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Making worldwide connections

KINGSTON — While the Kingston Historical Society is working hard to create a database of information for generations to come, members never thought their work would be so significant for family a continent away.

The organization received a letter in October 2005 from Mary Elizabeth Nixon and her daughter Jill Power, both of Australia, inquiring about any available information on Nixon’s birth mother, Florence Hughes.

Nixon, 90, found out four years ago that she had been put up for adoption when she was a baby and traced a connection to her birth mother to Kingston.

When longtime Kingston resident Lucille Weisenberger was given the letter, “I read it and almost fell off my chair because it was such a shock,” she said.

Hughes was a neighbor of the Weisenbergers on Ohio Avenue and a good friend of the family.

Nixon first heard of her adoption at age 86 after she reviewed a copy of her family tree and found the word “adopted” printed next to her name. There had been clues over the years, but Nixon didn’t suspect anything.

The Australian family’s search included locating a Shelton woman who used to work with Hughes. The woman told Power how Nixon had been put up for adoption, Wiesenberger said.

“Now she knows all about it,” Weisenberger added.

Nixon was born in Victoria, British Columbia on Aug. 21, 1915, but Hughes couldn’t take care of her, so she put the baby up for adoption and eventually moved to Kingston. She married Archie Hughes and lived on Ohio Avenue. They had one daughter, Patricia Hughes, who died before her parents did. The elder Hugheses died around 1970, Weisenberger said.

Power visited Kingston last summer and purchased the book, “The Little City by the Sea,” a recount of Kingston’s history, written in 1990 by Harold Osborne. The book contains a picture of Patricia Hughes as a child.

However, it wasn’t until fall 2005 that Power made contact with the historical society and Weisenberger. Since then, the two women have been communicating and sending packages to each other. Weisenberger sent photos and other mementos she had found in her home, such as when Hughes threw a party and Weisenberger took photos. Weisenberger found the pictures, made copies and sent them to Nixon.

“They never would have found her had it not been for us,” Weisenberger said.

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