When I started my involvement in this fascinating but totally abscorbing pastime, I had in reality left it too late.
My mother had demetia and I had absolutely no idea about her family at all. Armed with what I thought would be the best possible place to start, (her Marriage Certificate to my father in 1948, and her Birth Certificate from England), off I went with the certainty that it would be a piece of cake to track the family down.
How wrong I was!
Not only had she changed her name on the Certificates, but also the date of birth. She had always called herself Kathleen Edith Gurney, when in fact she was Edith Amy Kathleen, not born in 1919 as stated on Birth Certificate and Marriage Certificate, but 1909.
I feel that she considered herself to old to marry my father and therefore doctored the Certificates to appear younger. She could do that as she looked so much younger than the 39 years she actually was.
It took me many years to find the real Edith Amy and with that information, came many interesting details.
Mum had been married before, apparently to her greatest friend who not long after their marriage died from T.B.
According to a close friend, who fortunatley had written letters that I found when Mum died, she then joined the WAAF's as a Telephonist with the General Command in London and in 1942 in Kenya.
On her return to London she met and became engaged to a New Zealand Pilot, who went home at the end of the war, making arrangements for Mum to come out when she was discharged.
In 1947 she set sail for these beautiful shores with light and hope in her heart, only to find that he had already married in New Zealand.
All this information I found after she had become unaware of her surroundings and the people in it. She was 40 years old when she had me, her first chlld, no mean feat for a very petite rather naive English woman in a strange country.
Although I had always loved her and respected her for her strength and strong English ways, I gained admiration and a deep feeling of awe for the courage she had shown in travelling around the world for love.
She would never speak of her family, all I know of them is what I have gleamed from Census records and the letters that she had hidden away for so many years.
I am slowly piecing together her Family Tree and hopefully shall at some point travel back to her beginnings in Surrey.
It is not just the names and dates that make a family, but the stories and history that go with the people who's blood you have in your veins.
Jacqui Moce, New Zealand.
Please login if you wish to rate this article.