World War II letters found at Idaho antique mall returned to family

An Idaho woman who found a stack of World War II letters at an antique mall usec social media to reunite them with a family member — and found out she is distantly related to the family.

Zen Hanson, of Rigby, said she bought a bag of old documents from an antique mall in Idaho Falls and discovered some of the items were letters that she dubbed the “Aunt Ida Collection.”

“I found this bag full of what looked like letters and receipts and miscellaneous paperwork. I purchased it because I just love history and I love my own genealogy. I love learning about the past and people. I brought it home and just dug in,” Hansen told East Idaho News.

The letters were written to Ida Green, of St. Anthony, Idaho, by her nephews while they were serving in World War II. She said the stack also included letters written to Green from one of her nephews’ widow after he was killed in action.

Hanson posted photos of the letters to Facebook in the hopes of finding living relatives of Green, who died in the 1980s. She soon heard from Suzanne Bennett, a Newdale resident and Ida Green’s great-granddaughter.

“I am actually named after Ida. My first name is Ida Suzanne Bennett. She delivered me. She was actually a nurse in St. Anthony when I was born,” Bennett said.

Hanson met with Bennett to hand over the letters, and after talking for some time about the family’s history, they discovered Hanson actually is Bennett’s ninth cousin — on Green’s side of the family.

Hanson said other letters were included in the bag she bought and she still is searching for family members of the authors.