Ancestry Blog » Long Lost Family The official blog of Ancestry Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:10:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 From Liverpool to Johannesburg tonight on Long Lost Family. (UK) Wed, 24 Jun 2015 14:10:33 +0000 Brian Gallagher Read more]]> 1llf

Last week we witnessed emotional scenes as the Long Lost Family team took on the task of searching for a missing sibling and this week is no different. Christine Chesham is desperately searching for her sister in the hope of discovering the truth behind a family tragedy. Christine had always known that she was adopted, but it was not until she was 15 that she found out anything about her background. Having been brought up in an affluent area of Liverpool, Christine discovers that her mother came from a working class area, only a few miles away from her adoptive home.

When she got older, Christine decided she wanted to find her mother and hired a private investigator to track her down. Christine was devastated to discover that her mother had died in a tragic accident ten years before she had started to look for her. She also learned that she had a half-sister called Pamela. Nicky Campbell and Davina McCall take on the task of tracking down Pamela. Christine is desperate to meet her, not only to finally meet her sister, but to learn more about the life and death of her mother.

Next we meet fifty-three year old Vicki Haskell. Growing up, Vicki always felt that she was different from her adoptive family and always wondered about her birth mother. When she was eighteen-years-old Vicki began to search for clues about her background. She found her adoption file in her father’s desk, containing information on her birth mother.

‘She is interested in classical music, her height is 5 ft. 6”, normal weight and she is fair with blue eyes’.

For the first time in her life Vicki could see aspects of herself in another person. Her birth mother obviously shared looks and even an interest in music with her daughter. When Long Lost Family took on the search, Vicki had been searching for over 30 years to no avail. Nicky Campbell travels to South Africa to find Vicki’s mother, but will she want to meet her long lost daughter? Find out tonight at 9pm on ITV.

Long Lost Family airs tonight at 9pm on ITV. Join us on Twitter to let us know your thoughts on tonight’s episode.

]]> 2
Ireland and New Zealand feature in tonight’s episode of Long Lost Family. (UK) Wed, 17 Jun 2015 09:36:26 +0000 Brian Gallagher Read more]]> 1llf

It is Long Lost Family time again. Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell travel the world to reunite separated families. This week the Long Lost Family team features two stories which explore the feelings of abandonment.

Peter Gunn has struggled to come to terms with the decision his mother made to give him up for adoption. Adopted at just nine-months old, Peter had always known that he was adopted and he had a very happy early childhood. When his parents’ marriage broke down, feelings of rejection began to resurface. Peter began to think about his birth mother and when he was eighteen years old he accessed his adoption file. The file revealed that his mother’s name was Daphne and that she had to choose between her family and her baby. Peter was devastated by this and spiralled into a cycle of drug and alcohol addiction. Miriam, Peter’s adoptive mother, re-mortgaged her house to pay for his rehabilitation.

It was during his treatment that he began to reassess his original feelings about the reason his birth mother had given him up. ‘I had looked at the situation in a selfish way…it must have been the hardest decision anyone could ever be asked to make’. The Long Lost Family team track down Daphne living in Arklow in the Republic of Ireland, where she had grown up. Daphne describes to Nicky how devastated she was when she had to give Peter up all those years ago. ‘If I had any chance at all I would have never given him up’, she says. ‘No matter what words I can say, I can never tell him how sorry I am’.

Next we meet a brother who has been searching for his sister. Seventy-one year old Ron Williams is searching for his beloved sister who disappeared from his life when they were children, over sixty years ago. Ron and his sister, Christine, had both been born out of wedlock between their mother’s two marriages. As a result of these affairs their mother was subjected to persecution and rumour in the local community. To distance herself from this torment she gave her children to her parents to look after. Growing up in a rural village, Ron and his sister were inseparable. ‘It was bliss really…they were good times’, recalls Ron.

When Ron was four their grandmother became ill and Ron was sent back to his mother. Christine did not join him and as the weeks turned into months he realised he may never see her again. Ron’s mother never mentioned Christine and referred to him as an only child in public. Ron eventually had the courage to ask his mother abut Christine and he was told that she had been adopted. From then on he felt a heavy guilt. Why had she been given away while he was kept? ‘It did make me feel terrible really…I was kept and she wasn’t’. The Long Lost Family team find Christine, now living in New Zealand, having emigrated over forty years previously. Will she want to meet her long lost brother? Find out tonight at 9pm on ITV.

