William Harris had four sons – only two are alive today, Ronald Harris (my father, left) and Martin Goodall. Martin did not know that he had a Half Brother until October 30th this year, my Father did not know he might have a Half Brother until last year. They met for the first time just one week after Martin was traced, on November the 7th 2010.
This is how it all came about….
In February 2010, I received an email from Morlin with an attachment containing a copy of my Grandfather’s will. It provided invaluable information in the search for more information about him.
From the date of death given, my Grandfather died 10th December 1982. With this date, I was able to contact Gwynedd Council Office and obtain a copy of his death certificate (I had contacted them in November but without a date of death the search was impossible). From the death certificate my Father was able to find the date of William’s birth, 31st March 1901, which I was then able to post on the family website and family tree.
This date of birth also enabled my Father to apply to the Merchant Navy to search their records for any information on William as we believed he had been torpedoed by two German submarines and rescued from the sea while serving in the Navy during the War.
The death certificate from the Gwynedd Registry Office also stated that William had died at the Great Orme Nursing home in Llandudno. I have just recently been in contact with the Great Orme Nursing Home and they are kindly searching their records for any information on my Grandfather.
In my grandfathers will, May was referred to as “Hannah Mary Evans” and with her full name, it was now possible to search for more records.
Sophia was the person who had the information to link everyone together. She told us that May and Bill had had a baby son who had been put up for adoption. My Father registered with the official adoption agency to try and find his missing Half Brother but we were not sure of any details: all we knew was that he might have been called “David” and that he had been born in Shrewsbury. The agency could find no trace of him.
Eventually Morlin found “David”, by chance. She found a post left by David on the internet in 2002, which can now be found using just the names “Hannah Mary Evans” (Mays’ full name found on Williams will) and “William Harris”. As soon as she made contact, she knew she had found the right person. “David” turned out to be Martin who had been born in Evesham in 1944 and adopted in 1946. In the 1970s, when the law changed, he had obtained a copy of his birth certificate which stated that his birth name was “William Maurice Evans” and that his birth parents had been “Hannah Mary Evans” and “William Harris”. William’s occupation had been given as “General Dealer”. It also stated that Martin’s parents had been living in the College Precincts of Worcester Cathedral at that time. Martin and his wife Gill had visited the Cathedral to try and find out more about his birth parents but were told that no records were kept during the war years and then published the post on the internet.
Things happened really quickly from that first contact at the end of October 2010. Morlin and her mother, Madge, Martin and Gill were all invited to come to lunch with my parents and my sister Natasha, on 7th November . Unfortunately, I wasn’t available, I was out of the country.
As well as the two brothers and their families meeting for the first time, the brothers also met Madge for the first time too. Madge and her husband, Tim, had been good friends with William for over 20 years. The Sunday lunch was a great success and a very memorable occasion.
Martin and Gill have three children: Mark, Julie and Sharon, who are Half-Cousins to Natasha and me. Our ages range from 37-50. Martin and Gill also have one grandson. A little over two years ago my family consisted of only my parents, my sister, my mother’s brother and family in Austria and me. Now it has been increased, again …. I have already updated the Harris Family Tree (click link) to include them. The Harris Family Tree now contains 312 names!
Martin, last month, knew nothing about his bloodline, nothing about his birth parents, nothing about the existence of a Half Brother and nothing about the History of the “Harris Family”. Now Martin has huge family, a huge family tree and a huge amount of information right here at his finger tips…
My father had until a couple of years ago, believed that his father William, may have died during the war. He now knows that William met May met in 1944 (or earlier), and they had lived inWorcester, Festiniog, Caernarfon and then finally in Llandudno AND best of all my father now has a new Half Brother called Martin.
Welcome to the Harris family Martin !!!!
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