It was never going to be easy finding the identity of my grandmother’s adopted sister, as I had very little information to go on. Initially all I had to go on was the first name Minnie and the adopted sister relationship.
Of course the term “adopted sister” is suitably vague enough to mean just about anything, was it an official adoption? Was she actually related in some way? Perhaps a cousin? Perhaps she was a half-sister or step-sister?
There were too many possibilities, but my only real hope would be that somewhere there would be a record of my grandmother and Minnie living together or going to the same school, that would give me a clue to her surname (which of course might not be the name her birth was registered under).
The fact that her name was Minnie might not seem particularly helpful, assuming that this was her real name and not a nickname. At least it is a relatively unusual name which always helps when you don’t have much else to go on, but more importantly it was a family name.
My grandmother’s mother was Minnie Driver and my grandmother also had an aunt on her father’s side of the family by the name of Minnie Hemsley. This hinted at a family connection, but of course there were no likely Minnie Drivers or Minnie Hemsleys that seemed to fit the idea of being around my grandmother’s age.
That raises another issue, just how old was Minnie? Was she a younger or older sister? Natural sisters can be born years apart and presumably adopted sisters (whatever that means) could be born even further apart.
So in short there were virtually no hard facts to go on, but slowly a few more “facts” came to light.