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Chapter 4 -The Dunn Family – Their Hope, Struggle, and Extinction

Hello All,
I have been working on the Dunn story before I make a trip to Hollidaysburg to visit their their library and county records office. I will post this as a series of 4 essays, one per week, starting with an introduction..

The Dunn Family Saga – Hope, Struggle, and Extinction

Part 1 – Introduction

I was named Thomas Joseph Dunn when I was born in 1949. My father, Arthur Allen Dunn died when I was 4. Three years later my name was legally changed when my step-father adopted me. He discouraged me from visiting my surviving family members. My mother’s entire life was shattered by her long string of tragedies, and she was too fragile to be able to talk about her losses. I put in my time with my step-family, left home when I was seventeen, and have had little contact with them since.
I am now in my sixtieth year. My only son, Tobin lives on Okinawa and observes Shinto-ism. He has built an ancestor’s shrine, and asked me about my family. All I knew was a few details told to me by my mother, and a very few family records and photos she passed on to me when she died in 2002. I have never attempted genealogical research, but college taught me how to dig into geological archive. I also learned how to organize and conduct a personal records investigation, and how to construct a timeline when I was in the Coast Guard. Tobin has funded my on-line research
I am now a year and a half into meeting the several families that were torn away from me. They were all immigrant laborers, who came to America to escape the Hell of being poor in war-torn Europe. With almost no exceptions, they remained working class. When their children and grandchildren began to work towards an education, they were cut down in their prime by a devastating series of disease and death.
I calculated the average lifespan of the fifteen male ancestors that I ‘unearthed’; it was 51.5 years (not counting my brother who died on his second day of life). I have only found three of them who outlived me. So I feel obligated to get their story out. My mother always told me to “live each day as if it were your last”. Thanks for the tip, Mom = I have!
I’ll present the four pages relating to my Dunns over the next month, with this introduction to be followed by each of the topics in the title: Hope, Struggle, and Extinction. I am not saying that there are not other surviving family members, but I have had no success in finding them.

Thank You

Thomas Joseph Dunn (Marti)

PS: Since I am working with very sparse documentation, I have resorted to historical conjecture to try to ‘flesh out’ their lives. I will italicize those parts of this story.

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