My Genealogy Story – Part 2 of 2

My Genealogy Story – Part 2 of 2

How I Traced my Missing Family

This is a continuation of the article on how I began the quest to discover my missing family. For those of you who missed the first part of this article. Here is the link.

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My mom Shireen Najib (1957-), me Nadiya (1985-) and my Nani Rosemary (1934-) on Eid in July 2014

In 2011, I had been living in London for almost four years, I hadn’t seen my Nani Rosemary even once during that time. I missed her terribly and wanted to buy her a present but nothing seemed to be good enough. Knowing she would be absolutely thrilled if I succeed, I felt the urge to search for Nani’s long lost relatives.
Rosemary collage My Nani Rosemary (1937-) with her mom Freda Dorothy May Young (1910-1957)
By this time it had been 50 years since she lost contact with all her cousins and relatives. Even then, my Nani was never able to forget her relations. There was hardly a day when she didn’t mention her parents, aunts and cousins. It is true that the family and cousins one grows up with can never be forgotten.

Rosemarys pedigree family tree

Pedigree view of my Nanis family tree on www.ancestry.co.uk

I secretly really hoped that one day I would find Nani’s long lost cousin Robin from whom she last heard in 1962 and see the excitement in her eyes before its too late. I looked it up on the internet and bought membership of the biggest family tree website in the UK called Ancestry. The monthly membership was a bit costly but I thought it would be worth it if I’m successful in my mission and that’s when I started my research. Every time the website matches a person from your family tree to a person in someone else’s, it makes a leaf on it. You are then led to that person’s tree to make sure it is the same person as yours.

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My Nani’s step grand father Walter Erymin Louis Mabert (1887-1961) and her grandmother Ethel Grace Smit (1886-1958)
 

I then messaged people who’s family trees entwined with mine and got in touch with so many strangers who turned out to be my relatives. Each one of these provided me with first hand information about their side on my family tree which I updated in mine. We all shared our trees with each other and exchanged the difference in information. With their help, my oldest ancestor Robert Forge has been traced back from 1580. This is definitely an achievement which wouldn’t have been possible without the membership and help from newly found relatives.

I paid the membership subscription for 2 months, and within that time, I put an effort day and night (after long office hours) in finding my lost relations so I could unsubscribe once achieving my goal. In this process I made so many friends and we are hoping one day we will have a family get together. The venue would be hard to decide as there are branches of my family tree in literally all continents of the world now. Through Ancestry website, I got in touch with a lot of valuable people who I will be talking about now.

Initially, I met Kate Rimmer who is my Nani’s maternal great grandmother’s sister’s grandson’s granddaughter. Basically her great great grandmother Frances Letitia Seaman (1843-1914) was the step sister of my great great great grandmother Margaret Agnes Seaman (1869-1944). She calculated that she and I are half fourth cousins once removed. I am not sure how that works out.
Keith Walter Young
Keith Walter Young (1944-)
During this process, I connected with Keith Walter Young (1944-) who is my Nani’s paternal uncle’s grandson and gave me more information on his side of the family. He has been an interesting find. Many of my distant relations like him have already worked on their family trees. He is the one who gave me the dates of death of my Nani’s Aunts and Uncles whom Nani was so fond of and never had any news since 1962. Of course they all had passed away.
Rosemarys Genealogy from her Dads side
We both were eager to share our trees with each other and thus connect the dots. He lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, has 3 kids and is a grandfather of four baby girls. When I told my Nani about finding him, she was so happy to know that he is her uncle Bertram Young (1881-1936) as known as her uncle Berty’s grandson. Keith and I have been friends since then and keep exchanging notes on our relatives.
Keith Walter Young tree A little glimpse of Keith’s line
 
I also exchanged notes with a guy named David Brothwood. His wife’s great grandfather Claudius Darlington Seaman (1850-) was the brother of my Nani’s great grandmother Margaret Agnes Seaman (1869-1944). David was intrigued to hear about our connection. He also invited me to his house at Chester UK where he resides.
 
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Valerie Schirru (1970-) with her family
Ruth Webb (mother is Ada Kilburn
During the process, my most important find is a beautiful and wonderful lady Valerie Schirru (1970-). She has two children and lives in Alberta, Canada. I messaged her on Ancestry saying that I can see that you are also interested in the same ancestors as I am. So we figured out how we are related. Valerie’s mother-in-law’s maternal grandmother Ada Kilburn (1884-1941) is my Nani’s maternal grandfather [Fred Kilburn (1872-1913)]s’ sister. In other words, Nani’s mother Freda Dorothy May Kilburn (1910-1957) was the first cousin of Valerie’s husbands grandmother Ruth Edna Figures (1920-2010 as shown on the right). I know it is confusing to understand these relations which is why making a family tree is so important. Because Nani’s mother only had one sibling, other than Robin, these are her closest cousins by relation.
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Ada Kilburn (1884-1941) (Nani’s grandfather Fred Kilburn’s sister)
 
Valerie and I have become good friends since then. She is also passionate about genealogy. She and her mother-in-law Marilynn Web (1941-) have been trying to find my ancestors for over 15 years. About ten years ago she finally found out that Gerald Young (1907-1983) and Dorothy Kilburn (1910-1957) had a daughter named Rosemary (1934-) but she had no more information. We were the only blanks in her family tree so she was enthusiastic to find out where my grandmother Rosemary was and how she was doing. She told me that she has been so excited ever since I got in touch with her as she finally knows about her missing family from India. 

