Friday, March 16, 2012

Not Much of an Answer

When Agnes Tully Stevens opened her mail one afternoon early in August, 1969, she may have been puzzled by the official-looking envelope that sternly announced itself as  
Agnes, now an eighty-one-year-old widow living alone in the Chicago suburbs, could hardly have been expecting such a letter.

Once back inside her home, perhaps safely seated in a comfy spot in her own familiar living room after having taken a deep breath, she opened the imposing envelope to reveal something which, though hardly expected, made sense once she considered it.

It was the result of her inquiry to the sure-fire solution-finders at Chicago Today’s Action Line.

What a disappointment it must have been for Agnes to read:

Dear Miss Stevens:

Your recent letter addressed to Chicago Today’s Action Line has been referred to us for reply.

We do not maintain any records at this office which would be a possible source of information regarding your grandfather, Stephen Malloy.

The National Archives has custody of the United States Customs Service records relating to arrivals at New York, New York, occurring before June 16, 1897. You may wish to make a request to National Archives, Washington, D. C 20408, for information concerning the possible arrival of your grandfather. Since these records are not indexed the following information should be furnished in order that they may be searched:

            1.         Full name used at the time of entry.
            2.         Port of embarkation.
            3.         Name of vessel on which arrived.
            4.         Date of arrival at New York.

                                    Sincerely yours,

                                    L. W. Hurney
                                    District Director

And with that, it was back to letter writing for Agnes. If nothing else, she was still persistent.

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