A Tribute To My Grandfather

One of the biggest achievements of my life was being able to tell my 93 year old Grandfather, George Lockett, who his biological father was.

George sadly passed away on 15 June 2013, aged 94 and 1 month, after developing pneumonia. Having survived the infection the previous year, this time his frail body just couldn’t recover.

Since his death, I’ve been filled not with sadness, but with a sense of celebration. I was starting to feel a little guilty about it until I realised that I wasn’t the only one grappling with this conundrum. Of course I will miss him, and I am sad that I won’t see him again, but he had such a great and fulfilling life surrounded by such a loving family that my mind decided to remember the life lived instead of the life lost.
*Although when the Bugler played the Last Post at his funeral, I bawled my eyes out. But who doesn’t cry upon hearing that?!

George didn’t believe in the afterlife, but he always said he hoped to be proven wrong, and in completing a little family deal we have going on regarding its existence, I could actually feel his hand stroking my hair during the moment of reflection in the middle of the service. After a few seconds of contemplating what it was, I understood and smiled.
My Uncle, a firm non-believer later recalled that he got a tap on the shoulder when there was no one around him.
Actually prior to this, he’d been on a plane flying to Perth for the funeral when a woman seated near him lent over and said “You’ve lost someone close to you, but they say they’re ok, they’re happy and they’re in a better place.”
Creepy!

The funeral was mentioned by many to be the best they’ve ever been to. I’d created a media presentation to be played during it and I was a little embarrassed when it received a very loud round of applause. I’m sure anyone outside would have been wondering what on earth was going on in there!

So for posterity, I uploaded it onto YouTube. If you watch it, I hope you enjoy it and make sure to turn the volume on! Makes it much more worthwhile!

Adoption Mystery Solved after 94 Years!

If you’ve been following my previous blog posts, then you’ll know all about my search for my Great Grandfather, so as you may have gathered from the title, I found him!

But for others I’ll recap.
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My Grandfather George was born at the end of World War 1 in 1919, being the result of a short lived romance between an English WAAC nurse, named Eva-Rose,  and an Australian soldier.
His mother desperately wanted to keep him but her family soon after, forced her into signing the adoption papers.

George’s new family immigrated to Australia where they eventually settled in Perth. He went on to marry a local girl and have four children of his own.

Having always known he was adopted, it wasn’t until he was in his 60’s that he decided to try and look for his birth mother.

Fortunately his mother’s name and address at the time of his birth were on his birth certificate and so they wrote to a local newspaper in the town, asking if anyone knew her to contact them.

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Eva-Rose saw the paper and wrote a letter to him and eventually they were reunited the following year when George and his wife flew to England. It was a very happy occasion and George always seemed to have a spring in his step from that moment on.

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George with his Mum and half-sister, 1986

But what of his father? Eva-Rose could only give us a name, ‘Jack Scott’ and said that he was in the Australian Army and came from Melbourne.
*Actually, when the story was relayed to me I was only told that he was from somewhere on the East Coast,  let this be a lesson not to trust the memories of older people! (Seriously, this small piece could have saved me 100’s of hours of research!)

Fast forward years and years of trawling army records and collating information in spreadsheets, when I decided to do a DNA test with 23andme.com as they provided a Relative Finder search. I figured this would be my only hope. Continue reading

One Giant Leap Closer…

Following on from my last post, just a quick update to mention how close I am to finding my Grandfather’s biological father.

I recently checked the relative finder feature on 23andme.com to find I had a new match… not just any new match, the closest one in the entire list of related matches! I think I actually stopped breathing in the moment when I saw it!

A potential 3rd to 4th cousin, he shares 0.59% DNA with my Grandfather on 3 segments. My previous closest match was 0.37% on 2 segments. 0.59% doesn’t sound like much but to put it into perspective, you lose roughly 50% of DNA for each generation you go back, while starting off with the 50% you receive from each parent. So it quickly diminishes. When looking at other relatives you then have to halve it again. It’s confusing but this table from FamilyTreeDNA shows how it works.

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My Grandfather’s Adoption

My Grandfather George, was born in 1919 at 77 Bridport Rd, a former Workhouse turned Military Hospital in Edmonton, London, seven months after the end of World War I.

His mother, Eva-Rose had been serving with the British Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps as a cook and nurse. She had met George’s father, an Australian soldier, the previous year whilst working at one of the War Rest Camp’s, most likely Folkestone Rest Camp, where soldiers would stay after fighting in France.

She later mentioned that she was engaged to the man who she knew as Jack Scott and that he lived in a rural area of eastern Australia.

George was named after his maternal grandfather who was not happy about the situation and it was a particularly stressful time for the family having also just lost his wife and the children’s mother, Sarah, who had recently died from tuberculosis only a few weeks earlier, leaving father George with six children under 18 and four others of adult age.

Continue reading