When my grandpa was one, his mother died and his father couldn’t cope with 5 children so he put them into a home. My grandpa was too young, so he lived with the neighbours until they couldn’t care for him anymore and he also went into a home, but a different home. They were all made wards of the state.
He grew up not knowing any of his family. My mum and aunties tried doing searches when he was in his early 70s but had no luck. He didn’t want them looking because he thought if his brothers and sister never looked for him, it meant they hated him and he was the reason they got put into homes.
Then one day he appeared at the table with his birth certificate which even my grandma had no idea existed. So at 16, I wrote down the names and went to the electoral office to search their records and wrote down every name that matched up and also the address.
That afternoon I went on to phone book and searched all the addresses and wrote down the matching phone numbers. I had about 60 odd names and numbers. I then told mum I would call some and start crossing them off the list.
I called the first one and remember the conversation to this day. I asked if I could speak to the man and his wife asked me why. I said I was wanting to track my family history. She said later that normally she would have said no, but something in my voice made her let me speak to him.
I asked him a few questions – how old he was, his parents names and then I asked his siblings names. He rattled them off and got stuck on the last so I said my grandpas name and he said yes. I said I am his granddaughter and he was so shocked and could hear the emotion in his voice and asked if he was still alive and if he’d had a good life.
I could then hear his wife fussing in the background saying let me speak to her let me speak to her. She was crying and asking a ton of questions. I asked about the siblings and 3 out of the 4 were still alive. They said they searched for years for him but never had any luck. I said I’d pass the number onto my grandpa.
I told my mum when she got home and it was the first time I’d seen her sob. She rang her sisters and told them and they all cried too. They were afraid how my grandpa would react. So my mum called him and he tried not to show much emotion but my grandma said you could see how happy he was – she was crying too.
After 80 years they were reunited, they all met up with many tears. My grandpa would then refer to “my brother” or “my sister” and you could tell how happy he was. They got a few years together before they passed away. My grandpas brother’s wife is still alive and every year I send her a card and an update of what we are doing. – Emma ❤