Together again -- Brothers reunited after 66 years

Friday, September 16, 2005
Separated for 66 years, brothers John Brennan, left, and Joseph Bounds catch up on some family history during a recent reunion in Stratton. Brennan, 80, and Bounds, 71, were adopted by different families in 1939, and by using the Internet, were finally reunited. (Holly Kennedy/Courtesy Photo)

Perseverance does pay off, at least in the case of John Brennan of Stratton. Brennan, 80, was recently reunited with his brother after a 66-year separation, when he and his siblings were adopted out separately in 1939. Buoyed by this successful reunion, family members are now trying to locate the two youngest sisters, who were three and seven years old when Brennan last saw them.

Brennan was 14 when he and five of his siblings were placed in a Denver adoption home, while three additional siblings stayed with relatives in Iowa. Within a month, most of them had found families, with Brennan finding a home in Akron, Colo. His younger brother Edward, who was four at the time, was adopted by the Bounds family and raised in Colorado Springs, Colo. as Joseph Bounds.

Brennan kept in contact with his parents, an older sister and three siblings in Iowa, but had no idea what happened to the rest of his brothers and sisters. Throughout the ensuing years Brennan made several attempts to search for his relatives but kept hitting road blocks, said Mary Brennan, his daughter. In the 1970s, contact was made with one brother, Conrad, who has since passed away.

At his surprise 80th birthday party this year, Brennan still expressed a wish to find his youngest brother Edward, nicknamed "Sonny boy" by his brothers and sisters. Holly Kennedy of Indianola, who was previously married to one of John's sons, started a search that night, using various genealogy web sites on the internet. Within two days, a contact was made.

"People used to search for their family history for years without luck," said Kennedy, and were frequently stymied by red tape and sealed records. She recommended a genealogy web site hosted by the the Church of Latter Day Saints as being indispensable, as well as and

A family friend of the Bounds family had posted a message three months previously, searching for informati aon about Edward Brennan Jr. E-mails quickly bounced back and forth for a day or so between Kennedy and the family friend, verifying information, until all the dates matched up. Kennedy learned that Edward, now 71, had been renamed Joseph Bounds and was living in Eloy, Ariz.

Two weeks ago, a reunion was finally realized. Bounds and his family, along with several relatives from Iowa, met in Stratton at Brennan's home. Family photographs were shared with Bounds, who had no recollection of what his biological parents or sisters looked like. Phone numbers and family histories were also exchanged between the families.

Brennan and Bounds are the only known surviving members of their family, said Mary Brennan, and are keeping in contact by phone. Both brothers share a wish to find their youngest sisters, Elizabeth (Betty) Lou Brennan, born Aug. 28, 1932 in Calhoun County, Iowa, and Lucy Marie Brennan, born June 26, 1936 in Bent County, Colo. It is not known if they were adopted together or separately.

"Dad's waiting will have paid off," said Mary Brennan, if the two sisters are eventually located. "All the loose ends would finally be tied up."

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