Friday, October 29, 2010

Without a Trace

I've mentioned before that my biological grandfather (Mom's dad) is somewhat of a mystery.  Supposedly he and my grandmother divorced when my mom was very young.  As the story goes, he was a bad guy, involved in organized crime.  I never met him.  Around the time I graduated from high school, Mom said she called the Los Angeles police department to check up on him.  She said they told her he was still actively being a bad guy.  She wouldn't elaborate, and that's the last I ever heard of him.

So if all this is true, how come I can't find anything about him online?  No birth record.  No death record.  No census records.  No marriage records.  No criminal record.  No military record, though he's wearing a uniform in this picture of him and my mom ...

Also missing?  My mom's birth certificate, which would have at least some information about him that I could track down.  He doesn't look like a bad guy.  But then this is the only picture of him that I know of. 

So, Mr. Frank Hermans... Who the heck are you?  And where and who did you come from?  Inquiring minds are at a loss...

While you're pondering that, go check out Sepia Saturday for loads of other vintage photos!


  1. A Mystery. Your Right, He doesnt look Mean.Sounds like he took too many wrong turns & Got Lost In Them.

  2. Wow that is a mystery. Maybe name change?

  3. Hmmmm a life of crime! It sure doesn't show in this picture, does it?

  4. bad guys look just like the rest of us. i like that "he was still actively being a bad guy."

  5. Paula, you didn't mention when he might have been born or whether you know if he's still alive or not. My first guess was that he went by an alias but that doesn't make sense if you mother called and asked about him by his real name and they knew him. My next thought was that perhaps he died, so I checked the SSDI at There is a Frank Hermans who was born 17 Jul 1907 and died August 1976 in Fontana, San Bernardino, CA. I'm guessing that this isn't your grandfather because this man who died would have been too old (because you said you are "30-something"). You could try searching newer newspapers online to see if you could find him.

    As others have said, he looks like a pleasant guy in the photo....

    I hope you can find out something about him. It's hard when he's such a recent not to know a thing!

  6. Nancy - I don't have dates for him, or locations, other than my mom was born in Los Angeles. I did find Frank Hermans from Fontana, which could be him. He'd have been 14 years older than my grandmother, which is a stretch, but possible. Dying in 1976 would mean that my mom lied her face off about checking up on him in 1989, but that certainly wouldn't have been the first time! I'm going to see if I can get a copy of her birth certificate for some help...