Our Stories: Searching for 60 years

Ann's mother and father at their wedding

After 60 years of searching, MyHeritage found the connection – in just two months – between Australia’s Ann Clare Meagher’s mother Hilda Welchman Moss, and Ann’s previously unknown maternal uncle, John Welchman, in the UK.

Ann’s mother, Hilda, died at 32, leaving six children, when Ann was nine. Her father, Fred Moss, was a British Army major posted to India, and Ann was born in Lahore (now Pakistan) in 1945. Her mother Hilda Welchman had travelled to India from England and she married in 1941.

As a teen, I often wondered about my grandparents, as I had no knowledge or contact with them. We moved to Melbourne, Australia in 1962. I became a nurse, and have been happily married for 43 years, with a wonderful husband and three sons.

Ann had spent years looking for any relative of her mother without success until she became a member of MyHeritage and found her previously unknown uncle. She discovered a story he had written about his life and was dumb-founded that he had been looking for his sister’s family for 60 years. He lives in Dorset, England.

Ann wrote the following letter to her uncle when she found him:

Dear John,
My name is Ann nee Moss Meagher. My mum was Hilda and her sister was Una. I got a shock when I found your website and found out you are my uncle. I have been looking for any information on Una for years till yesterday Mum’s bridesmaid Mollie told me mum had a brother. May I ring you and have a chat? I live in Queensland with my husband and three sons. I am a grandma of one and another on the way. I would fly to England and bring my sister Hilda who was one month old when Mum died at 32. I am doing the family tree and you are the one I was desperate to find, being Mum’s brother. My half-brother Peter lives in England. I will get his address and send it to you. Please reply asap.

John Welchman and his wife Maureen

Soon after, she received a letter from her uncle, John Welchman:

Dear Ann and family

It was quite a shock to be contacted by you. I nearly put the phone down as there was a time lapse before you spoke. I thought it was another call from the spammers!

I won’t write to much as it would be a lot better when we use Skype. I am attaching two photos of your Mum and Dad which were given to me by Maurice (Una’s husband). These are the only ones that I have and I have very little memory of them as we left in ’47 after my Mum died in Rawlpindi. I have a photo of her grave at that location. I also, some years ago, contacted the Bishop of Lahore and his reply was that your Mum’s grave was in the cemetery over there.

Once we make contact we will have a lot of catching up to do.

Love from the Welchman family.

Ann says that they have since spoken on the phone and Skyped many times, and that she and her sister will be traveling to England to meet him – all thanks to MyHeritage!

She became interested in family history because she had no knowledge of her own ancestors and longed to find someone. During her quest, she joined MyHeritage just two months ago and likes it because of the good information she received.

Ann says all her family is interested in her research, and adds that her friend, Helen Blain, also of Australia, is her main motivator. Although her relatives are not members of her MyHeritage family site, it has changed her relationships and communication with family members for the better.

Currently, she has 29 family members in her tree, from Australia and England. She has discovered more relatives in Australia. As described above, she located her uncle and some cousins, and they communicate via email and Skype. These connections she describes as “very emotional.”

Her biggest surprise was finding an article on the Internet written by her uncle about his life in which he mentioned he had lost contact with Ann’s mother and her children over 60 years ago.

Ann’s tips for readers just beginning their journey include:

• Speak to all older living relatives.
• Join MyHeritage, which is extremely helpful.

Have you enjoyed Ann’s story? Have you discovered family members on your journey who have also been independently searching for you? How did you find each other? Let us know via the comments below.

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  • karen lavelle

    January 19, 2015

    ahhh thats a fantastic story your so lucky bless you all xx

  • Graeme O’Neill

    January 20, 2015

    I recently had a wonderful phone call My Heritage, while I was attempting to repair my site after my PC crashed. She explained the benefits of the Records Matching add-on which I purchased and within 24hours had found my Grandfather’s family lines back another 3 generations, since then have added Census forms to their photo files and many other documents to fill in their lives.

  • Karensterling

    January 20, 2015

    This is why I love genealogy. It’s a labor of love and the reward is priceless. Congratulations on finding each other. I’m sure words can’t describe how you truly feel.

  • Ann Meagher

    February 24, 2015

    Thank you all for you comments about my story. My sisters and I will be in England on the 11th of March to meet our Uncle. Very excited. Will post the video of our reunion.
    Ann Meagher

  • Eric Sheldon

    November 29, 2015

    It pays to keep trying.
    I got back to 1810 on my side and still looking at my wifes line

  • Martha Hicks

    November 29, 2015

    What an amazing and beautiful story! Yes, please do share a video of this momentous reunion. No doubt your mother would be overjoyed. Wishing you all the best!

  • Faith (Girard) Cannon

    November 30, 2015

    Wonderful story, wiha lovely find. Bless you all.

  • Lester Gordon

    November 30, 2015

    What a wonderful story gives me hope that one day we may fine who my mothers people were as a child growing up in a large family always wondered why there was no grandparent, aunts or uncles cousins

  • Valerie Markwick (Collins)

    December 1, 2015

    I had no information on my Fathers family as he was a Barnados Boy who was fostered. Finally Barnados released his information for me and I discovered so much – that he had two brothers and his parents were married in Durban, South Africa. I have found two first cousins in New Zealand but still on the trail – so many questions unanswered.

  • Leonard Kentish

    December 1, 2015

    A fascinating Story. Delighted for Ann.

  • Heather Arthur

    December 1, 2015

    How wonderful I am so happy for you and your family. you must have been over the moon to get the photos I know I would have. I have been looking for a picture of my grandfather who I have no memory of and a picture is something I long to see. Enjoy your trip and may you come home full of new memories.

  • George Quain

    December 2, 2015

    Great web site.

  • Lisa davis

    December 4, 2015

    What a lovely story! Gives us all hope.

  • Jean King

    December 18, 2015

    This gives me hope. I neglected to ask questions when I was young. Big mistake!!

  • Jean King

    December 18, 2015

    Nice to hear.