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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Genealogist Comes to Aid of Katrina Survivor

From the San Antonio (Tex.) Express-News:

Genealogy buff finds elderly Katrina survivor's kin

Web Posted: 09/10/2005 12:00 AM CDT

Cindy Tumiel
Express-News Staff Writer

A San Antonio genealogy buff who "just had to do something to help," used her computer to track down the family of Ada Roppolo, a New Orleans nursing home resident evacuated to San Antonio last weekend with no medical records or history.

"I did it as a good Samaritan with hopes that God will bless me," said Barbara Harrell, who has been researching family trees for 35 years. "These people are in such dire straits and this lady looked so pretty."

Harrell read about Roppolo in Thursday's Express-News, which reported on how the elderly woman was airlifted to San Antonio last weekend with no identification aside from a yellowing wristband. That ID bracelet, it turns out, misspelled her name as Roppola.

But Harrell figured it out as she did her online detective work, which led her to Roppolo's nephew, David E. Duthu in St. Rose, La., about 20 miles west of New Orleans.

[snip]

A few hours of searching led to Roppolo's maiden name, Dermady, and to obituaries that had been published in the New Orleans Times-Picayune listing the names of her relatives. Harrell was able to find a phone number for Duthu and called him to let him know his aunt was safe in San Antonio.

[snip]

[Read the whole story]

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