Curiosity got the better of me

Going back to my roots. What led members of FTF to start tracing their ancestry.

I started researching my family history because my Mum had a half brother she had never met. From an old newspaper clipping she had she told me he served on the first Ark Royal aircraft carrier in WW2. Last year there was a programme on the carrier, where they’d rediscovered the wreck, Mum was sitting with me and just said “my brother was on it”.

I got intrigued, found GR and tentatively started to hunt. Through a lot of support and laughs from many anonymous angels I began to piece together his details. I hunted through every death register until I finally found his death in 1982. I can’t tell you how much I wept. Mum is an only child from her father’s second marriage and has always been lonely without siblings. I never knew this man but grieved for him and the relationship that he and Mum never had. I sent off for his death certificate only to discover that the informant was his son!

Thanks again to all those here and on GR I found an address in the electoral rolls and wrote a very cautious letter to the most likely name. Of the 50 names that could’ve been right I’d hit the jackpot. They knew nothing of our existence and I hope this is the beginning of a new relationship for Mum who has now a half-niece and nephew she never knew she had.

Last weekend we met the half-niece for the first time and watched her play in an orchestra that evening. Magic really does happen through this hobby and I can’t thank everyone enough who’s ever extended their advice, time and support. It has been and will continue to be treasured by myself and our family.

Many Ns Tree

© Many Ns Tree

I started researching 8 years ago, after my father-in-law moved into a residential home. My husband and I had the task of emptying his house and sorting through his belongings etc. We came across some photos I’d never seen before and when we took them to him, he told me that they were of my grandfather.

My husband is my first cousin and my father in law was also my uncle. He married my father’s sister, so my husband and I share grandparents. Up to that point I didn’t know the name or anything about my grandfather, but curiosity got the better of me and I started to do some research.

Later my father in law mentioned that he didn’t know anything about his father other than that he was in the Navy (he had a photo) and that he died when he was 11 weeks old. Did I think that I could find anything out about him and his family?

Well I managed to find out loads and got his family back to the 1600’s, with the help of many contacts. I printed all of the information out and presented it to him in book form. He was amazed at what I’d found, and there were tears in his eyes when he read about the father he never knew. He thanked me and said that I’d made his day. That really made all of my hard work worthwhile.

Wendy Pusey

© Wendy Pusey 2007

I began my research the day my father died.

A week earlier he’d suddenly told me and my mum that he had six paternal aunts. We’d only ever known about two. One of these was Aunt May, who had lived in Cullercoats near Whitley Bay, but they’d never had much to do with her ‘because she was a bit queer’.

On the day Dad died, we had a phone call from his cousin, offering his condolences. He said that he’d been about to get in touch anyway. ‘Poor dear Cousin Dorothy’, Aunt May’s spinster daughter had met with a tragic end a little while before and he’d been sorting out her estate. Arrangements had been finalised and as one of Dorothy’s 30 plus surviving cousins, Dad would have been due a small bequest.

Well, there was a mystery. As well as Aunt May who was ‘queer’, there’d also been poor Dorothy who’d met a tragic end. Who on earth were all of these cousins, of whom about half were now deceased?

I wanted to know – wouldn’t you? That was twenty years ago – I still don’t know about all of these cousins, however I’ve found out about a large extended family who have their roots in Norfolk in the 1600s.

Janet in Yorkshire

© Janet in Yorkshire 2007