Marilyn and David Shirru

David and Marilyn Shirru (Valerie’s husband and his mom)
She told me that her cousin Jim Dukes in Ontario, Canada has been on the hunt. Once Jim’s daughter even travelled all the way to India on a trip and tried to search in vain for relatives of Kilburns who might be alive as they knew there was a side of Kilburns left in India. Now they are all so happy and satisfied ever since they heard from me. I then sent Valerie pictures of my grand parents and her family was overjoyed to see them.
 
While we started discussing our family tree, I told her I have been looking for Nani’s missing cousin Robin Kilburn (1937-). She told us that she had also been looking for him for years and that she is excited to have found him recently. I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard that. It was like a dream come true, as I always had the dream to tell my Nani that I had found your long lost brother.
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Robin Frederick Charles in 1956 and 2014
I asked Valerie for Robin’s email address and emailed him instantly. I immediately got his reply and he was ecstatic to hear from me. We had so much to talk about. He said he couldn’t believe that I was Rosemary’s granddaughter. I wanted to know what happened after he left India and where had he been. He was also so curious and had assumed we all moved to Australia as Nani’s dad Gerald had moved there after partition. Robin didn’t know about Gerald’s death. He told me that he left India after 1953 and spent a couple of years in the UK and then moved to Canada, mostly in Vancouver BC and now its his 7th year in Puerto Vallata, Mexico.
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Robin Frederick Charles Kilburn (1937-)
 
Unfortunately Robin has never gotten married and has no children. That made me realize why it is important to get married and have kids so we continue our legacy. Otherwise a whole branch in the family tree is cut off. We would’ve had new cousins if he did have kids. Anyway, he was over the moon to hear about Rosemary being well and healthy.
Robert Frederick Chareles 1937 (2)
Robin Frederick Charles Kilburn (1937-)
 
I was so excited and couldn’t wait till Pakistan’s day time to call and let my Nani know that I had finally found Robin. When I told her the next day, she got so emotional. She told me that I had given her the best gift she could ever ask for. Nothing else in the world would give her this joy of finally finding her relatives. She had lost all her family after marriage so finally knowing about her relatives made her feel whole again. I told her that Robin is also really excited and is dying to hear from her.
 
Robin couldn’t wait to see Rosemary’s picture and she couldn’t either. Robin added me and my family on Facebook as well. My Nani obviously couldn’t recognize the man in the picture. Apparently 50 years change a persons appearance a lot but they both are pleased to know that they haven’t changed much from the inside. Robin and my mom speak to each other often too. She feels great to have got a new uncle whom she heard about all her life. My Nana is also happy to see the smile on his wife’s face. So, this has been the happy ending of my search. It has been nothing short of a miracle for our family.
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My grandfather Brigadier Malik Muhammad Sarfaraz Khan (1927-)
Fred Kilburn 1872 - 1913Valerie Shirru also sent me a ‘Kilburn Story’ document which has a brief summary of the siblings of my great grandfather Sergeant Major Fred Kilburn (1872-1918). The entire life of your close ancestors in the family tree is summarized in one paragraph. That has inspired me also (my next project!). Valerie and Keith are the ones who provided me with most of priceless information regarding my ancestors. I am so grateful to them for this. I am unable to put my excitement into words. Valerie and I love to plan our family get-together. We both are excited to fly to USA and meet up there on my next trip.

Rosemarys Genealogy from her Maternal grandfathers side

Thank you for stopping by. I will soon be sharing the most interesting facts I discovered about my family after my interest in the subject and also some of my personal thoughts regarding genealogy. I hope these articles can inspire you to look for your relatives. I know this hobby requires a lot of hard work, patience and perseverance but its definitely worth it. Once you start learning more about your ancestors and find lost relatives, there really is an amazing feeling of satisfaction which no retail therapy could provide.
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7 Replies to “My Genealogy Story – Part 2 of 2”

  1. Hello, nadiya. I have read your ” how I traced my missing family”. It's such an amazing story, and I'm so impressed by your constant efforts in finding your family roots and your language skills. My emotions had been ups and downs through the whole story. Especially when I read that you finally found your nani's cousin robin, my emotion hit the top roof. So glad that all your hard work had been paid off, and I'm so glad about the reunion between your nani and robin after 50 years. There is no any better gift that anyone could ever give her. This story shakes my values about family roots, and it also made me to rethink the values of marriage and having a family. It's an amazing story, thank you. 🙂 Regards, Zhanzhao Dong.

    1. Thank you so much for your detailed comment. Loved it! It was surely a wonderful time for my family when my nani heard about Robin.

  2. It's a such powerful story. It illustrates the true meaning about family. It brings the family relationship closer, especially to people like me, spending most of their life far away from my family. It is a great story��Zhanzhao Dong

  3. I am so impressed by how you've put everything together and the way you've worded things so nicely! It's inspired me to try and compile all of my info and photo's into something others can enjoy & make sense of! Thanks again for sharing such a treat!
    Valerie Schirru

  4. Hi Valerie. Its always lovely hearing your comments. You have been my inspiration in my Genealogy endeavors. I will tag you in my next post where I have talked about how your 'The Kilburn Story' article inspired me to start my Genealogy Journal. Thanks for your support. CAnt wait for the day we finally meet. Hugs.

  5. Dear All

    I have a full 'Seaman Family Genealogy' web site for the UK:

    http://www.seamanfamilygenealogy.info

    and would like to contribute to you the full family tree for your Seaman relatives. i.e., Claudius Darlington Seaman (1850-) was the brother of my Nani’s great grandmother Margaret Agnes Seaman (1869-1944. Claudius's father was William Seaman and Priscilla Walton – married 19 Nov 1847. Previous to that William was married to Mary Anne Murray

    William's parents were William Seaman and Abigail Bangay, I also have details of the generations before them.

    If you would like to contact me my contact details is on the 'CONTACT ME' section of my web site

    Regards

    Phil

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