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Mystery documents are returned to family

I don’t think I’ve published in print the conclusion of the story about the attempt to identify the owner
Alistair Taylor

Taking care of some unfinished business: I don’t think I’ve published in print the conclusion of the story about the Campbell River Genealogy Society trying to identify the owner of some personal documents given to the society. The story broke on the Mirror’s website in early April.

Unfortunately, the owner passed away last year. A local thrift store discovered the documents in an envelope that was stuffed in a bag of knitting wool.

According to the documents, Anna Maria Kohler was born in Amsterdam and then moved to Australia. Included in the envelope is an extract of Kohler’s register of birth as well as other documents, postcards and some family photos.

The Campbell River Genealogical Society’s Laurel Lahay contacted the Mirror to see if the paper could publicize the search for the documents’ owner. Well, it didn’t take long after an article and a picture were published on at 9 a.m Wednesday morning and subsequently on the Mirror’s Facebook page and my Twitter account. People seem to love a good mystery and social media went to work and the word got passed around.

Kohler’s former boss saw the Mirror article online and mentioned it to a co-worker of Kohler’s who confirmed that the article was referring to a secretary who used to work with her. She contacted Lahay, giving her the name of an ex-husband who lived in Campbell River who was pleased to have the documents returned. Because Kohler didn’t have any children, the documents were sent to her niece in Australia.

In 2013, that niece had taken some items to a thrift store unaware the personal documents were concealed in a bag with the balls of knitting wool. All told, the mystery was solved within five hours. Kohler is Anna Maria’s maiden name but Lahay said the ex-husband and former co-worker didn’t want to be named.

n The annual Buttle Lake Cub Camp was held on the weekend in Strathcona Provincial Park at the Buttle Narrows campsite.

This event has been running for 34 years and is a blast for the Cub Scout age kids that participate from up and down the Island. As a leader of a Scout-age group – 1st Willow Point – I participated with my Scouts who set up and ran a station. The Cubs rotate around these stations doing various activities, crafts and challenges. We set up an obstacle course that had the kids crossing a lava bed and then scampering across a fishing net suspended off the ground tied to trees. This was followed by a tight rope walk and then stringing a “food bag” up out of reach of bears.

All in all it was a great weekend with a good bunch of kids in 1st Willow Point Scouts.

n Thank-you all who took the time to congratulate me on my 25th anniversary of working at the Campbell River Mirror.