Kim Cattrall's hunt for her grandfather on "Who do you Think you are" mirrored my own hunt for my grandfather.Frank Judson Hildreth who left Mary, Bruce and Jerry about 1926-27. He changed his name to Peter Gilmor, left New York state and went to work in Detroit. Mary and Frank had only been married about 3 years when he left her with two toddlers. My grandmother Mary never remarried.
My hunt began in earnest after my father, Bruce, died in 1990. I didn't want to meet him, particularly, but just wanted to know about his life. The Social Security Death Index showed that he died in 1991--AFTER my father died--but it didn't give the state where he died. About 10 years ago, I was checking Ancestry.com, yet again, and found he had died in Manatee County, Florida. It was a short hunt to find his obituary and contact his survivors. Voila! I found his second family, Keith and Larry Hildreth. Not only that, I met Keith and his wife in Florida and he gave me more information about Frank "Pete", including a couple of pictures about him. Keith and Larry and I are still in touch.
Frank Judson "Pete" was born 9 Feb 1899 in Elmira to Frank Judson Hildreth, Sr. and Myrta Nichols and died 24 September 1991. Before Frank met Mary he enlisted in the army in World War I on May 8, 1917 at the age of 18. He was discharged September 26, 1919. His record stated he was 5 feet 7 ¼ inches tall with light brown hair and blue eyes. Helen Tobey Burr, Mary’s sister, remembers that he was very handsome and was an accomplished pianist. In later life he was a painter, eventually moved to Florida where he died.
I may never know why he left the family, but I know this chapter is closed for me. It is interesting that some of us want to know more about our missing grandfathers. I have helped several others find their own grandfathers who abandoned the family. I guess it's our "need to know" the end of the story.