Tracking down the long lost family tree of Ewha’s founder was spearheaded by Ellen Swanson, an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor who taught in Korea for four years.
As the 100th anniversary of Scranton’s death approached, Swanson’s research was accelerated with the support of Ewha beginning this January.
Swanson’s intereste in the Scranton family occurred coincidently in 1997 when her ESL students presented her a book on Korean history as a gift. “I was surprised to find in the book a name that I was very familiar with,” said Swanson. The name was Scranton.
Swanson is from the state of Connecticut of the United States. “There, the name Scranton is very famous, appearing in public signs and landmarks everywhere,” she said.
Later, it turned out the Scrantons of Connecticut and Mary Scranton were actually relatives, descendents of the two sons of John Scranton, the grandfather of Mary Scranton.
“One day after I received the book from my students, I was talking to a librarian at Ewha and I got to know more about Mary Scranton,” said Swanson. “I found her life and achievements very interesting and started doing research on her.”
In 2007, Sally Gale received a phone call back at her home in Canada from a stranger asking whether she was a descendent of Mary Scranton. This was the first contact Swanson made after locating one of the 4th generation descendents of the founder of Ewha. “It was amazing to meet Ellen, who had such a passion towards our family and who had even more knowledge of our family than anyone else,” said Gale.
Locating the first descendent of Scranton was especially difficult since William B. Scranton, Mary Scranton’s son, had four daughters and the family name Scranton had disappeared as the ladies got married. But Kevin Gale, the husband of Sally Gale, had posted a family tree on the Internet site called Ancestry.com to keep track of his family lineage. Ellen Swanson was able to locate the Scrantons through this site.
By January, Swanson had reported on her works to Ewha, which started funding her research. “We organized a committee solely dealing with the research on Madame Scranton,” said President Lee, who herself had written a book on Mary Scranton. “With the help of Ms. Swanson’s study, we were able to gain more information through several churches near Ewha that were influenced by Scranton’s early missionary work.”
“Mary Scranton is my hero,” said Swanson. “However, so little is known about her in the America. So I want to bring back the spirit of Mary Scranton to U.S. and let people know what she has done.”