CA CA - Donna Jean Miller, 16-20, my grandmother has been missing since around 1965

LotsaLatte

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Sorry, I want to make sure I give you the spelling I am showing Charles Michael Connelly.

ETA: I am getting some records crossing here - it may be "Mike" for the middle name. The common surnames are pulling other people's records. It is middle initial "M" for sure.
 
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evangelicsphere

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Yes it is. That's why I asked if "Rodger" was a nickname. Is that the wrong person?
Sorry, I want to make sure I give you the spelling I am showing Charles Michael Connelly.

ETA: I am getting some records crossing here - it may be "Mike" for the middle name. The common surnames are pulling other people's records. It is middle initial "M" for sure.
yeah Charles Michael Connelly is most likely correct. sorry for the confusion. I knew he went by his middle name which I thought was Rodger and no one ever corrected me. it wasn't till I asked my mom for his full name that I found out he's actually grandpa Mike.
 

LotsaLatte

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After researching, I have thought long and hard about this and what I would do. So, I would probably try to narrow down when and where your grandma Donna was last known to be by talking to any of HER family (siblings/nieces/nephews, cousins), any friends of hers that you can track down, etc.

There is a possible very short (less than a year) marriage that may be your grandfather's. This will need solid verification. I would then track down the bride and/or any family she may have. To find out if there was any info regarding your grandma Donna that they heard. That marriage was September 1, 1967 and divorce was July, 1968.

If that is his marriage, we would now know that grandma Donna disappeared between the time your mom was born and August 31, 1967.

I would get every piece of paper & record you can find after your mom was born that could show any address/city they lived in so you will know where to report her missing if it comes to that. As well, that legal notice grandpa may have put in the newspaper to get a divorce would be good.

That is where I would go from here and then narrow down the timeline and place she was last KNOWN to be. Then I'd touch base with LE and see if they can add anything to the information you have. IF she isn't found, I would put together a very informative "poster" and start getting it on social media and get it shared. You never know who may have information, family rumors, etc.

I hope all this makes sense, I am having to rush but wanted to check back in :)
 

evangelicsphere

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After researching, I have thought long and hard about this and what I would do. So, I would probably try to narrow down when and where your grandma Donna was last known to be by talking to any of HER family (siblings/nieces/nephews, cousins), any friends of hers that you can track down, etc.

There is a possible very short (less than a year) marriage that may be your grandfather's. This will need solid verification. I would then track down the bride and/or any family she may have. To find out if there was any info regarding your grandma Donna that they heard. That marriage was September 1, 1967 and divorce was July, 1968.

If that is his marriage, we would now know that grandma Donna disappeared between the time your mom was born and August 31, 1967.

I would get every piece of paper & record you can find after your mom was born that could show any address/city they lived in so you will know where to report her missing if it comes to that. As well, that legal notice grandpa may have put in the newspaper to get a divorce would be good.

That is where I would go from here and then narrow down the timeline and place she was last KNOWN to be. Then I'd touch base with LE and see if they can add anything to the information you have. IF she isn't found, I would put together a very informative "poster" and start getting it on social media and get it shared. You never know who may have information, family rumors, etc.

I hope all this makes sense, I am having to rush but wanted to check back in :)
thank you for this. tracking down relatives on mystery grandma is probably going to be difficult because the only one who ever actually talked to my mom was her grandmother on that side, but I'm sure using the power of bother 23andme as well as facebook I can track a few down.

about the record you found, I'm a little surprised. mom never mentioned that. I suppose now I kinda have to brave my grandma Jeanette's attic now.

just as a general update I may be a little slow responding this week as my mom is going through a surgery. I'm still gonna do my best to make an accurate timeline and either get a facebook page set up or a website.
 

Laughing

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Thanks, @LotsaLatte, for asking those questions about Grandpa's full name.

@evangelicsphere , take care of your Mom for the next few weeks.

Request the records that LotsaLatte pointed out -- a few marriage licenses, divorces, plus your Mom's complete/long form birth certificate.

You may indeed find info in Grandma Jeanette's attic -- her marriage license for instance, possibly 'Rodger' and Donna's divorce.

Check newspaper clippings Grandma Jeanette kept, and remember that you're looking for

specific people
in a specific place
on a specific date

because connecting those dots leads you to family!

Best, Laughing
 

LotsaLatte

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Let me know if any dates and locations are needed that I have. As well, I can probably find the relatives on your mom's maternal side if you need me to look into that. Please don't be surprised if 23andme doesn't show up with any extremely close relatives. Ancestry will probably have more close results as the records I am showing are California and other U.S. states. You may get close matches from 23andme but Ancestry would be a great additional test to take.

I didn't know whether or not your mom had contact with her mom's family. I definitely would not "listen" to rumors about your grandma Donna being known to behave in any particular way until you speak to verified friends and her own relatives. She was very young when she disappeared :(

I hope your mom's surgery goes well and her recovery is speedy.
 

Songbird1973

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Grandfather "Roger" would have had to obtain a divorce from Mystery Grandma to remarry. Unlike most other vital records that are stored by the state, divorce records are stored with other county court cases and are public records. If this record could be located, it may contain a statement by Grandfather stating a date when Mystery Grandma "deserted" him.
 

Gardener1850

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Welcome @evangelicsphere !

Please consider filing an official missing report for your grandmother Donna Jean Miller. I understand your family believes she abandoned your mom and her husband to start a new life but what if something bad happened to her and she was unable to return to her family? There are many unidentified persons (Jane Does) that could be your grandmother and you may never know unless an official missing report is made and your DNA is put into the system to be compared against any Jane Does with DNA on file.

