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With a Little Help from My Friends

My husband’s grandma was talking to my husband one day when it was mentioned that I was never to research her side of the family. This threw us and we couldn’t understand why!

cert jen
“There was no father recorded.”

My husband said that he wanted me to research it but not to tell anyone, as he had the family middle name and we had called our son this so wanted to know where it had come from and any information about it I could find.

I set to it, writing down what we both knew from what Grandma had already said, and I decided to ring my husband’s mum and ask her what she could remember and she told us something slightly different, which confused us.

I decided that instead of listening to other people and assuming, I would buy certificates from the beginning, starting with Grandma’s birth. One of Family Tree Forum’s original members, Olde Crone Holden, told me how to order a certificate, which I did and it came through very quickly. Previously I had only been scratching away at the surface of my research, by inputting into the search box of online databases, names which I already knew from what I’d been told.

When the certificate arrived, the name of the mother was totally different to all the stories I’d heard and there was no father recorded. I told my husband who was thrown, that I had possibly found the reason why Grandma didn’t want me to look at that side of the family.

With the mother’s name, a few lovely FTF members then told me what to do next, which was ordering her mother’s birth certificate… and the lady who Grandma had always told us was her mother was in fact her grandmother.

My husband decided to confide in his mum again, knowing that she wouldn’t say anything because she didn’t see that side of the family anymore due to divorce. She said she could remember something being mentioned behind closed doors when she was younger, that she was never to find out that she was adopted by her grandparents due to her real mum having an illness which meant she couldn’t care for her.

baptism top2
“She came back to me with a baptism.”

I was frustrated that there was no father mentioned and had more help from FTF members trying to find a baptism and who was living in that area or in the house at that time, all to no avail. Everybody helping had drawn a blank and we decided that it was just going to be one of those things that was never going to be solved.

After doing some searching on Ancestry, I found a family tree which had a lot of the names I knew. So I viewed it, and wow they actually had a photo of Grandma’s birth mother! I showed this to my mother-in-law and she said, “Oh yeah that’s Grandma’s mum!”. And there were other photos of the grandmother she called ‘Mum’, along with siblings who were in fact uncles and aunts.

However, I didn’t contact the tree holder as I’d been specifically told not to research this family, so I didn’t want anyone to know that I had been doing so, but I was amazed at my find.

A few weeks ago I had a brainstorm whilst going through all my family tree papers for this side of the family and thought that I was missing the baptism details, but then remembered I never did find them after all. After a few emails, I found a really helpful lady at the archives in Cornwall who said that she would not give in until she found answers for me. I told her everything I knew and she came back to me with a baptism. When I got the email through I thought it was great to have a date, but didn’t think for a moment that it would show the father’s name which I had so been hoping for… but it did actually name both her biological parents!

It just goes to show that sometimes when you give in, it is worth going back over what you do know after a while with a fresh pair of eyes. I am so happy I have found him and cannot thank the people on Family Tree Forum enough for the help they gave me, especially to Olde Crone Holden for all her patience in helping me to learn how to research my family.


© jennie 2010