Long Lost Family airs tonight at 9pm on ITV. Join us on Twitter to let us know your thoughts on tonight’s episode.

]]> 2
Time for tea and tissues as we travel from Scotland to Croatia in tonight’s episode of ‘Long Lost Family’. Wed, 10 Jun 2015 08:38:41 +0000 Brian Gallagher Read more]]> 1llf


Episode two of Long Lost Family features two heart-breaking stories of missed opportunities — a mother who, having given up her daughter for fostering, had the chance to have her back again, but chose for her daughter’s sake to give her up for a second time; and a man searching for the father who has missed out on over 40 years of his son’s life.

First we meet Christine, who was just sixteen-years-old when she gave birth to Marguerite in Glasgow. Sharing a single room with her elderly grandmother and a new-born baby was less than ideal and it became clear that Christine could not cope. Christine approached social services and Marguerite was placed with a long-term foster family.

Christine went on to marry and have other children, but she never stopped thinking of her little girl. When Marguerite’s foster mother died, Christine was told she was eligible to have her daughter back in her life. With her marriage now in difficulty and struggling financially, Christine had mixed feelings about what was best for her daughter. She decided that it would be better for her to stay with the her foster father and family.

Next we meet Robert Lindsay who is searching for the father he has never met. Robert was brought up by his mother and grandparents and had a happy childhood. As a father himself, Robert desperately wants to find his father. Robert’s parents met in London in the early 1970s when his mother was an au pair and his father, a young Yugoslavian man called Mladen, was working in a hotel.

Robert’s mother Mary was eighteen when she became pregnant. She decided to move home to Kilmarnock to be with her parents for support. Robert doesn’t know why the relationship didn’t continue, but he did come across a letter from his father in which he tells Mary that he hasn’t heard from her and that he is returning to Yugoslavia.

The Long Lost Family team travels to Croatia in search of Mladen, but will Robert get to meet his father? Will Marguerite understand why her mother gave her away twice?

Find out tonight at 9pm on ITV and join us on Twitter to let us know your thoughts on tonight’s episode.


]]> 0
Long Lost Family returns to UK television tonight at 9pm on ITV. Wed, 03 Jun 2015 09:36:00 +0000 Brian Gallagher Read more]]> 1llf


Nicky Campbell and Davina McCall return to our screens tonight in the new season of the award winning show Long Lost Family. Across six new episodes, Davina and Nicky bring family members together who have been separated for most of their lives. Some have spent years desperately trying to track down their loved ones in vain. This season promises to be the most emotional yet with the Long Lost Family team travelling as far as Canada and South Africa to track down separated relatives.

Tonight we will meet Susan and Chris Ellerton. They are the first couple to approach Long Lost Family looking for a child that they gave up for adoption. Together for over 50 years, the couple are desperately searching for the child they gave up as confused and frightened unmarried 15- and 16-year olds. They went on to have five children and emigrated to Canada in 1981. Devastated by the way their parents took over and forced them to give their child away, Susan feels a heavy burden, “Are we going to live out our lives and never know? I need to know that he’s been okay, and that he forgives us for what we did.”

On tonight’s episode we also meet Paul, a civil servant and former soldier. Paul was one of over 50,000 British troops in West Germany during the 1980s as part of the West’s Cold War defences. During his time there he met and fell in love with a local German girl called Michelle. They began a relationship and when Paul was just 20 they discovered that she was pregnant. Before his daughter was a year old he was posted back to the UK and returned alone. Paul made sure to keep contact with his German family, making a daily pilgrimage to the local phone box to talk to Michelle and find out how his daughter was. But six months later Michelle stopped answering and instead her grandmother picked up the phone and told him that Michelle was married to someone else and he wasn’t to bother the family anymore. Paul has never stopped thinking about his daughter, “I do worry she may think I didn’t care, that I abandoned her. I want to know how her life has been, has she got children of her own? She’s 29 now and I left when she was one.”

Will Susan and Chris find the son they gave up as teenagers? Is Paul destined to be reunited with the daughter he left behind in Germany? Find out tonight at 9pm on ITV.

Join us on Twitter at 9pm and let us know your thoughts on tonight’s episode.







]]> 2
The emotional rollercoaster comes to an end. It’s the last in the season of Long Lost Family! Sun, 31 Aug 2014 11:40:40 +0000 Brian Gallagher Read more]]> It has been quite the emotional rollercoaster this season. We have had front row seats to some beautiful reunions. We have smiled and cried in equal measure as we shared the journeys of this season’s participants. Join Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell as they help people find their absent family members in the final episode of Long Lost Family.


