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The British Newspaper Archive

British Newspaper Archive

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Long Lost Family - 28th April 2011

Published on 28 Apr 2011 17:00 : long lost family tv : 0 comments : 4725 views

The second programme of Long Lost Family on Thursday 28th April was incredibly emotional from beginning to end. 

Wayne Rogers a 32 year old soldier from Nottinghamshire discovered at 15 that the man he called Dad wasn’t his biological father.  He’d always felt there was a hole and the innocent slip from his Uncle brought a sense of relief to him.  He knew it was painful for his Mum to talk about so the information he had about his Dad was minimal.  Wayne had tried for 17 years to find his dad, Shaun Freeman without success. 

Shaun was in a relationship with Wayne’s Mum in the 70’s, and when news of the pregnancy came to light Shaun was told to stay away, cease contact and forget about the baby.  He saw Wayne for about two minutes in the street when he was six months old, but that was it.  Shaun worked abroad for most of his life but never forgot about his son.  Working abroad meant that he was difficult to trace, and wasn’t appearing on the electoral rolls.

Wayne knew that Shaun came from a family of five brothers and his parents owned a fish and chip shop in Nottinghamshire.  Using the birth records and electoral rolls, a Harold and Thelma Freeman were discovered, and they had a son, called Shaun.  Shaun and Wayne had an emotional reunion in Newsted, Nottinghamshire where Shaun and Wayne had grown up.  Shaun is immensely proud of his son as he has followed the familial heritage of serving in the forces.

Wayne’s search for Shaun was difficult because there are various spellings of both Shaun and Freeman.  The details he knew about the rest of the family enabled research into the birth, marriage and electoral roles to find success.  Genes has fully indexed birth and marriage records which can help in your searches, and it’s worth searching for other family members, even distant relations to trace back to the relation you are looking for.

Debbie Eades had made the incredibly painful decision to have her son adopted when he was less than one years old.  She worked tirelessly with Social Services to ensure he was placed with a loving and suitable family but has always been haunted by her loss. Debbie was full of questions and wanted to know that her son, who she named David was happy, well and wasn’t angry with her for what she had to do 26 years ago.  She’d spent a decade looking for her son without success.   Donna and Gerry Sledge were an American couple who adopted David, and moved back to America where David’s name was changed through the adoption process to Jonathon.

At fourteen Donna had given Jonathan a letter that Debbie had written to him.  For ten years Jonathan had been searching for Debbie without success, but Debbie had remarried and changed her name.  Jonathon also had questions that needed answering and was excited about the prospect of meeting Debbie.  Through a specialist intermediary, who is able to help in adoption cases, Jonathon and Debbie were reunited near the hospital where Jonathan was born.  Jonathon’s adoptive family were incredibly supportive and excited about meeting his biological Mum, and the families are now in contact and looking forward to visiting each other across the pond.

Relations that have been adopted are difficult to trace, especially as in some cases names have been changed.  Through working with a specialist adoption intermediary service lost family members can be traced, but the journey as with any reunions can be very emotional. 

In response to member feedback, Genes have created a special ‘Finding Living relations’ message board which enables you to post any details you have about living relations you are looking to find.  As in the case of Wayne, put as much as you know, be that about other members of the family that may be connected to your lost relation as all the little details do help.  Our members are incredibly helpful, and will send any direct responses to your posts to your inbox within Genes.  You can see the new message board here: Finding Living Relations.

We’re really looking forward to hearing the stories next week as Mum is reunited with her son, and a sister reunited with her brother after fifty years apart.