Following the death of Jean, who she was always brought up to believe was her mother, Martine learnt something astonishing on the eve of the funeral. She was staying at her brother-in-law's house and he had just returned from visiting his wife (Martine's sister) at the nursing home where she now lives permanently. He told her that he had something he must tell her and it was then that she found out that her sister was in fact her real mother and that it was ‘grandmother’ who was being buried the next day. Martine was naturally very shocked. He went on to tell her that when her ‘sister’ - Georgina - was young, she had dated an American from the local air force base and become pregnant. She was allowed to keep Martine in the family only if Martine was brought up by her grandmother as being her own.
Georgina is now terminally ill with Huntingdon’s Disease so communication with her is somewhat restrictive. However, Martine was given some limited information. She knew her father’s first name, possibly what his surname was, his approximate age, where he came from in the States, and his profession. During the following six months she tried to find out as much as she could from other members of her family but they either couldn’t, or wouldn’t remember anything useful. She obtained a copy of her original Birth Certificate and although it did not state a name for her father it did confirm where she had been born. It was in a Catholic nursing home for “unfortunate young girls pregnant out of wedlock”. Although the home closed several years ago, their records were being held by the Catholic Children’s Society and on Martine's last trip back to England in November she paid them a visit and they gave her a copy of her birth register entry. There it was … his full name! His surname was nothing like she had been told, so the moral here is always get some documentary proof and don’t believe everything you are told!
On her return home to Dallas, Texas, she went through the on-line telephone directories and found an exact name match for her father, in Florida. Thankfully he had an unusual name which helped the search. A couple of days later she plucked up the courage to call the number and after a carefully rehearsed speech the man on the other end said, “Oh my gosh, yes, I know who you are”. He was really pleased to hear from Martine as he had been searching for her since she was born, but as her family moved several times it proved impossible for him. Every time he returned to England, he would try to find her again.
Anyway, a few phone calls later and after receiving welcoming emails from his sister, and his two daughters, Martine finally went to Florida on December 27th to meet him for the first time. It was a lovely visit – everyone made her feel so welcome. He even bought Martine a blue topaz pendant “to match her eyes” a gift she will always treasure. They are now trying to organize their next visit. Martine has yet to meet his daughters who live in California, but that visit is being planned for the Spring.
From start to finish her search took about 11½ months and considering what little information she had to start with, she feels extremely blessed to have found him so quickly.
Martine would say to all other people still searching:-
Never give up hope
Don’t always believe everything you are told and
Go all the way back to your starting point.
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