The Search for My Abandoned Grandmother

The Search for My Abandoned Grandmother

A genealogical journey uncovers secret love stories and family mysteries.

Author: Mary Ames Mitchell
Publisher: Peach Plum Press, San Rafael, California
ISBN Paperback: 978-0-9850530-1-7
ISBN eBook: 978-0-9850530-3-1
Genre: Personal History / Memoir
Pages: 352 including 71 photographs and family charts

Purchasing Information

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In this genealogical detective story, Mary Ames Mitchell travels from San Francisco to England and Scotland to search for her maternal grandmother Eileen Maude’s grave. Mary also wants to find out what horrible thing happened to her own mother, Betty May, who was eight when Eileen Maude died in 1933, and fourteen in 1939, when World War II broke out and Mary’s American grandfather, Pryns, shuttled Mary’s future mother to live in California..

Mary’s grandparents, Eileen and Pryns, divorced in 1930, when Betty May was five. Both Eileen Maude and Pryns remarried soon after. When Eileen Maude died three years later, Pryns sent Betty May to boarding school. She spent holidays and weekends with her stepfather because Pryns’ jealous and manipulative new wife didn’t want memories of the first wife prancing around. Decades later, Betty May would refer to her stepfather as a pedophile, but she would not divulge to her daughter, Mary, the details of why. Mary grew up believing that her scholarly and preoccupied grandfather—spellbound by his second wife—meant to deny Eileen Maude’s existence. Then Mary uncovered a scrapbook and learned that Pryns secretly archived treasured keepsakes and love poems from his first wife. Oddly, when Mary’s mother learned about the scrapbook, she had it destroyed. Frustrated, Mary sought out her grandfather’s journals from 1921 to 1933— the period between her grandparent’s marriage and her grandmother’s death. The journals described the happy years of courtship and frustrations of the relationship, however details about Eileen’s untimely death were mysteriously clipped out. “What secret is my family hiding?” Mary wanted to know. “Why doesn’t my mother know where her mother died and where she was buried.”

In The Search for My Abandoned Grandmother, Mary weaves her grandfather’s moving personal narrative of his life with Eileen, as told through his journals, with her compelling six-year search for the whereabouts of her grandmother’s remains. She tenderly unraveles spiritual insights and truths about social obligation, personal integrity, and family love.

Interior of the Purple Cow House




The Search for My Abandoned Grandmother

Eileen Maude and Betty May 1921

Pryns Hopkins writing, about 1921