Discoveries: 'Son's Wish to Reunite His Family Gratified after Thirty Years'

As our monthly "Discoveries" feature shows in each issue of GenealogyBank News, part of the pleasure of researching your family history in historical newspaper archives is the occasionally funny, bizarre, unusual or heartwarming story you run across.

Here is an example of a touching reunion story involving the Moeshling family, a gathering that took 30 years to accomplish and brought together family members from two continents. Their story was published by the Jackson Daily Citizen (Jackson, Michigan), 9 October 1900, page 1.

The story began in 1870, when the father, Charles Moeshling, "got into an altercation in Philadelphia and was sent to jail for six months."

The distressed mother placed her two children, a boy two years old and a girl age three, in an almshouse, "and went back to her old home in Germany."

When Charles got out of jail he returned home—only to find the house deserted and his family scattered. He went to Denver and joined the 5th Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. Army—serving with that famed unit during the bloody Plains Indians Wars against the Cheyenne and Lakota—until his enlistment ended in 1876 (the same year that part of another cavalry regiment in that war, George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry Regiment, was wiped out at the Battle of the Little Bighorn).

While the father was out West fighting Indians, the boy was growing up on a farm in Waynesburg, Pa. He was told about his family history and began the work of finding and reuniting his family. He located his sister in Newark, Ohio, his father in New Haven, Connecticut, and his mother in Germany. After this huge effort he arranged for a family reunion in New Haven in 1900.

Genealogists spend years trying to piece together their family trees, searching newspaper articles and government records and documents to find missing relatives. With all this effort, genealogists understand well the pull of "family" that compelled the Moeshling son to find each member of his family—the same strong familial bond that compelled all four Moeshlings to reunite after their 30-year separation.

It must have been quite a reunion.