Based on the time range and her age when Donna Jean was last seen one case that comes to mind is this unidentified woman in Delaware: DE - DE - Bear, WhtFem UP7097, 16-25, pregnant, in laundry bag, Mar'67
I understand that Delaware is really far from California but a woman might have traveled that far to attempt to get an illegal abortion in 1967 (the circumstances of the Delaware Jane Doe's death is that she died as the result of an unsafe abortion which was illegal at that time). I believe your grandmother resembles the DE victim as well. Here's a comparison between a sketch of the DE Jane Doe and Donna Jean's photo:
upload_2019-12-20_20-53-39.png

There may be other Jane Does found closer to California that would fit as well but unless you get a missing report filed it will be hard for a match to ever be made.
 

LotsaLatte

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I definitely agree with Gardener that a missing report should be filed. I am just wondering if talking to family and friends can narrow down exactly where it should be filed. As well, Law enforcement can help find out if her social security number was ever used, etc. I also wonder if the possible 2nd marriage is grandfather's marriage and if so, if that ex wife and/or any children she had later, would be able to remember if grandpa ever explained where grandma may have gone and the circumstances surrounding her leaving.
 

Melt71

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I also wonder if the possible 2nd marriage is grandfather's marriage and if so, if that ex wife and/or any children she had later, would be able to remember if grandpa ever explained where grandma may have gone and the circumstances surrounding her leaving.

My thinking too. Also the second marriage was very short. Why? In addition to memories about people, that wife may be able to recall if there were behaviours or revelations by Grandpa that could have indicated a pattern of behavior in the earlier one.

I don’t think anyone here would assume Grandpa Rodger was a bad guy. However statistics show that - IF anything bad happened - a person from the inner-circle of friends/family is more likely to be the perpetrator.

Also.....rumours about “loose morals” are spread for lots of reasons. Back then embarrassment at the failure of a relationship would have been a big thing. I wouldn’t put much stock in them frankly, without hard evidence.
 

LotsaLatte

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I think we know he (grandfather) went by "Mike" now and Rodger was not a name he used. Please correct me if I am wrong on that, evangelicsphere. I agree with Melt71 - any rumors should probably be put aside if they aren't from "the horse's mouth" so to speak. She was a young mama and disappeared, that's really all we know as fact. :(
 

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@evangelicsphere Hi....very sweet and brave of you to go on this quest. I hope your mom is going to be alright. I wish you and your loved ones a merry Christmas, especially under the circumstances.

Thank you all so much helping this "searcher" out. Great to see.

Just a summery from the above posts:
  • Missing person Donna Jean Miller, married name Connelly
  • Missing since approx. 1964/1965 (daughter born 1964, was approx. a year) - August 31 1967 (husband remarried September 1, 1967)
  • Not at funeral of father...not accounted for. Date? (could have had many of reasons, but just to get some kind of timeline)
  • Missing from n/a Orange County (where was your mom born, at least that was her last known residence)
  • height between 5'4 - 5'10
  • Brown hair, brown eyes (not known for sure)
  • DOB n/a Aprox. age when went missing between 16 - 20 years. @LotsaLatte did you find it?
  • Race n/a
  • Husband Charles Michael (Mike) Connelly born California, died 2004?
If you know more....fill in the blanks....something to start with....especially if we are searching for a deceased/unidentified person.
 

Laughing

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@evangelicsphere, I know you're busy taking care of your Mom (and yourself!) have you been able to request any records?

I want to know who witnessed Donna Jean's marriage to Mr. Connelly. Did Mr. Connelly have the same witness for all 3 marriages? If so -- that person knows quite a bit about the family.

Best, Laughing
 

Gardener1850

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I didn't see if it was linked previously but Donna Jean's marriage record (index only no photo) can be viewed on Family Search: FamilySearch

They married 18 Jul 1964 in Orange County California. Donna was 17 (estimated DOB 1947) and Charles M was 20 years old (estimated DOB 1944) at the time of the marriage.

Charles M married another woman in Orange County Sept 1 1967: FamilySearch

But that marriage ended in divorce by July 1968: FamilySearch

I found two other marriage records for a Donna J Miller marrying two different men in Orange County in the 1960's after the marriage to Charles Michael Conelly but since Donna J Miller is an extremely common name those records may not be her. Additional research would have to be done to track down those other Donna's to find out if either of them are the missing Donna. It's entirely possible she did marry again after Mike but if that is the case then her SSN would have been used and connected to her married name. To find out if her SSN has been used a missing report needs to be filed by her family and then LE can check that.
 

LotsaLatte

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I was/am hesitant to ask for/post some information here on the off chance Donna left on her own and is still out there. But I am curious if her birthday was in July? And maiden name of Donna's mother? This is public record but I don't want to post if I have the wrong person't birth record and/or this is a living person. I hope that makes sense.
 

Laughing

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I was/am hesitant to ask for/post some information here on the off chance Donna left on her own and is still out there. But I am curious if her birthday was in July? And maiden name of Donna's mother? This is public record but I don't want to post if I have the wrong person't birth record and/or this is a living person. I hope that makes sense.

does to me, and I'm sure you know understand my interest in the witnesses & informants....
 

Samk2

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I searched on newspapers.com for an article About searching for her and came up with nothing. I tried a ton of variations of her name and missing wife searches between 1964-1968 for about an hour. But I also didn’t find any thing on Charles Michael Connelly, like marriage or divorce licenses listed in the paper when searching all his name options. My conclusion is that their local Newspaper is not archived on newspapers.com.
 
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