Genes Reunited Blog

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Welcome to the new Genes Reunited blog!

  • We regularly add blogs covering a variety of topics. You can add your own comments at the bottom.
  • The Genes Reunited Team will be writing blogs and keeping you up to date with changes happening on the site.
  • In the future we hope to have guest bloggers that will be able to give you tips and advice as to how to trace your family history.
  • The blogs will have various privacy settings, so that you can choose who you share your blog with.

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It’s always wonderful to hear back from our members about the marvellous discoveries they’ve made using Genes Reunited. Derek Cawser’s story is a fabulous inspiration for those who’ve believed they lost a part of their family forever, and a great example of family ties overcoming time and distance.


My mother Alice Lillian died 1987, leaving only a sister. Both of her parents and two older sisters had all died by the time she was 21, and as her last remaining sister Gwendoline married and moved to Shrewsbury, we never got to see them much. When Gwenny died in December 2005 I realised we’d never known anything about my mother’s side of the family.


My daughter has always been interested in the family tree, so she and I decided to see what we could find out. We were already members of Genes Reunited because we had been researching my Dad’s side of the family. We typed in the name Norcott, my mother’s maiden name, and a few results came up. There was a Gertrude, a Leonard, a Lily and a Victor Joseph, but none of them meant anything at the time.


Then I found amongst my mountain of paper work that built up over time, a list of names that my mom had written. Her aunts and uncles were listed on there, and one of the names was Leonard, which matched our earlier search. It was so exciting! We sent a message between Christmas 2005 and the New Year. I checked every day for the next few days but there was nothing, then one night I checked before going to bed and there was a reply!


It was from a Leonard Norcott who lived in Australia. He explained that he was born in Birmingham but had emigrated in the 1960s, and added that one of his biggest regrets was that he never got to say goodbye to his two cousins, who he said were like sisters to him. He said they’d lost contact - he, Lily and Gwen. By that point the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up - he was talking about my mother, who went by her middle name of Lily, and my aunt Gwen!


As soon as I finished reading his message I replied with the news that I was Lily’s son. Unfortunately I also had to tell him that she’d passed away. The following morning I received a very long message from Leonard - I could actually hear the emotion in his words. It was very touching, and he also filled me in on a few more of the family details. This was the first of many messages that went between us, and led to Leonard travelling over to England for a reunion. While he was here we arranged a surprise birthday party for him, to which we invited my Aunt Gwen’s children, along with two other cousins we had found in the meantime. One was a descendant of Victor Joseph Norcott, who lived just six miles away, and the other named Victor who was a descendant of Lily, who lived even closer.


This was the beginning of a wonderful journey of getting to know more about my family and meeting people who months earlier I would have walked past in the street. We’re now in regular contact with them, and in later years we have found even more family all over the world.


Yours thankfully,


Derek Cawser


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by Teddybear on 16 Apr 2015 12:16 : Report Abuse
It is a wonderful feeling when you finally knock the door down....and find your family waiting for you....a wonderful reconnection for everyone

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by Dorothy on 16 Apr 2015 16:34 : Report Abuse
That is a lovely story. Sometimes it is easy to get dispondant, when nothing seems to happen , then suddenly there is a connection. So very well done. I have a similar story, we knew little of my fathers family. His father was killed in WW1, Dad was 8 years old, after much research I found that his GrandFather was born in Ireland, so far , that is as far as I can get, although I have found Dad had many aunts & uncles he little of.
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by Ettie on 21 May 2015 13:59 : Report Abuse
My mother's , father's family was unknown until 2009 when I traced her father's sister and family in England with the help of Genes reuinited. The lovely thing was that for Mum's 90th birthday she received home made cards from 3, 2nd cousins in England whom she never knew existed. I have since been to England and met about 9 members of the family , I have seen and taken photos of the Coast Guards house in Ireland were William Campbell grew up (my grandfather ) and this last January one of the 2nd cousins actually came to stay with me and visited my 97 year old mother (Marjorie ) in her Nursing Home. Mum was just so happy as her father had passed away in 1933 and all her siblings have passed away so now for the first ime in her life she knows some cousins. Fancy having to wait until you are 97 to finally meet acousin for the first time. Thank you Genes Reunited.
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by Lornaborcardt on 21 Jun 2016 13:13 : Report Abuse
I was over the moon getting the information I was so desparetly trying to find about my ancestors. Although I am still searching for further info I am just delighted to know the info I had is now matched, thank you genesreunited. <3
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by Scott on 24 Jan 2023 12:42 : Report Abuse