Barbara Duane Clark – Chapter 3

Merry Christmas! Sorry for the delay in publishing Chapter 3 of my Barbara Duane Clark story. As I mentioned in my last post, I started my new job on November 26 and I haven’t had the time nor energy to get back to the story. But, I’m happy to say the new job is going great and I’m really enjoying the new challenge. And although there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done that I still need to do, it’s Christmas… and everyone loves a happy ending, right? So, here’s hoping that this blog post will generate the information I need to finally find Mark and Jason’s biological mother. And THAT would be a wonderful Christmas present for everyone.

And now… the rest of the story.

After speaking with his newly-found half-brother, Jason Hoffman, Mark wrote back to me and mentioned he’d been on vacation to Tampa recently and had visited with a relative from his dad’s side. They spoke briefly about Mark’s mother, and that relative told him (from what he could remember) Barbara Clark’s parents had also lived in Tampa… not far from the Hillsborough River.

This was news to both of us, since Mark and I had both assumed Barbara Clark was from the Miami or Fort Lauderdale area. So, I decided to try one more search for Barbara Clark on the 1940 U.S. Census, this time centering on the Tampa area.

Bingo.

Using Mark’s new information, I found two year old Barbara Clark living with her parents at 4014 North Munroe Street… just three blocks from the Hillsborough River. From there, I was able to track down a shirt tail relative of Mark’s on his mother’s side. And guess what? Although that relative hadn’t seen Barbara in over 50 years, he did have a few photos to share of her!

By publishing these photos, our hope is that someone will recognize Barbara Duane Clark and have more information to share with us. Also, here are some other tidbits I picked up along the way that may prove helpful:

  • Sometime prior to 1994, Barbara Clark went by the name Barbara Hutcheson and was living at 5800 NE 6th Terrace in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Over the years, Barbara Clark may also have been known as Barbara Klemas, Barbara Carter, or Barbara King.
  • Jason Hoffman was adopted through the Methodist Children’s Home Society at 26645 West Six Mile Road in Redford, Michigan.

So, while the hunt continues for Mark and Jason’s biological mom, they would both like her to know they look forward to reuniting with her one day. Hopefully that day is sooner rather than later.

In the mean time, enjoy the photos, and Merry Christmas to all!

Barbara Duane Clark

Barbara as a young girl

Barbara Duane Clark

Barbara and friend

Barbara Duane Clark

School days – Gorrie Elementary School, Tampa, Florida

Barbara Duane Clark

Barbara’s 16th birthday

Barbara Duane Clark

Barbara, April 1959

Barbara Duane Clark

April 1959 – Barbara with a possible relative?

Barbara Duane Clark

Lying on the beach in Clearwater, Florida

Frances Benjamin Clark

Barbara’s mother, Frances Benjamin Clark

Read comments

Barbara Duane Clark – Chapter 2

Read this story from the beginning

Happy Holidays everyone! Hope you all enjoyed a restful and bountiful Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. We celebrated the holiday with my parents at the Christmas tree farm where they live (read my previous blog post – “The Thing I Have in Common with Taylor Swift“).

I have some other big news to share. On Monday, I’ll be starting a new position with Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. It’s an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, and I’m really looking forward to the new challenge. However, I do plan to continue writing in between the cracks of my life. Not sure what my next big project is, but I can feel something rumbling on the horizon. I’ll let you know once it comes more clearly into focus.

Now, onto the second chapter of my “Barbara Duane Clark” story. If you read my previous post, you know that back in January of 2011, I was contacted by someone named Mark Harmon who asked if I’d be interested in helping him find his birth mother. (If you need to catch up, read Chapter 1.) After many months of searching, I finally caught a break when I found a random reply to a CraigsList posting that Mark had made several months earlier. A man by the name of Jason Hoffman had replied to Mark’s post saying he, too, was searching for Barbara Duane Clark. In 1977, when Jason was just 7 years old, his mother (Barbara Duane Clark) had dropped him off at a Detroit police station saying she was no longer able to care for him.

