Looking For Family Members
Looking for family members lead me to FinderMonkey and On the 23rd August 2013, thanks to FinderMonkey my mother Marian Rose Officer spoke to her younger brother Michael William Johnson for the first time in approximately 78 years. She also talked at length to her elder brother’s son Michael.
The last time Marian and her brothers Robert and Michael were together we believe was the summer of 1935.
The story we have been told is that her father had taken his sons out for the day when they returned home they found that their sister Marian was missing. They were subsequently told by their mother, that Marian had been taken by the nanny and they had gone to live in Australia. Over the years both of Marian’s parents – Edith and Robert (who were now separated) - tried in vain to find her.
Marian grew up happily with Marie Greenhill (Matthews) and two other young brothers who Marie was also looking after. Marian has always referred affectionately to them as her “brothers”. It wasn’t until in 1982 when Marian had to apply for a copy of her birth certificate in order to apply for a passport. When the birth certificate arrived Marian told me that she had something to tell me, she said that my “Nan” (Marie Greenhill) wasn’t a blood relation, and that she had two brothers. Robert and Michael who she had not seen since she was 4½.
I started looking for my grandparents around 1986 but without today’s technology I soon gave up. In 2001, I briefly looked again, but it was not until the summer of 2008 that I joined Genes Reunited slowly piecing together Marian’s family tree. In July 2013 while on holiday with my family in Australia I decided that I was going to give it one last try to find my mother’s brothers but I needed help.
I typed a search into my computer: “how to find lost living relatives”. FinderMonkey was one of the results, I emailed them with all the information that I had for Michael. I received an email from FinderMonkey with a possible match and they sent me the details how to go about contacting the match.
I wrote to Michael Johnson on the 12th August. On the 14th August Michael called me with lots of questions about Marian. He was very nervous about this actually being his lost sister. I then spoke with Michael’s daughter Jocelyn and we discussed the stories that my mum had told me about her dad. Over the next few days it became obvious to Jocelyn and I that Michael was indeed my mum’s brother. Jocelyn and I exchanged photos then on the 23rd August 2013 after a family meal I told my mum that I had found her an extremely nice young man who would love her to call him!
I then started to show her photos of her father and Michael. At this point, as she was looking at the photos, I said “that is your brother and he is waiting for your call”.
On the 26th September 2013 we went to London to meet Michael. Marian also met Michael’s two daughters and her elder brother’s son Michael. It was at this meeting that her brother Michael said “You do know that mum had four more sons with her second husband, Harry Lawton?” They were named Billy, Christopher, Graham, & Harry. I then made contact with Christopher, Graham and Harry. Billy had however had sadly passed away as an infant.
Marian has now rediscovered a wonderful and loving family. Our meeting with Marian’s brothers and their families has been truly amazing. Harry also reunited Marian with her original extremely worn birth certificate.
We will never know why Robert, Marian & Michael were separated all that time ago, but had my Grandmother Edith not made the incredibly hard decision to follow her heart and leave her husband Robert for Harry Lawton the man she loved this story would have had a completely different ending.
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