VERSAILLES — Angie Minnich of Versailles started the search for her father five years ago.
She learned of his name at the age of 16 from her mother and began sending letters out to all of the Michael Ivan Robinsons the Texas area.
“I had a friend who had access to the Army data base and he gave me all the addresses for that name,” Minnich said. “I mailed out 13 letters. I knew he was from Texas, so I concentrated on that area.”
On Easter Sunday this year, Minnich got some news.
“My aunt, my father’s sister-in-law, notified me on March 27 and she told me he died March 12,” Minnich said. “They had found the letter I had sent him, and, by some miracle, they found me on Facebook.”
It was then that Minnich immediately began corresponding with her aunt and uncle, the latter who had set up a memorial service for the biological father.
“About that same time, I was going through my paperwork and found one of the five letters that was sent back to me with return addresses, and I had the feeling in my gut to try again,” recalled Minnich, who didn’t get that mission accomplished.
Over Memorial Day weekend, she and husband Jeff flew down to Texas to meet her “new siblings,” six in all and attend the memorial service on Saturday in Eastland, Texas.
“He was cremated and we, collectively, had to decide what to do with the ashes, and we had them put in the Veterans Memorial in Texas.
One of her brothers, Stan from Branson, Missouri, is a minister and officiated at the memorial service
“He started the service off with a quote from Genesis about spreading your seed, and my new-found brother said he [their father] took it to heart, and all of us laughed,” she said.
She learned down there that her father, who had been married eight times, had told his first and fourth wives about Minnich, who is Robinson’s second oldest child.
“But they thought I lived in Germany, where I was born,” Minnich said. “He had a total of 10 children, three who were adopted.”
Minnich said she was told that her mother was engaged to Robinson and, after she informed him she was pregnant, he told her he had a family back in the States which no doubt put an end to that relationship.
Minnich’s new aunt and uncle put her in contact with other relatives via Faceback before the trip was made to Texas.
Before making that trip, Minnich sent them a copy of her birth certificate and it stated he was stationed in Germany in 1961.
“They [the siblings] all knew him but me,” Minnich said. “He was with none of them for very long. Naturally, I wish I could have gotten to know him. I was disappointed, but there was the excitement of having another family out there.”
She went on, “He was a genius and pretty well could do anything. He was a real good looking guy…a ladies man. He always had another woman. He worked in oil wells for awhile after the service. He was in the Army.”
Minnich said she was anxious and nervous about meeting her new family because she didn’t know how she would be accepted.
But, she had nothing to fear.
Most of the siblings live in Texas, while Stan lives in Branson and Minnich, of course, lives in the Versailles area.
“We all stay in contact,” Minnich said. “My aunt made us a family tree which went back to the 1850s, and gave each of us kids a disc. We plan to get together once a year. We might do that next year in Branson.”
Minnich dreams of one big reunion with the three brothers she grew up with and their families joined by all the new found family members. She herself has two children, 13 grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
“You wouldn’t believe all the aunts and uncles I met,” she said. “And, I have a huge family in Germany, but that is hard to get to.”
Minnich said her husband was supportive through all of this.
“He was happy I found my biological father,” said Minnich, 1980 graduate of Mississinawa Valley High School.
Has all of this changed Minnich’s life?
“It brought closure,” she said. “I always felt another part of me was out there with other brothers and sisters. My search started because I wanted to know medical history for my children and grandchildren. That’s where my thyroid condition came from. My dad died of heart disease.”
Yes, she’s glad she took that big step.
“It was so much to take in and so much yet to learn,” she said. “He had to see my letter, because he kept it. But he never contacted me.”