Sandra Macdonald

Sandra Macdonald grew up in Edinburgh as the only child of her adoptive parents. From a young age she felt as though she didn’t belong, despite doing everything she could to gain their acceptance. As a teenager these feelings became stronger. When she was 15, Sandra decided that she needed to find her birth mother.

All Sandra knew was that her mother had been in the care of a church organization when she gave birth. Hoping that they could help, Sandra approached them but was met with cruel and cold words. Being told that her mother had sinned and didn’t want to be reminded of those sins was a painful thing to be told.

It was two years before she could access the adoption records. The paperwork gave Sandra some clues to work with in her search. She discovered that her mother’s name was Elizabeth Blair, and that she was married and already had one child. But those details did not prove to be enough to find her mother.

Now 53, Sandra has spent almost forty years searching. She is hoping that the Long Lost Family team can complete the task and reunite her with the family she longs to be a part of. Join us for the final episode of the series and see if Sandra gets her wish.

Long Lost Family will air on ITV this Monday September 1st at  9pm. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to share your thoughts on this episode.

]]> 3
Happiness and Sadness in Equal Measure in this Week’s “Long Lost Family” Sun, 24 Aug 2014 08:27:02 +0000 Brian Gallagher Read more]]> Join Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell as they take on the challenge of uniting families in the penultimate episode in this season of Long Lost Family.









John Farrell

John Farrell is a 46-year old catering manager and Army reservist. His childhood was marked by feelings of inadequacy and he never felt as though he belonged. When he turned thirteen he found out that the man he was raised to believe was his father was not his biological father. His mother offered to tell him about his father but he didn’t want to know. He now regrets not asking about his father at that time.

Having three children has changed his outlook. John is determined to be the best father he could for his children. He often thinks of his own father and the connection he wishes they had. Twenty years ago John started to search for his father. His mother told him that he was a former soldier called Cyrill Smith. Cyrill was married to another woman when John was born.

Sharing the background of military service, John served in Afghanistan and feels a great sense of pride. When he returned home he was met with handshakes and the admiration of well-wishers. For John, the only person he wanted to be proud of him was his father. When Long Lost Family took on the search they were able to track down John’s two half-siblings from his father’s marriage. John was moved to tears to know his siblings want to meet him.


Patricia Hart

Patricia grew up in small community where everybody knew everybody and there were no secrets. In 1954, when Patricia was just 17, she signed up for three years in the Women’s Royal Army Corps. She embraced her freedom and was excited to see the world beyond her small community. She met a man and began a relationship while stationed in Hampshire. Eight months into the relationship Patricia’s time in the army came to an end and she returned home to Yorkshire. It was then that she discovered she was pregnant.

With no support from her boyfriend, Patricia told her parents. She knew that they would support her, but felt she could not put them through the shame. She decided that she would give her baby up for adoption, a decision which has haunted her every day since. In March 1959, Patricia gave birth to a baby girl she called Christine and they spent six precious weeks together.

Now 75, Patricia is a great-grandmother and lives in South Yorkshire surrounded by her close-knit family. Her only fear is that she will die before she has a chance to meet the daughter that she gave away all those years ago. The Long Lost Family team tracks down Patricia’s daughter and the reunion is not to be missed.


Long Lost Family will air on ITV this Monday August 25th at 9pm. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to share your thoughts on this episode.

]]> 1
Two stories. Two Reunions. Many Tears! There’s Only One Long Lost Family. Sun, 17 Aug 2014 10:04:03 +0000 Brian Gallagher Read more]]>  

Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell have been our expert guides through the emotional landscape of Long Lost Family, and in episode six the team succeeds again in reuniting families and healing old wounds.



Helen Salmon and Colin Deering

Colin and Helen’s mother, Nellie Dixon, was a music hall performer. Nellie had Colin in 1943 and several years later, she retired from show business and settled down in Manchester to raise him. In 1949 she married and Helen was born two years later.

Helen always felt that Nellie missed the stage, and that there was a sense of missing out when she gave up show business. Helen hadn’t realized there was something more missing from her mother’s life.

Colin remembers finding his mother crying while looking at an old photograph of a child that she kept hidden. It was his brother Bryan. Nellie clearly carried a lot of regret for her decision to give him up.

Nellie passed away more than 40 years ago. Colin and Helen have longed to fulfill her dying wish for them to find their missing brother. Now 70 years old, Colin hopes that the Long Lost Family team can locate Bryan.



