Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you
Paul Simon
Thanks to Gary Cliser for creating this video for me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G is for Gaulthair

Imagine at age 13 you are told that you are not the biological child. Imagine you are told that your "real" mother is Lydia Gaulthair and you father is Ramon Montoya.

You look at your parents with a blank stare and ask them to repeat what they just said. That's what my husband did when they told him.

Fast forward 30 some years. Gary asks me to see if I can find his missing parents. It's not like we haven't already tried to get information from his mother. She tells him Ramon Montoya was a one-legged Mexican man nicknamed Stumpy, and he took the other two children and fled to Mexico. We know there was another child after Gary who disappeared. We know, in fact, Lydia had 13 children but we don't know where to start looking. We have one picture. It is labeled Francie and Ricky. Gary thinks that's wrong because the little boy looks like him.

Ricky and Francie
I am good at genealogy and have been working on my family for years so I stop what I'm doing and start on his.

We do know that Lydia was the first cousin of his mother. By looking at Ancestry, I find two kids showing their mother as a Lida Gaulthair but have no way to verify it. I find another child who has passed away listing the mother as Lydia Gaulthair. I finally find a death record for Lydia which appears to be the same person. Dead ends everywhere I turn.

In desperation, I add another line to my tree listing Gary as a Montoya and the mother as Lydia. Not holding out much hope, who could possible be on Ancestry looking for the same person?


Wow, beyond shocked we have an answer. They don't know it yet but they have contacted their missing brother. The cousin, Esther, is also shocked when I tell her. Ricky and Francie are no longer just a picture. They are very real people.
Gary, Frances and Rick
And since this is a really long story, here are the highlights. Ramon Montoya is not Mexican and has never been to Mexico. Stumpy is a nickname for another of Lydia's men and we found two more children with him. No one is missing a leg and everyone involved with Lydia lied. The three original children I found have been verified and except for the one who passed away, all the seven known kids have become family and we talk to them all the time. Lydia gave all of these children away and never looked back. Some went to foster care, one to an orphanage, and some were left with family.

We have five kids to go. We think some are Garcia. So I'm posting a picture of Lydia in hopes the remaining siblings can be found.

Lida Mae Gaulthair or Lydia Mary Gaulthair, born September 30, 1925, in La Farge, Wisconsin. Died March 18, 2002, in Dallas, Texas. Lived in Wisconsin, California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. First child born in 1941, last known child born in 1960.


  1. The adult siblings have such a strong resemblance. You know when you find the others what they will look like. This is great the seven have been reconnected and you know some truth.

  2. Wow! What a great story and to find the siblings and more information. Why would Lydia keep having kids? There were ways to stop before becoming pregnant. This does not mean that the grown children are not wonderful to have here on Earth but she was hardly what one would call a mom. Of course I am jumping to conclusions and hope people have answers as to why she gave all up for adoption. I hope it was due to money issues and thinking of the children first. I hope you find more. I recall, when I was 14 years old, I was watching "Airport". My mom was so worried since my dad was gone all day and it was after 9pm. Finally he came in grinning from ear to ear. When she asked where he was He said "I went to see my daughter!" I thought he was talking about me and was confused. It came out that he had a daughter with another woman, way before he met my mom, in 1948. He asked the woman to marry him but she turned him down and left the child with her mom. For 2 years my dad made sure she had everything. One day he came with a big stuffed bear, he said, and he found the grandmother weeping on the stoop. She said that her daughter had adopted my dad's daughter out. My dad had no say and could not find out anything more. In 1978 my half sister contacted my dad and the rest is history. She did contact her biological mom but she still was not interested. My dad was there all the way through until he died. I now have a sister:)

  3. Birgit, that's a great story too. Lydia didn't care about using birth control and she didn't care about the children she left behind.