Unfortunately for Mark, he never received Jason’s reply to the CraigsList post. And because Jason had left no contact information in his reply, Mark was unable to get in touch with him. For weeks, I searched for any “Jason Hoffmans” living in the Miami area (the location of the CraigsList posting), but was unsuccessful. The few I contacted who seemed to be the right age weren’t the correct Jason Hoffman.

Stumped. Again.

When I had finally hit my last brick wall, I asked Mark if I could share his story on my blog and “put it out there to the universe” to see if something might come up by publicizing the story. Mark agreed, so I started typing. As I typed, I suddenly noticed something… a clue I hadn’t noticed before. In my last post, I asked if anyone else had spotted the clue. I received a couple guesses… both wondering if it had something to do with the police station in Detroit. Nope, that wasn’t it.

Here’s the clue… it was in Jason’s reply to Mark’s CraigsList post:

Written By 99.166.96.251
Sat, 26 May 2012 07:10:46 GMT
Mark, I’m also looking for Barbara Duane Clark, My name is Jason Hoffman (former name, Jason Charles Williams) I had a different father, Charles A Williams, but I was born in 1969 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. My mother was Barbara Duane Clark, born in 1942.

Do you see it? Even though Jason hadn’t left any contact information, the search engine robot that had picked up Mark’s CraigsList ad had included one important little piece of information… the address of his web server. That number after “Written By” at the top of the post, 99.166.96.251, is an IP address. IP stands for “Internet Protocol” and is a unique string of numbers (separated by periods) that identifies each computer attached to the Internet. So, by doing a simple IP trace, I was able to determine that Jason Hoffman had replied to the post from a location in Marietta, Georgia. From there, it was a simple matter of looking up his phone number and giving him a call.

Bingo! It was the correct Jason Hoffman.

I immediately emailed Mark and gave him Jason’s phone number. The two of them talked and had similar stories to tell. (Interestingly, they are both even in the computer/IT business!) After they hung up, they were 99% certain they were, indeed, half brothers.

Mark

Mark Harmon with his wife, Belinda

Jason

Jason Hoffman

So, one problem solved, but the bigger question still remained. Where was Barbara Duane Clark? Unfortunately for both Mark and Jason, neither one had any photos of their mother to share with the other. That was disappointing news, since any adoptee is naturally curious to know if their biological birth parents resemble them in any way. Bummer. If only I could track down some photos of Barbara Clark to share with them…

Oh, but wait, I did!

Next time… Mark’s brief visit with an older relative leads to a wealth of new information.

Read comments

Barbara Duane Clark

Hi everyone,

If you’ve read my blog in the past, you know how much I love a good mystery. Well, if it seems my blog posts have been a little infrequent lately, it’s because I’ve been working “off the grid” on a different kind of mystery. It’s a personal story that didn’t really belong on the web, at least until now. I finally have some news to report, and along with that, I could really use your help to finally solve the mystery.

Here’s the story. Last January, I was contacted by someone named Mark Harmon from San Antonio, Texas who asked if I’d be interested in helping him find his birth mother. He gave me a bit of background information, and I said sure, I’d be willing to give it a whirl.

Mark was born October 2, 1964 in Miami, Florida. He has a younger brother, Wayne, who was born on the exact same date, two years later. Mark’s father was Wayne Keith Harmon, born May 10, 1920 in Chipley, Florida. Mark’s mother (according to his birth certificate) is Barbara Duane Clark, born June 24, 1942, somewhere in Florida (no city listed).

Sometime around May 1968, when Mark and his brother were approximately 3 and 1 respectively, there was some kind of falling-out between the boys’ parents. The family was living in Fort Lauderdale at the time, and rumor has it that Mark’s mother, Barbara, was caught having an affair. After some kind of physical altercation between Mark’s father and “the boyfriend,” Barbara Duane Clark left and was never heard from again.

Mark’s father died in 1985 when he was just 20 years old. When Mark decided to start searching for his birth mother, he was told that the man having the affair with his mother may have been his uncle’s stepson. (The uncle was Pharis Stafford Harmon, Mark’s father’s younger brother.) Mark figured if we could find the stepson, maybe we could find his mother.

