The Moment I Knew - Linda Dooley's Story | The Armchair Genealogist
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The Moment I Knew - Linda Dooley's Story

In Mother’s Memory
Doris Jean Meyer nee Dollen
12 July 1927 – 8 September 2008
My desire to learn about my family tree took root in the year 2008. Having pondered for many years, I finally took the plunge and signed on to With high hopes, I registered for a World Membership. Linda Dooley was going to search the world for those unknown ancestors for just about one dollar a day!

Four weeks into my project, my mother was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Her cells were fast growing. She chose to undergo chemotherapy, which was not an easy path for my octogenarian mother. My genealogical finds entertained Mom throughout her battle with cancer.

Realizing that the window of opportunity was rapidly closing we began hearty discussions about our family. My mother and I poured over old photographs. These walks down memory lane comforted us both as I watched mother decline.

As I discovered bits of the past, I brought them to her sick bed. Here is an article detailing her Auntie Lou’s bridal shower. Reading it gave my mother a case of the giggles. We just loved the creative writing.

“A Surprise Shower For A June Bride”

April showers began in advance for June brides,
when last Friday night, Miss Lucille Dollen thought
she had said, “Number Please” for the last time,
that night, when suddenly a group of her associates
in the telephone office burst in upon her like rain out
of a summer cloud. Yes it was a pre-nuptial show,
a regular pour down, sure to bring the orange blossoms
in June, when Miss Dolllen is to be a bride.

From the office the merry party went to the home of
Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Meyer on State Road. There a
bountiful supper was served. A delicious mountain of cake
made by Mrs. Meyer, salads and all the choice dainties
young ladies enjoy. After answering a multitude of calls.

The color scheme in decorations was prettily carried
out in pink and green.

The game played was “Progressive Fifty”.
Miss Lorraine Ayer won first prized, the second
prize was won by Miss Eleanor Cronin.
Consolation, Miss Lucille Dollen.
These prizes which were kitchen utensils the winners
Gave to the guest of honor, Miss Dollen.
Miss Dollen is leaving her position soon for her home
at Des Plaines and plans to be married in June.

After that all calls over the line will receive a busy signal.”[1]

Throughout our discussions, Mom had one recurring question. She wanted to know what happened to her cousin, Leroy Dollen. “Had I found him?” she would ask. Yes, I thought I did but cared not to share that he had passed on. Well, she kept on asking and I kept replying, “Not yet, Mom.”
Leroy Dollen

My mother passed away on September 6, 2008. One week later, I discovered that someone had downloaded my entire tree on Who could possibly be interested in my tree? To my delight and surprise, they were the daughters of Leroy Dollen! My mother missed meeting them by just one week.

Almost four years have passed and I have become fast friends with my second cousins. We share genetics, family stories, research trips and are committed to gathering Dollen relatives wherever they may be. 

Chills run down my body, each time I read this post. I continue to be grateful for the gifts of my mother and her Dollen family.

I am blessed to have had that moment . . . The Moment I Knew . . . Genealogy had become my passion!
Linda Dooley and LeRoy Dollen's daughters:  Mary Leah Dollen Bergdahl and Elaine Dollen Clark

[1] “A Surprise Shower For A June Bride,” Cook County Herald, 1 April 1930, p. 2, col.3; digital image,  ( : accessed 27 September 2011).

Meet the Storyteller 
Linda Dooley 

Linda Dooley is a family historian with an itch to become a professional genealogist.

Her genealogical journey started with the gift of her paternal grandmother’s family Bible. This gift rested on a shelf for two long decades before Linda actually dove into genealogy. She is glad she did.

Linda is vice-president of her local genealogical society. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society, The New England Historic and Genealogical Society and BIGWILL (British Interest Group of Wisconsin and Illinois). She is also a graduate of Boston University’s Genealogical Research Certificate Program.

Linda and her husband have three grown children and five month-old puppy named Riley. In addition to genealogy, Linda enjoys reading, exercise, biking, knitting and traveling.

You may visit Linda at her blog: 1625 Lincoln Avenue 

If you would like to have your story published on the Armchair Genealogist for our feature The Moment I Knew, click Everyone Has a Story  for all the details.