Profile unsolved mysteries

Profiling under special circumstances

What happens when you solve a mystery, but didn’t?

I found myself in an odd situation last year when researching a man who married into our family long before I was born. Technically, he would be my granduncle*, having married my grandmother’s sister, Hazel. Above, they sit among the flower beds in their backyard in the 40s. His name was Berton L’Frances Kasae, or so we thought.

When growing up, I was aware that certain family members were suspicious. Having changed his name several times, Bert was also evasive about his birth year. When he passed, my grandaunt was adamant certain “papers” be buried with Bert. It appeared there was something to hide, that Hazel didn’t want the contents revealed, ever.

When curiosity got the best of me I went on the hunt. I pieced together Bert’s life, and there were shocking discoveries, but you’ll never guess what happened next.

For the full article about BERTON L’FRANCES KASAE, click his name.

*Here is a handy little chart explaining the proper terms.

great vs grand relatives_chart family tree maker

Photos of the unknowns

Asking for help with photos of unidentified people

Our mystery woman has been haunting me, again. She’s likely a Smith or Butterfield–her photos were found among those in the Butterfield/Smith box–but maybe she’s neither. One label indicates she is my grandma Lalla’s (Smith) grandma, our malevolent matriarch’s mother. That “Smith grandma” would be Helen Eliza White Smith, yet, my grandma labeled her “Charley.”

I wrote about her because this case got under my skin. I haven’t been able to figure it out. Yet. Further aggravating the situation me is that those who labeled the photos should know. Right?

For the full article on Charley-Helen, please click HERE.

If you’d like to see where I profile my unknowns, and where I may profile yours, use THIS LINK.

Your unsolved mysteries

When YOU hit that brick wall

I’ve hit several in our family, and it seems I’d better stop expecting that there will be an answer simply because I’m looking for one. Think about that; it’s liberating, actually, to let it go (OK, fine, I am an addict too; maybe the better term would be temporarily set aside) and not over stress about any one case. Another way to look at it is coming to terms with reality. My take away here is to strive for an easy frame of mind, stay open, expect little, hope for the best, and never, ever give up.

When researching during a time when records could be scant at best, any piece of information I can pass along is better than leaving my children with nothing. Start with what you have, even if it’s family lore. Put something down in writing. Later when your children are asking the same questions you are asking now, they will have your thoughts to build upon. Your hunches may be spot on; leaving them a clue is better than no clue.


We found this wonderful heirloom in the basement of my parents’ house. Dad wasn’t much of a handyman, but his step-father EDDIE and uncle made furniture and remodeled homes, respectively.

It could have belonged to either man, but we figure it was likelier to have belonged to Bert (in top photo) than my grandpa. Bert remodeled the family home in the 40s, and later built his garage and a chicken coop in his back yard. Grandpa, on the other hand, made small furniture (doll houses, trinket boxes, our toy box) in his basement, and maybe was less likely to use a large level for those items. I’m merely guessing.

It’s entirely possible the level was in my grandparents’ home before they moved in, a possession of the previous owner; the same goes for Bert. My kids may not notice the year imprinted on the metal facet on the front: it reads Mar 25. 93. Grandpa was born in 1895, Bert in 1883. It could have been passed down from one of their fathers. Still, based on what the two men built, it seems more likely that the level belonged to Bert.

Does this solve this mystery? No, but it does leave the kids with something to go on, and here, our hunches may matter more than we think.

Heirloom, notebook, pencil, your thoughts….GO!

Happy Profiling! ❤

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