While many Church members are accustomed to doing extensive family history research to locate information about deceased relatives and ancestors, three brothers spent nearly half a century looking for a living relative - their youngest brother.
Their search finally paid off. Jim Sherwood of the Lawrenceville (Ga.) Ward and his brother, Bill Sherwood of the South Jordan (Utah) 19th Ward, were united recently with their long-lost brother, who has been known nearly all his life as Art Binnie. Art never had a chance to meet another brother, Don, who died in 1983.The brothers were reunited after Jim placed the following ad in two newspapers in Seattle, Wash.:
Wish to locate my brother, Arthur S., born Oct. 7, 1930, in Black Diamond, Washington. Mother passed away after his birth. Believe he was raised by some good people named Binny? (not sure about spelling) Reward for information leading to a reunion. Contact J.R. Sherwood.
"Nothing we'd done up to that point had really worked," said Jim, 64. "But we kept hoping and refused to give up."
And the brothers' perseverance paid off. A woman who had gone to school with Art Binnie 30 years earlier saw the ad, and called him to ask if it pertained to him.
"The rest is history," said Bill, 66.
Art called Jim in Georgia and they worked out plans for their reunion, which took place in September. Art and Bill met Oct. 7, which was Art's 58th birthday.
"All my life I wondered how my brother had turned out," Jim said. "I wondered what kind of a person he was, what he was doing. Of course, I would have loved him no matter what, but it turned out he's a mighty fine man."
Tears were shed at Art's reunions with Jim and Bill, and he has since visited them a second time.
Stories about Art's separation from the rest of the family vary, and he himself didn't find out he was adopted until he was 12 years old. His adoptive parents have passed away.
"What we do know for sure is that my natural father, James, was a coal miner at Black Diamond, Wash., and that is where I was born," Art said. "My mother, Francis May, died some days after my birth."
The father took Art's three older brothers to Utah for their mother's funeral, but left Art with the Binnies in Washington. Although the family returned to Black Diamond, Art remained with the Binnies, who legally adopted him.
"Dad died when we were too young to be interested in information about our brother," said Bill. "Jim, Don and I tried to find our baby brother for years, but we never were able to track anything solid down."
After their father died, the three brothers were raised by their stepmother, Zina Peterson.
"There's no question that we're all brothers," reported Jim. "There are a lot of similarities."
Art agreed. "We're much more alike than I ever dreamed. Jim and I share interests in hunting and fishing. And Bill and I both play the guitar and have an interest in music.
"I'm feeling wonderful," he continued. "I've got a wonderful family that I never thought I'd meet, and I'm looking forward to getting to know them all better."