History

Mystery of the vintage box of WWII letters found in Roseville has been solved

Connie Hall of Roseville came in to claim the vintage box and its contents around noon Friday, said Roseville police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther.
Connie Hall of Roseville came in to claim the vintage box and its contents around noon Friday, said Roseville police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther. Roseville Police Department

After 11 days of searching by the Roseville Police Department, the owner of a vintage box of family memorabilia has been found.

Connie Hall of Roseville came in to claim the box and its contents around noon Friday, said Roseville police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther.

“It was a small box and so I hadn’t seen those items,” Hall said. “It was very cool.”

“It was fun,” Gunther said. “She started sorting through the box ... and telling stories about the family.”

Hall told Roseville police she had been cleaning out a storage shed when she accidentally put the box of family memories in the discard pile.

Someone apparently retrieved it from the garbage, and it was found by a city worker at an abandoned homeless camp a half-mile from her house. Luckily, it was clean and dry.

The ivory-colored box held about 30 letters from the 1920s to the ’70s, along with photos, wedding clippings and birth announcements, according to police. “There are a bunch of letters from (World War II), including days before and after Pearl Harbor,” Gunther told The Bee on Dec. 12.

Three names came up frequently in the correspondence: Dr. Alstrup Nordahl, James Baldwin Johnson and Hilda Johnson, a nurse. Genealogical research showed the family had roots in Yreka, Calif., Oregon and Washington.

After the Police Department posted the case to Facebook, historians and extended family members on the West Coast jumped in to help with the search. It was finally brought to Hall’s attention by family members who saw the Facebook post.

“Finally the mystery was solved, and we found out the owner was right in our backyard,” Roseville police said.

“For those of you who have mapped the Johnson family tree and feel like you know them well, Connie is Hilda Johnson’s great niece on her mother’s side.”

Hall said Friday that she’s still getting through the box’s items.

“I saw some cool correspondence – war letters – I want to read more closely,” she said. “I’m copying everything for family.”

Kalin Kipling: 916-321-1634, @Kalin_Kipling

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