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After 11 month search for family members, lost scrapbook returned to family

Posted at 7:00 PM, Dec 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-26 12:22:19-05

DENVER, Colo. — Contact Denver7 is about alerting the community to issues and trying to get problems resolved. In the best instances, that can happen in a matter of hours. In the case of a lost family heirloom, it took eleven months, and 8,000 miles, to be reconnected with its rightful owners.

“There’s years of history in here,” Cheryl Nowakowski said back in January, flipping through the pages of a packed scrapbook.

Nowakowski had bought the book at a thrift store years before, put it in a closet and forgot about it. Spring cleaning came, and she realized she couldn’t simply throw the book away without trying to find the rightful owner.

“Every single page is packed with history, and somebody put in a lot of time and effort into this,” Nowakowski said.

The book had belonged to an Elsie Dean. It contained hand written notes, cards, mementos and more. Nowakowski contacted Denver7, with the hope of finding the rightful owner.

“We had some swings and misses for sure,” Nowakowski said in early December, sitting in front of the book on her coffee table.

One of the people who saw the story of the book was Jim Holt. He helped Nowakowski with research, but didn’t get very far. The pair then called in the help of another friend, who worked at In a matter of months, they had a lead.

“She found Bruce,” Holt said.

Bruce is Bruce Dean, a distant relative of Elsie Dean. Unlike Elsie, Dean didn’t live in Fort Collins, or even in Colorado.

“He’s a firefighter in Australia. Queensland, Australia,” Nowakowski said.

Holt and Nowakowski put the book in the mail, and a few days and 8,000 miles later, it arrived with Dean.

“G’day there, my name’s Bruce and I’m here to tell you about an exciting story,” Dean said in a video holding the scrapbook.

“It’s heartwarming,” Nowakowski said.

“A sense of completion,” Holt added.

The scrapbook arrived just a few days before Christmas, almost eleven months exactly after Denver7’s original story.

“I’m looking forward to having a look through it and finding what’s inside,” Dean said. “It’s a very distant relation, but it’s found a home.”