Emmie Ozment’s Trunk

Emmie Ozment’s Trunk

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In 1986, Robin McCombs worked as an apartment building manager in San Francisco. One day she was cleaning the basement and found an old trunk.

She the trunk brought upstairs, then she bust open the lock. She couldn’t waht she found inside. The contents belong to Emmie Ozment. In 1942, Emmie was dying of cancer. She packed up the trunk and left instructions for it to be sent to her son. Only it never happened.

McCombs’ conscience was working overtime. She wanted to return the trunk to the proper family. It contained heirlooms including a wedding dress and Emmie Ozment’s diaries. McCombs searched for the family until 1993 without success. She was moving out of state and got her friend JoAnne Gardner to take over the search.

Gardner worked for the Mormon Church and had dabbled in genealogy. She made the trunk and it’s contents a project for a group of girls she taught. She turned the girls loose on research. A year later they located Emmie Ozment’s relative in Alabama.

The person didn’t want the trunk but thought a relative lived in Orland, CA. In 1995, Gardner gave the woman the trunk with a guarantee that she’d find Emmie’s granddaughters. Their whereabouts were unknown so the search continued.

Gardner continued to work on Emmie Ozment’s genealogy. In February 2006, she broke the code. She found three of Emmie’s granddaughters in the California marriage records. One of them, Joan McColgan, lived in Napa. She was ecstatic to hear about the trunk.

20 years after the trunk was discovered, it passed into the hands of Emmie’s granddaughter, Joan. The diaries and other items have reconnection Joan to a history she thought was long gone.

3 thoughts on “Emmie Ozment’s Trunk

  1. I just googled myself and was shocked to find this article appear. I can’t begin to tell you how important my grandmother’s trunk is to me. My twin sister and I were born in 1942, My grandmother actually died in 1944 when we were 2 years old. Having never really known her it has been a huge gift to get to know her through the diaries she left in the trunk. The journey of this trunk from Alabama, to San Francisco, to Michigan, back to Clayton, CA, to further north in California and finally to Napa is an amazing story.

  2. As a genealogist, I really loved your family’s story. It was simply amazing how the trunk was able to finally get to the right people. I’m so happy you were able to recover your family history.

  3. Dear Joan:

    I am an Ozment family tree researcher and have been at it for 15 years. William Thomas Ozment was the older brother of my grandmother, Martha Velma Ozment, who married Will Wright. I would very much like to get in touch with you to fill out your branch of the Ozment genealogy.

    Your (distant) cousin, Tom Wright

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