Back in 2010, I searched the Internet and found in a Savannah newspaper the obituary of a person of the very same name, aged 70, a WWII veteran who, among others, had a daughter by the name Karin Stanton. I assumed the last name "Stanton" might be Karin's married name. Various other family members who lived in Georgia were also cited in the obituary.
Country matched, name matched, age was very plausible, daugther's first name matched... That sounded like a very positive and promising match! However, at the time, it didn't get me any closer with no online directory and, apparently, so many Stanton people in Georgia. I tried my luck on Facebook contacting various people named Covington and Stanton living in Georgia but I never got an answer.
Year in, year out, I occasionally searched the Internet looking for further leads without success.
At the end of 2017, my mother passed away and the birth card was still here! More than ever before, I felt it definitely had to find its way back home, that is with the Covington family.
On Saturday May 5th, 2018, I once again searched the Internet for people in Georgia named Stanton and got a hint in an online US directory about a certain Steve Stanton who was related, among others, to Karin Stanton and the city matched that I had found in the obituary. It seemed very promising, didn't it? To make it even better, there was an address and a telephone number in the USA! I called the number and talked to... Mrs Karin Amelia Stanton! After a short discussion (my spoken English is very rusty, far more than my written English!) I asked for her birth date and checked it was indeed the one written on the birth card. And here the miracle happened : she was THE Karin Amelia of the birth card!
The next Monday, on May 7th, 2018, the birth card was posted from Rueil-Malmaison (France) to Acworth (Georgia, USA). After a couple of weeks passed, I was worried the card might have been lost therefore I called again and got confirmation it indeed was in the hands of Mrs Karin Amelia Stanton. The card had found its way back home some 71 years later! Trust me, that was a weight off of my shoulders. The card is now in the hands of the true owner, obviously too late for Randal D. Covington to know but Karin's mother is still alive.
Perhaps we'll eventually find out where my father and Randal D. Covington met during WWII. At this time, I know from Karin that her father wasn't a pilot during the war so my assumption he was flying with the RAF was wrong.
- June 2018: it may be possible that my father met with Karin's mother just after the war while he worked as a bodyguard to André Malraux during the Provisional Government of the French Republic.
- Jan 2019: Karin's mother thinks, without any certitude, she might have worked with my mother after the war. This does not seem probable as my mother worked for a company that prepared and registered Industrial & Intellectual Property for its clients. There is still a lot to discover about this birth card!
- ↑ Only recently (2018) did I learn that all the people I had contacted on Facebook in 2010 were indeed close relatives of Karin
Further WWII family related readings
- The known whereabouts of my father during WWII.
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