Genes Reunited Blog
Welcome to the new Genes Reunited blog!
- We regularly add blogs covering a variety of topics. You can add your own comments at the bottom.
- The Genes Reunited Team will be writing blogs and keeping you up to date with changes happening on the site.
- In the future we hope to have guest bloggers that will be able to give you tips and advice as to how to trace your family history.
- The blogs will have various privacy settings, so that you can choose who you share your blog with.
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It’s always wonderful to hear back from our members about the marvellous discoveries they’ve made using Genes Reunited. Derek Cawser’s story is a fabulous inspiration for those who’ve believed they lost a part of their family forever, and a great example of family ties overcoming time and distance.
My mother Alice Lillian died 1987, leaving only a sister. Both of her parents and two older sisters had all died by the time she was 21, and as her last remaining sister Gwendoline married and moved to Shrewsbury, we never got to see them much. When Gwenny died in December 2005 I realised we’d never known anything about my mother’s side of the family.
My daughter has always been interested in the family tree, so she and I decided to see what we could find out. We were already members of Genes Reunited because we had been researching my Dad’s side of the family. We typed in the name Norcott, my mother’s maiden name, and a few results came up. There was a Gertrude, a Leonard, a Lily and a Victor Joseph, but none of them meant anything at the time.
Then I found amongst my mountain of paper work that built up over time, a list of names that my mom had written. Her aunts and uncles were listed on there, and one of the names was Leonard, which matched our earlier search. It was so exciting! We sent a message between Christmas 2005 and the New Year. I checked every day for the next few days but there was nothing, then one night I checked before going to bed and there was a reply!
It was from a Leonard Norcott who lived in Australia. He explained that he was born in Birmingham but had emigrated in the 1960s, and added that one of his biggest regrets was that he never got to say goodbye to his two cousins, who he said were like sisters to him. He said they’d lost contact - he, Lily and Gwen. By that point the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up - he was talking about my mother, who went by her middle name of Lily, and my aunt Gwen!
As soon as I finished reading his message I replied with the news that I was Lily’s son. Unfortunately I also had to tell him that she’d passed away. The following morning I received a very long message from Leonard - I could actually hear the emotion in his words. It was very touching, and he also filled me in on a few more of the family details. This was the first of many messages that went between us, and led to Leonard travelling over to England for a reunion. While he was here we arranged a surprise birthday party for him, to which we invited my Aunt Gwen’s children, along with two other cousins we had found in the meantime. One was a descendant of Victor Joseph Norcott, who lived just six miles away, and the other named Victor who was a descendant of Lily, who lived even closer.
This was the beginning of a wonderful journey of getting to know more about my family and meeting people who months earlier I would have walked past in the street. We’re now in regular contact with them, and in later years we have found even more family all over the world.