Family bid to trace footsteps of pioneer
IN 1882 her great grandfather went west in pursuit of the American dream.
Now, 125 years on, Elaine Wortley is following in Levi Smith's pioneering footsteps to hunt for answers to a family history mystery.
Genealogy enthusiast Mrs Wortley, 56, has been tracing her family tree for the last two-and-a-half years.
The former social worker, of Golcar, has successfully unearthed a host of information about ancestors as far back as the 1700s.
But Levi's story remains a mystery.
He left Longwood for Fowler, Indiana, in 1882 and stayed in the States when his wife and children returned to Huddersfield in 1890.
The last anyone heard, Levi had joined the Klondike gold rush of the 1890s.
What happened next is shrouded in mystery.
Mrs Wortley, who sets off on her fact-finding mission later this year, said: "There's no record of his death, he just seems to have disappeared, but hopefully I might meet some people who can give me some clues.
"It has become a bit of a quest, because I have solved every other part of the puzzle, but with this I feel like I have hit a brick wall
"The big hope is that I can untangle the mystery and put it to bed."
Mrs Wortley, who used the www.ancestry.co.uk genealogy website to start her search, will attend a genealogy conference in Indiana as part of a road trip across the US with a professional genealogist.
She hopes to meet up with distant relatives on the way.
She said: "Tracing your family history is something that fuels your imagination.
"You start off thinking you are just going to find out about your ancestors, but you discover so much about the way people lived their lives."
Ancestry.co.uk managing director Simon Harper said: "Every family has an interesting story to tell and those who take time to look into their past will inevitably learn more about themselves in the process."
Anyone with any information can contact Mrs Wortley by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org