Our club

I was very busy at this time with searching st john wort. The house in which Maureen’s two youngest children lived with their grandmother had just been renovated, and I was following in the family’s footsteps, doing the painting and decorating.

painting and decorating

By November 2000 things had quietened down a bit and I picked up the research file again. Should I bother writing to the hospital? I weighed it up in my mind. There might be a 100-year closure rule on Maureen’s records, but surely they were also Simone’s records. Perhaps she could have access to them. Deciding that all I had to lose was the price of a stamp, I gave the hospital a brief history and asked if Andrew’s name was in their records and if Simone could read them. The hospital’s legal department replied, saying that Andrew’s name was not in the records, and that my father was named as Maureen’s next-of-kin. However, the occupation, birth date and place of birth of Simone’s father were in the records. Andrew had been born on 7 January 1955, at Taunton, and he was a telecommunications engineer.

 hospital's legal department

At last, I had achieved a breakthrough. How many Andrews could have been born in Taunton on that day in 1955? Would Taunton Register Office co-operate? I wrote immediately and enclosed a cheque, saying if there was only one Andrew born on that date would they please send me the certificate. If there was more than one, would they let me know how many there were. The register office replied almost by return of post, enclosing one certificate and saying that there was one other. I sent off another cheque for the second certificate. I had one Andrew Matthew Jolly and one Andrew Christopher Lang.

Armed with this information, I went post haste to Brighton Local Studies Library (now Brighton History Centre) to look for a marriage on the General Register Office (GRO) index fiche of either of these Andrews to a Paula. I searched vainly through many years and thought that I was never going to find it, but suddenly there was the marriage I sought. In the quarter ending December 1981 Andrew C Lang had married Paula J Marshall in Taunton. No wonder I couldn’t find them in Bristol! I didn’t have time to check for the births of Aaron and Mathew as well, but I could do that later. I had found Andy’s surname, and that was all that mattered.


By now it was the week before Christmas. I framed the certificate and gave it to Simone on Christmas Day. Her reaction was brilliant. When she realised what the certificate was, the tears of joy just flowed. Simone then said that she would love to meet her father, but she also realised that any contact could jeopardise his marriage, if he was still married. After Christmas, Simone and I went back to the Brighton Local Studies Library and looked for the births of Aaron and Mathew. They were there in the GRO births indexes as well, one a year before the marriage and one shortly after. We carried on checking the birth indexes for a further 10 years to see if there were any more children, but could not find any. We also went through the marriage indexes up to and including 1997 to see if he had remarried in that time, but he had not. The Brighton Local Studies Library did not have the GRO indexes after 1997. Simone said that she would like to see the birth certificates of Aaron and Mathew, her half-brothers, so I sent for copies.


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