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Need a bit of advice!

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


brummiejan Report 1 Feb 2011 22:43

I (with ContraryMary's help, many thanks to her!) have recently tracked down a lady I believe to be my mother's cousin. She would be about 85 years old, and is living alone. Now, there was little point in doing so if I leave it at that, but I am feeling a bit nervous about writing to her. Silly perhaps, but now it comes to it I feel in need of a bit of friendly advice/support, as I guess there are others out there who have been in the same situation. I can see no offspring so it's her or no-one.


MarieCeleste Report 1 Feb 2011 22:53

Hi Jan, I know how you feel! I've recently found the whereabouts of a long lost auntie that I thought had died quite a few years ago. We've had no contact for about 40 years.

I've hummed and hah-ed about how to bridge that gap - thought about sending a Christmas card with a note but bottled it!

Why don't you write a nice letter explaining that you've been researching your family and it's given an indication that she may be a cousin of your mother (you don't necessarily have to say it's your mum, you could just give your mum's name) and ask her if you're on the right track.

If she lives on her own she'd probably be pleased at you making contact.

Good luck whatever you decide.



brummiejan Report 1 Feb 2011 23:02

Thanks so much M. What the heck! She might be pleased as her father (my grandfather's brother) lost touch with the rest of the family early on so she will know no-one from that side.

In fact the whole family got fragmented years ago, with almost none of the couins/2nd cousins being in touch until the last year or two. Of the seven siblings we have tracked down descendants of all but this one, and we are all in regular contact with each other. Most of us are having a big reunion in Canada in July! Not that it's of interest to you, sorry to be so boring.

I think i will send for one more cert to back up my research - just for reassurance as I know it's her really!

Thanks again for replying - wish me luck.

jan x


brummiejan Report 1 Feb 2011 23:15

Thanks for the advice, much appreciated. i suppose if she were younger I wouldn't hesitate. having said that, she's the same age as my mother who is pretty robust. She doesn't live far away either, maybe 40 minutes drive, but not holding my breath!
Will come back and tell you what happens if anything.


SylviaInCanada Report 2 Feb 2011 05:56


nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Good luck

I have a somewhat similar, yet different, problem.

We have just discovered that a very elderly (94) aunt by marriage has died ........... in late November / early December 2009

yes, I know!

She still lived in the UK, we had contact once a year at Christmas, but I heard nothing in 2009. So I asked Contrary Mary what she could find out ......... what she found set me on a hunt. The house had been sold in April last year.

Aunt had no children. We knew she had a "nephew" who helped her, but I have never in my life met anyone of her family, and she never actually said his name that I can remember. It was always "My nephew ....". I only knew he was from her side of the fmaily.

The only other relatives I have in this family who still live in England are my brother's widow, but she's 80, and lives in another town, and her daughters who live elsewhere as well.

Finally, one of my nieces wrote letters addressed to Occupant, and sent them to the 6 houses next to Aunt

One wouldn't phone niece, but got someone else to do it.

Niece emailed me with the information on Saturday ............ and I am mulling over what to do

We now know the christian name of the "nephew", but not his surname, the town he probably lives in, and a phone number for him

I would love to know exactly when my aunt died, and where she is buried.

But I am very hesitant about phoning this man ..... especially for fear that he might think I am after "inheritance" ............. it is possible that he has come in for a nice little sum, even if only from the sale of her house.

But I honestly have no interest in that.

There is the possibility of asking CM if she can find this man in the rolls, so that I could write him a letter

OR I could ask CM if she can find the name of the neighbour who wouldn't phone the neice, but was Aunt's close friend, to see what she knows.

so am continuing to mull over what to do!



brummiejan Report 2 Feb 2011 09:32

Hi Sylvia.

Well, you do have a complicated one there! Makes my dilemma seem very straightforward by comparison. Thanks for the encouragement.


Kay???? Report 2 Feb 2011 10:12

Do it and do it now,,I lost a very important chance by sitting on the fence just that bit too long..
You dont have to be too heavy,but theres every chance this lady would be delighted to get a hand written letter.


brummiejan Report 2 Feb 2011 10:58

Thanks Kay. Decided then - will go for it!
Appreciate the support folks.


TheLadyInRed Report 2 Feb 2011 21:26

Sylvia in Canada,
Presumably you know your aunt's surname and where in UK she lived? Have you tried finding the website of the local paper for that area and seeing if you can search the "Family Notices"?
I know that I can do it for my local paper and it would give you her date of death and possibly where funeral was taking place


SylviaInCanada Report 2 Feb 2011 22:09


that's how we started back in November, when I got the first real indication that she might have died.

Unfortunately, both her christian name and surname are very common in the area

My niece also tried ...... and tried contacting every hospital and care home in the area. She ended up producing a very general letter that she addresses to The Occupant, of the 6 neighbouring houses ... and this is what led to the contact.


Lynn Report 3 Feb 2011 10:48

Hi Jan

I realy hope you send your letter and contact your relative, good luck:))



SylviaInCanada Report 3 Feb 2011 17:19


Thanks for that

I am so sorry to hear your story. It's heartbreaking

Unfortunately, I've already been through this

My uncle was my mother's younger brother, and the last survivor of the family. Just as I am the last surviving member in this generation because my Mum was the only one to have children, and my only sibling died in 1990.

Uncle died suddenly in 1991. I left it about 6 months before I sent a letter to Aunt E at the end of which I said that I would be delighted to have any papers etc referring to his family . There had been other contact between us during those months, but I thought I was being gentle, and didn't want to upset her too much by asking too soon.

The reply??

"I burnt everything to do with the xxxxx family as I thought no-one would be interested."

That meant all documents, certificates, photographs, grandfather's WW1 medals ........... the list goes on.

I will make contact with her nephew.



Madmeg Report 4 Feb 2011 01:06

Hi Jan

You might also add something along the lines of "if you are unsure as to whether to reply to me or not, please ask a member of your family to do it for you". It might just add a bit of reassurance,


brummiejan Report 4 Feb 2011 08:43

Hello everyone. You have been busy! I think the message here is to act while there is time.
That's a good idea Madmeg, thanks.


SylviaInCanada Report 4 Feb 2011 19:50

Thanks to Contrary Mary, I now have the full names and addresses of the 2 people

Guess what I will be doing this weekend?!


brummiejan Report 4 Feb 2011 20:14

Let us know what happens Sylvia. Best of luck!
I have sent for the marriage cert which ill confirm 100% that i have the right person before I write so will be a couple of weeks before I take the plunge.


brummiejan Report 9 Feb 2011 23:48

Well, the cert arrived very promptly and no doubt it is her! Planning to compose my letter tomorrow, wish me luck.


Lynski Report 9 Feb 2011 23:58

Good luck!!


Madmeg Report 10 Feb 2011 00:14

Jan, I was musing over this, and wondered why your mother had not been in touch with her own cousin. Is there a reason? My mum only had one cousin, and she was an important lady to us. Why were you not in touch with your mum's cousin?

There are some sad stories in this thread.

So, Jan, here is the letter.
"Hiya Mary,

You won't remember me but your Mam (do Brummies use Mam?) and mine were cousins. My mam's dad Joe and your mam's dad Fred were brothers,. That makes us cousins.

I don' remember uncle Joe, but I do remember our Grandad John. He was a great fella, wasn'the?

And other such rubbish. Just to get contact if you can.

Sylvia, keep trying.



SylviaInCanada Report 10 Feb 2011 00:43

Good luck jan

as for me .................. I'm still mentally composing the letter

Hi Meg