News & Events – Family History

The Morrison Family Story – February 2019

Joining the Family History group of the Leigh Estuary U3A has been a wonderful opportunity to listen to stories and share with like minded people. I had been researching many years for myself, family and friends.  My whole search had been based on finding my roots, my father’s identity unknown came as a blank line on my birth certificate. The only clues I had  were scant to say the least, a sailor in WW2 on the Atlantic runs, one of his parents were Irish and he was in his late thirties.

A few years ago, more for fun and curiosity I took a DNA test with Ancestry, a company I had been a member of for some time. I had no thoughts of making connections with other people as I was unsure of how the process worked, however when the results were sent to me there included a list of over two hundred other cousins from around the world. This was even more fun so my daughters, cousins and my Auntie from my maternal family all had theirs tested. A couple of years passed and I was contacted by a fourth cousin in the States, connected it seemed by our Irish ancestry. This was indeed a light bulb moment, the matches only contained connections to myself and my daughters, not my maternal Auntie and cousins. This unknown cousin was indeed part of my paternal family, a step closer to the tantalising blank line.

Next came two first or second cousins, I felt both excited and nervous. The cousin in America had an extensive tree for me to see but none of the names had any meaning to me. I traced the first and seconds cousins heritage then wrote all the names I had on slips of white paper. I placed them out on my old table, they looked like sailing ships adrift on a sea of pine bringing me nearer to my destination. With bated breath I compared my little fleet with my cousins tree, they all fitted with an unexpected bonus. There looking out  from the screen was a photo of my fathers face, it was so unexpected but no mistake that I was his daughter. I felt changed by the experience, I knew my roots and had a sense of completeness and closure.

A trip in September to Kilroe in Cork found me at my Grandmother’s graveside With a simple bouquet of lavender from my cottage garden in Leigh,and a heartfelt message I marked my visit. In my hand was a photograph of the same grave sent from America, now I was there with her, a truly poignant moment.

My searches had also revealed ten siblings, I had arrived in between two marriages and sadly the three eldest had died.The seven remaining from the second were all alive however and with some trepidation of how my existence would be received, I wrote to my eldest brother’s widow. My nearest contact who only lives in Dartford. A phone call revealed my total acceptance and a long conversation the next day was full of questions, answers and laughter, after which she spent the whole day contacting other family members.

Christmas was rather special as I received a card saying “To our sister & family” I was amazed by their generosity, it could have been such a different outcome. The icing on the cake came as a message from my newly found nephew saying he had just had his DNA results back and I came up as his closest relative. This was the deciding proof if I ever had any doubt.

So the new year has arrived after this amazing journey and I have the pleasure of meeting my family at last.  So another story begins…………..

Christine Morrison.