How can I help my mother find out who she is?

(17 Posts)
nancerama Thu 08-Aug-13 14:00:49

My mother was brought up as the youngest of 3 daughters. Each was born 10 years apart (my eldest auntie was born when my grandmother was 20, the next when she was 30 and my mother when she was 40).

I was lucky to grow up with my grandparents in the house across the street and my oldest auntie 20 minutes drive away, so I saw them a lot. The middle auntie not so much.

My mother was incredibly close to her oldest sister, and I idolised her. She was the most amazing lady who led an incredible life. She sadly passed away 3 years ago.

On the days leading up to her death she was incredibly confused, and kept referring to my mum as her daughter and me as her granddaughter. She had no children of her own, so was not mistaking us for other relatives.

My mother and I are now suspecting that there may be some truth in her ramblings, particularly as my mother only ever had the "short" version of her birth certificate (the one without parents names on it). Mum said that a long time ago she tried to order a full copy of her birth certificate but the registry office couldn't find it.

Is there any way we can find out who she really is?

Vatta Thu 08-Aug-13 22:13:37

Would the middle sister be able to help? She'd have been ten when your mum was born so would have known whether it was her mother or older sister who was pregnant.....

nancerama Fri 09-Aug-13 08:52:46

Mum asked the middle sister, but she has no recollection of anything. I guess as those things we seen as vey shameful in those days, if the older sister had been pregnant, she would have been sent away, but as it was wartime, it wasn't unusual for people to be sent away anyway.

burberryqueen Fri 09-Aug-13 08:57:07

that long birth cert should be available and your mum would need it for e.g. a passport application.
Could she try again to get a copy?
there is a place in London that used to be Somerset House that has big books with details of all births and deaths that u can look up, and order a birth cert from there.

OverTheFieldsAndFarAway Fri 09-Aug-13 08:57:40

Try again with the birth certificate. You can do it online. Does your mum know where she was born, there is usually a paper trail that can be followed.

Onetwothreeoops Fri 09-Aug-13 08:59:42

Was it the local registry office or the gro that couldn't find it? There are copies kept at both so if one can't find anything the other should have it.

Morgause Fri 09-Aug-13 09:00:07

If you message me your mother's name and birthdate I'll have a look on the GRO index online for you and see if I can find the reference number you need to buy the full certificate.

nancerama Fri 09-Aug-13 11:34:02

I recall going to Somerset House with my mother as a child (probably about 20 or 25 years ago). We were getting copies of documents for my grandmother and grandfather (possibly great-grandmother and great-grandfather) in other to arrange a telegram from the queen for some significant anniversary.

Mum says that she asked them to locate her long certificate whilst she was there (I don't recall this, but I doubt I was paying attention) and they couldn't find it.

Mum has a passport, but I believe the very first one she had was a gift from her eldest sister (who may have been her mother). If Auntie had had the long version, I'm sure she would have kept it. We cleared her house when she died and never came across it in the paperwork. She was the sort to never throw things away.

Auntie was very active in politics for much of her life and had a lot of very well connected friends - I don't know if that would have a bearing on any paper trails disappearing.

There's always the possibility that mum just hasn't looked that hard though.

you can do a search on find my past for free for you mothers name and date of birth and the maiden name you think it might be and the one its supposed to be and see what happens

use this link here www.findmypast.co.uk/search/all/births

btw if the link has somehow retained my search history please don't tell people who I am grin

Morgause Fri 09-Aug-13 12:59:31

I've sent the reference to nancerama.

burberryqueen Fri 09-Aug-13 13:10:02

Mum has a passport, but I believe the very first one she had was a gift from her eldest sister
there is a massive clue there that supports your theory.
the long birth cert could be hidden somewhere in Auntie's possessions eg sellotaped under the last page of a bible or similar.

Alanna1 Fri 09-Aug-13 13:21:17

There must be a long birth certificate somewhere. If there really isn't... Which I find surprising... You could also try writing (or asking your MP to write) to UKBA. Lastly DNA testing might be able to help. You could also see if you could access your older sister's medical records (or whoever is executor of her estate)

nancerama Fri 09-Aug-13 13:37:30

Thanks everyone. I'm going to try to order a copy of the certificate. Of course it's very possible that the first time mum tried it was a basic admin error and this is a big fuss over nothing.

The great thing is that my grandmother and auntie both took equal roles in my mother's life and I was equally close to them both, so whatever the outcome it wouldn't make a massive difference to us either way.

My mother was the executor of the estate and everything was left to me and my mother.

WaitMonkey Tue 20-Aug-13 18:08:32

Sounds like your mother had a wonderful childhood regardless of who her mother was. Will be very interesting to find out the truth, good luck.

ivykaty44 Sun 25-Aug-13 18:49:03

If your mother has a copy of the short birth certificate she can use this to gain a copy of the full birth certificate - a the reference numbers on the short certificate will help find the long version at the local register office where the short birth certificate was issued.

if not she can look at the general Register Office index - which is an index held by the head office of birth marriages and deaths (which used to be in St Catherines house/somerset house london - but is now in Southport up north) and she can find her name and hopefully under her year of birth, if she was born in November or December it may be in the following year as it is registered under the year the birth was registered not the year the baby was born - you have 40 days to register a birth so if you were born on say the 25 November you could be registered in january of the following year...

Or telephone 0300 123 1837 and give them your birth details and ask for a copy of your birth certificate to be sent to you - it cost about £10

MushroomSoup Sun 14-Sep-14 21:54:15

Just found this! Did it lead anywhere?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now