Siblings united: Sisters meet for first time in their 60s


A 22-year search for a sibling she had never met concluded with a happy ending for a Reddington woman.

Hilda Morgan, 62, met her sister, Elizabeth “Betsy” Blocker, 60, of Davenport, Iowa, for the first time this winter at an Illinois restaurant halfway between their homes.

A Kentucky native who moved to Bartholomew County when she was a teen, Morgan has long known she was adopted, but it wasn’t until the past four years that all of the pieces of her past — including the identity of her only surviving biological sibling — began to fall into place.

Born in Kolbermoor, Germany, in July 1955, Morgan was adopted from an orphanage the following year by Joe and Joan Walkos, who lived near Cumberland, Kentucky, in an arrangement made by Catholic Charities of New York.

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A few years after Morgan’s arrival in America, the New York organization contacted the Walkoses to inform them the girl’s birth mother was pregnant again (with Blocker) and ask if they would be interested in adopting a second child.

But since Joan was pregnant at that time with her own child, the couple declined.

The move from Kentucky to Bartholomew County occurred when Morgan was a teen. She graduated in 1973 from Columbus North High School, married Hauser High School graduate Richard Morgan in 1978, had two daughters and one son and eventually moved near Reddington, located near the Bartholomew-Jackson County line.

The search begins

It was shortly after Joe Walkos’ death that Morgan began trying to track down her biological family 22 years ago, but Catholic Charities refused to provide any details she was seeking in 1996, both sisters said.

All Morgan found out through other available sources was that her mother’s name was Anna Aicher, and her father, a much older man, was named Karl, according to her daughter, Whitney Morgan King of Chicago.

While in her 50s, Morgan told her family she felt destined to die without ever meeting her biological family, Blocker said. It was the tears she shed over that feeling that prompted her daughters to take action.

In 2011, Morgan’s other daughter, Ellarey Morgan, wrote on an message board that her mother was looking for the daughter of Anna Aicher. The post produced no results for years.

Three years later, King hired a German researcher to uncover information about Morgan’s birth family in Germany.

After a few months of research, King learned that:

  • Her mother’s mother, Anna Aicher, had died at age 44. She had never married, and her death appeared to have been linked with alcoholism.
  • Her mother’s father, Karl, had died in the 1970s.
  • Her mother had two siblings, an older brother named Engelbert Plankl and a younger sister named Monika Aicher.

Engelbert Plankl was living in Rosenheim, located in the Upper Bavarian Alps of southeast Germany. Other surviving family members included an aunt and several cousins.

The family members in Germany were delighted to be connected with their American relative, and a number of emails were exchanged for a few months. In fact, the Morgan family began to arrange a trip to meet the German side of their clan in June 2016.

But sadly, Morgan received an email from her brother’s wife, Manuela Plankl, informing her that Engelbert had recently died due to complications from a heart attack.

“My mom was devastated, knowing that we had found him after 60 years apart, only to have missed the chance to meet him,” King wrote in a blog post.

Despite the brother’s death, the Morgan family still made the trip to Germany to establish new relationships that they maintain to this day.


What inevitably resulted in the meeting of the sisters is when Ellarey Morgan’s original message board was updated to include the name Monika Aicher.

That was the name that Blocker’s daughter, Danielle Blocker Hines, placed into a search engine in November while attempting to track down the health history of her mother’s biological family prior to her wedding.

The search brought up the message board, and the link between the two sisters was finally made.

Hines was initially hesitant about informing her mother she had a sister living five hours away in south central Indiana, Betsy Blocker said.

So she contacted Morgan first and obtained her permission to tell Blocker the news and provide contact information.

When Hines called her mother to ask if she could come over to talk, Blocker said she was shopping. But Hines insisted on waiting until her mother was sitting down at home before breaking the news.

As her daughter suspected, the revelation did place Blocker into a state of shock, the mother said.

“I thought I was an only child, so I wasn’t looking for her like she was looking for me,” Blocker said. “At first, I just thought, ‘How do you start a relationship with a sister when you are 60?’”

Other relatives, including her husband, Ray Blocker, expressed skepticism that the women were sisters, Betsy Blocker said.

But after the sisters used Facetime for their first communication, which enabled them to both see and talk to each other, neither could deny the family resemblance.

“We look an awful lot alike,” Morgan said.

“Some people think we’re twins,” Blocker said.

The sisters also discovered that their two daughters, Danielle and Ellarey, also bear a striking resemblance to one another.

During their first meeting Dec. 9 in Champaign, Illinois, the sisters learned they were married the same year, have two daughters exactly the same age and have husbands with mustaches, similar personalities and blue-collar careers, Betsy Blocker said.

“It’s kind of like a Hallmark Channel movie,” she said.

While Betsy Blocker may not have been searching for Hilda Morgan, the two sisters now talk for hours each Sunday over the telephone, both said.

“I’m seeing this more and more like an opportunity and a blessing,” Blocker said. “Although we just met, I’m feel I now have someone who understands me more that most other people.”

A second meeting that involved more family members from both Iowa and Indiana was last month at King’s home in Chicago, but the family reunions are just getting started.

Ray and Betsy Blocker are planning a trip to visit Richard and Hilda Morgan’s home near Reddington in April.

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“Although we just met, I’m feel I now have someone who understands me more that most other people.”

— Betsy Blocker on learning that she had a sister at age 60


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