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Home improvement leads to sweet find

Lost 1940's Love Letters Found in Stranger's Attic

Joshua McKinney has just a couple reams of insulation that he still needs to put in his attic. His project was interrupted shortly after he began removing the old insulation.

'I was just scooping it up so I could put the new stuff down and when I did that it was just plop, What is this?' McKinney told FOX17. 'I started looking and I was like, 'Honey, come look at what I found, this is kind of cool.'

The couple began thumbing through the find.

'There was a bunch of letters wrapped up in ribbon dating back to 1940,' he said.

Included was William Kissel's birth certificate from 1942 and Edward and Virginia Kissel's marriage certificate from 1941. They had the names, now the McKinneys had to track down the family.

'We first posted it on Facebook and went from there,' he said.

The post bounced around on Facebook for a mere four hours before getting the attention of Williams' daughter Christine Frien, from Muskegon, who saw a deeper connection at play.

'With my dad's brother just passing away this weekend. I don't know. I felt like my dad was just trying to talk with me,' said Frien.

She brought the letters home and began pouring over the find with her mother, Shirley Kissel.

For Shirley, it was a chance to to get know her husband's father, a man she'd only met once before his death.

'I didn't get to know him that much,' she said. 'But he was kind of a lover I guess.'

How the letters ended up at the cottage in Casnovia is a mystery for another day.

'We only knew they lived in Ludington,' Frien said of her grandparents. 'And then here in Muskegon. So that is going to be something to find out.'

However they ended up there, the family is happy to now have them in their possession.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
Beth January 28 2014 at 8:24 PM

As someone who loves genalogy, I am so glad to read about these records and how they were found. I have traced one side of my family to 1500. You can would never believe all the stories and history I am found while doing this, you never know what will turn up next or where it will come from. So if you find something, remember that just might be the piece of a puzzle someone is looking for.

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rothhammer1 Beth January 28 2014 at 8:47 PM


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1 reply
Judy rothhammer1 January 28 2014 at 10:38 PM

rothhammer1, you missed correcting Beth for all the grammar errors too.

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BARRY AND KATHY Beth January 28 2014 at 9:15 PM

When remodeling our home in the early 50's I would guess, my father discovered in a crawl space some documents from the county courthouse listing the chain of ownership of our farm. All the owners of the land of everyone in the town and the legal description, what they paid and whom they sold to on down the line from 1828 when our town was founded. ( sorry I can't think of the legal name for the records).
I was excited to find that our farm as we bought it consisted of the same 80 acres as first platted and in addition was first owned not by the founder of our town but actually by his FATHER.
Along with some other papers, I donated this to the town museum in 2012. I had always wanted to and I can't tell you how good it made me feel to actually have had something in my family with such historical significance.When I was growing up, the town was about 1500 people and still is only about twice that. I couldn't have wanted a better place to grow up in and in the country at that.
The town was Jonesville Michigan in Hillsdale county Mi.

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Hi Sandra January 28 2014 at 5:54 PM

Such a beautiful story. To bad several commenters on here only find the spelling inportant and show their insensitivities by saying so!

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1 reply
Ron Hi Sandra January 28 2014 at 6:48 PM

Little "things" for little minds.

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1 reply
papamurphy Ron January 28 2014 at 9:18 PM

I agree with you, Ron; but NOBODY noticed the clever PUN about the "Poor woman"! I think I will "Plant" some stuff in my attic for a future discovery. Inquiring folks DO enjoy a good mystery. Papa Jerry

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ozalot January 28 2014 at 8:15 PM

Nice story. Nice people. Unusual these days.

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ajafullmn January 28 2014 at 6:59 PM

I found a few letters from 1917 in our attic. Our house was built in the 50's by a family friend. one of them remarks, "I can't wait to see you to tell you my secret"., Man, have I always wondered what that was. We were never able to figure out who they were.

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1 reply
Ray ajafullmn January 28 2014 at 7:38 PM

How did you post the lightning ? Ray rayalien457@aol.com

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bluetimestwo January 28 2014 at 6:13 PM

This story is beyond cool!

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Minister January 28 2014 at 5:28 PM

In every house, during every renovation, we've hidden a plastic bag of newspspers, money, TV Guides and other interesting things. One day I hope someone finds them and has some fun opening them.

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3 replies
YuVonneLewis January 28 2014 at 5:25 PM

A beautiful find.

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Charlene January 28 2014 at 5:58 PM

Several years after we sold our parent's house, we noticed the new owners were building an addtition onto the house. Our Dad had built most of the house from a tiny cabin. Our Dad stored the blue prints up in a part of the attic which was barely used. The new owners built it exactly like our Dad had drawn them. P.S. I guess our Dad planned to have a lot of kids!

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kimcrdr January 28 2014 at 5:02 PM

well that is cool, whomever gets my home when I pass will have fun in my attic for I know my children wont go up there and clean it out so it will be full!!

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melissaspets January 28 2014 at 5:56 PM

I have had letters found in a storage locker for Mrs. Rettie Smith, married to a Mr. J F. Smith of Stanfield, NC, dating from 1917 thru 1919, and most are from a soldier killed in the first world war. Some are from her brother it seems, a Robert Moss. Interestingly, the Red Cross had sent a notice to the mother of her son being killed, and it was for someone else with a similar name, he was killed not long after she had received the false notice, and was buried in Etionne, France. Anyway, never thought I would be able to find who they belonged to but thought I would attach this to the story just on the off chance someone might know who they belong to. Would have returned them right away if I had found them earlier. Shot in the dark..... thanks

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1 reply
o4peetsak melissaspets January 28 2014 at 7:13 PM

I have tried to find my Mother's family for years. The last name is Schlichting. They lived in Springfield Mass. in the 60's and 70's. No information to be found. With a name like that.............

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