The Stepson
In 1951, Pharis was married to a woman named Elizabeth Smith Miley in St. John’s County, Florida (near Jacksonville/St. Augustine). We believe that the two people standing with Pharis in the following picture may be Elizabeth and her son:

Pharis Stafford Harmon

I did a ton of research trying to find any information about Elizabeth Smith Miley, but unfortunately, I kept hitting dead ends. All I know for sure is that Pharis was re-married on November 26, 1968 to a woman named Esther Crayton Kuhlmann. So, I’m not sure if Pharis and his first wife divorced, or if Elizabeth died. I also don’t know for sure if “the stepson” belonged to Elizabeth or Esther. My hunch is that the child in the above black and white photo is Elizabeth and her son because most photos were in color by 1968.

A Possible Sibling
Mark also had reason to believe that he may have an older sibling. According to his birth certificate, under “Previous deliveries to mother,” it said “Living: 1” and “Fetal deaths: 2.” He wondered what had happened to that older sibling since there had been no sign or mention of him/her while they were growing up in Miami.

Another Possible Sibling – Jason Hoffman
Several months ago, Mark ran a classified ad on CraigsList in Miami. He didn’t receive a reply at that time, but later, I found his ad on a different site, ListOwn.com (apparently that site had just “picked up” the ad from CraigsList).

Here is a copy of Mark’s ad, along with two replies:

———

Looking for Barbara Duane Clark, My Mother

Sun, 04 Mar 2012 17:52:00 GMT
My name is Mark Louis Harmon and Im looking for my mother or any other lost relatives. I believe her maiden name was Barbara Duane Clark and she was born around 1942. My fathers name is Wayne Harmon and I have a brother named Keith. I had uncles named Bill, Pharis, and Neal. I was not quite three years old when I last saw my mother in 1967. I was born in 1964 and my brother in 1966. I believe my mother lives somewhere in the Broward County/Ft. Lauderdale area. All I know about my mother is a few stories and what is on my birth certificate. If anyone can help me get in touch with her or any of my other relatives, it would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Mark Harmon
Location: San Antonio, TX

Users Reply:
Written By 108.72.240.27
Wed, 23 May 2012 07:03:13 GMT
Just wanted to let you know that I know of another guy named Jason who was adopted when he was 11. He’s about 40 now. He’s been trying to find his mother as well by the name of Barbara Duane Clark. He had a different and older father. If you’d like, I’ll get his name/info and pass along to you. His memories of his mother is that he was dropped off at a police station in Detroit. Apparently he originally is from Florida.

Written By 99.166.96.251
Sat, 26 May 2012 07:10:46 GMT
Mark, I’m also looking for Barbara Duane Clark, My name is Jason Hoffman (former name, Jason Charles Williams) I had a different father, Charles A Williams, but I was born in 1969 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. My mother was Barbara Duane Clark, born in 1942.

——

As you can imagine, this was huge news! Mark and I realized if we could find Jason Hoffman, we might be able to get more clues to the story. Unfortunately, Mark never received Jason’s reply, and by the time I found the listing on ListOwn, the CraigsList post had already expired. With no contact information in the reply, I was kind of stumped. I tried looking for any “Jason Hoffmans” or “Charles A. Williams” living in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, but came up short. I tried calling a few random “Jason Hoffmans” that seemed to be about the right age, but no luck.

Another brick wall.

Then, something miraculous happened. A breakthrough. As I was writing this blog post a few weeks ago, I noticed a clue I hadn’t noticed before. There it was, in plain sight, and that little clue helped me find the real Jason Hoffman and reunite him with a half-brother he never knew he had. Yay! Success!

So… can you figure out what the clue was?

P.S. There’s much more to this story which I will continue to share in my next few blog posts. In case you’re wondering, I’m still trying to find Barbara Duane Clark, and with Mark and Jason’s permission, I’m publishing their story here on JoyTheCurious.com to help publicize the search. Our hope is that someone somewhere will be able to provide us with the clues we need to find Mark and Jason’s mother. If you have any information to share, please leave a comment, or email me directly at joy(at)joybaker.com.

Read next chapter

Read comments