Mark Twain’s mysterious Michigan ties

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) Some call him the father of American literature: Mark Twain. Many historians say Twain’s, whose real name was Samuel Clemens, bloodline ended when his granddaughter, Nina, passed away. But genealogist Deb Gosselin, of Ancestry Helper, believes otherwise.

Gosselin’s book, “The Twain Shall Meet: The Mysterious Legacy of Samuel L. Clemens’ Granddaughter, Nina Clemens Gabrilowitsch,” explores the possibility that Clemens has a surviving descendent. Gosselin started her journey by working on her family history. There was a legend in her family that she was a distant relative of Clemens, so she started tracking his descendents. That led her to Susan Bailey, who also claimed to be related to Clemens. Susan was raised by relatives, and did not know who her father and mother were. But she remembered spending time with Clara, Clemens’ daughter, and mother of Nina. Susan recognized that Nina bore a striking resemblance to Susan’s own grandson, Kyle.

It’s believed that Nina never had children, but Susan may actually be her biological daughter. Gosselin is still researching the bloodline, and a Twain collector is sending her some letters that Clara sealed to see if they can access her DNA from the envelope glue.

You can explore this fascinating tale by picking up Gosselin’s book, “The Twain Shall Meet,” which was co-written by Susan. It’s available online.

Gosselin can help you research your own family tree. Learn more about that on the Ancestry Helper website.

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