Sisters Are Reunited after 66 Years of Family Searching
By Lucy Schouten, Church News staff writer
- Dixie Lee Trotter Minson was 10 years old when her stepfather and the father of her siblings walked out on the family.
- Eventually, her siblings were put up for adoption; her mother spent the next half century vainly searching for her other children.
- Sister Minson was contacted by a woman who visit teaches her sister, and they, along with their husbands and children, met for the first time recently.
“It has to be just almost pure joy. Other than my marriage and my children it’s probably the happiest thing in my life.”
—Dixie Lee Trotter Minson
WEST POINT, UTAH
A visiting teaching lesson on family history and a determined visiting teaching partner helped two sisters reunite after 66 years of separation.
Dixie Lee Trotter Minson was 10 years old when her stepfather and the father of her siblings, whose last name was Wright, walked out on the family. In January 1947 her mother, in desperation, took her and her five siblings to her in-laws’ home and asked for help.
The grandparents put the six children up for adoption. By the time Sister Minson’s mother found out that her children were being given away, four of them had already disappeared with new families. She took Dixie and Ronnie, the eldest two children, but she spent the next half century vainly searching for her other four children.
Her final words to her daughter before she passed away a year ago were, “I love you. Keep looking for them.”
Sister Minson, now of the West Point 12th Ward, West Point Utah Stake, with a family of her own, became a passionate family historian to try and find her siblings. “We remember the struggles from being very little kids, with my mom hanging over family history,” said Randy Minson, her son.
Both Sister Minson’s family history work and even a private investigator could find no trace of her lost siblings. “I just looked at all those boxes [of family history records] and I thought, ‘I can find the dead, but why can’t I find the living?’”
The story of their reunion was as marvelous as their separation was tragic. Sister Minson woke up at 2:15 a.m. on June 26 and saw that she had a message from a woman named Lisa English. Sister English told her that she had been up all night looking for her, and she believed that she had found her sister. Several more messages were exchanged to confirm this, and Aloma Bringhurst Carter called her shortly thereafter.
Sister Carter of the Toquerville 1st Ward, La Verkin Utah Stake, had just been assigned to be Sister English’s visiting teaching partner. The June visiting teaching message was on family history work, and Sister Carter mentioned that she did not know her family because she was adopted at age 5. Sister English took the few details Sister Carter remembered and began to search the newly released 1940 U.S. census. She found Sister Carter’s family and spent the night searching for them online. She later wrote in an email to Sister Minson, “I just felt divine inspiration that whole night.”
Randy Minson spoke of Sister English’s role in the reunion. “Typically, we go home and we don’t think about our [assigned] families until the next month, but this faithful visiting teacher went above and beyond.”
The sisters view their reunion as a miracle, and Sister Carter calls Sister English “our angel.”
“It has to be just almost pure joy,” Sister Minson said. “Other than my marriage and my children it’s probably the happiest thing in my life.”
When the sisters, along with their husbands and children, met for the first time, Sister Carter was thrilled to find out that her sister “looked just like Mother.” She also learned her middle name and saw photographs and family history for the first time.
“I’ve been wanting this to happen for so many years,” Sister Carter said.
The family also credits it as a blessing of temple sealings, as Sister Minson completed her mother’s temple work just one month prior to being reunited with her sister.
“There’s just a real feeling that their mother is helping out on the other side,” Randy Minson said.
It has given them more hope in the quest to find the other siblings: Terry, Patty, and Dennis.
For now, the sisters are just happy to have reunited their families after 66 years.
“I’ve been on cloud nine and so has she,” Sister Minson said. “Even my blood tests were better today!”