Stephen Haywood and Sheila Andrews

Life has not been easy for 52 year old Stephen. He lives in Cornwall with his partner Jan, two daughters and his grandson. He has put many things on hold and has avoided celebrating life’s milestones until he finds his birth mother. He even decided not to marry until he finds her.

Given up for adoption at birth, Stephen grew up in Australia with his adoptive parents, Constance and Anthony. When the family returned to the UK, Stephen found it hard to fit in as a teenager in a new country. It was this difficult period that led him to think about his birth mother.

Stephen’s adoption file reveals that his mother’s name is Sheila Andrews and that she had given him the name Stephen. Davina McCall, Nicky Campbell and the Long Lost Family team take on the search for Stephen’s birth mother.

As always the reunions are emotional and the participants joy at finding their loved ones is uplifting and inspirational. That’s the power of Long Lost family.


Long Lost Family will air on ITV this Monday August 18th at 9pm. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to share your thoughts on this episode.


]]> 8
Painful Memories and Warm Embraces in Episode Five of Long Lost Family. Sun, 10 Aug 2014 00:40:49 +0000 Brian Gallagher Read more]]> Last week’s episode of Long Lost Family was probably the most emotional yet. But it doesn’t stop there. This week Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell worked tirelessly to reunite more long-separated families. In episode five we’ll witness two reunions that are healing the pain of the past.


Sheila Thomas and Jacqui Denton

Growing up in London, Sheila was raised in a working household. She left school at age 15 to work as a receptionist and it wasn’t long before she fell madly in love with a married man. She became pregnant and at only 17, she was frightened and unsure of what to do. Unable to ask her boyfriend for help she told her parents everything.

They quickly took charge of the situation and Sheila had to quit her job and leave her boyfriend. She was sent to a mother and baby home and it was there, on Boxing Day 1967, that she gave birth to a baby girl she named Jacqueline. It never dawned on Sheila that her baby would be taken from her. She was distraught when she realized that her precious child would be given up for adoption. She never recovered and despite going on to be happily married, she never had any more children.

Sheila felt unworthy to be a mother and never forgave herself for allowing her baby to be taken without a fight. Now 64, Sheila has longed to give her daughter a hug and know that she is happy. Long Lost Family tracked down Jacqueline, who was overwhelmed to hear that her birth mother was looking for her. Her adoptive parents kept her name and when Jacqui met Sheila, her adoptive mother came too. The meeting has given Sheila the strength to move on and put the pain of the adoption behind her.

Stephen Andrews and Janet Johnson

Stephen was adopted in 1964 by Terrance and Betty Andrews. He found out that he was adopted when he was eight-years-old, but it wasn’t until his teenage years that he questioned why he was given away. Now 49 and married with three children, he longed to answer the questions that have plagued him all these years.

When his adoptive mother died, he decided to face his past and see if he could track down his birth mother. His adoption file raised more painful questions. It stated that his birth parents planned to get married, sparking the question again, why did they give him away?

Long Lost Family tracked down Stephen’s birth mother, Janet. She was overjoyed to hear that he was looking for her. She explained that she was only 15 when she got pregnant and that she was frightened and unsure how she was going to support her baby. She went on to marry Stephen’s father and have two more sons. When Davina met Stephen to tell him she had found his mother, he was shocked to hear that he has two full brothers. Davina reassured him that he was not forgotten and when he meets Janet for the first time, she explained in her own words the circumstances of the adoption. Stephen can finally begin to get over the hurt and shame he has felt all these years.

Long Lost Family will air on ITV this Monday August 11th at 9pm. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to share your thoughts on this episode.

]]> 2
Two searches, one family! Get ready for another episode of Long Lost Family Sat, 02 Aug 2014 09:18:15 +0000 Brian Gallagher Read more]]> The inspiring stories on Long Lost Family have brought us to tears on more than one occasion, as Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell worked tirelessly to reunite long separated families. In episode four we will witness a first for the Long Lost Family team.


Inge Dart

Growing up in Kenya, Inge’s life was overshadowed by her domineering mother. It was the last days of the British Empire and Inge was very much in love with her childhood sweetheart, Jeremy. When she became pregnant at 19, her mother banished her half way across the world to have the baby in secret.

Her mother sent her to Surrey in the UK where she was taken in by a couple who looked after her until her daughter was born. She cared for her daughter for ten days knowing time was running out. Jeremy visited and the young couple were overjoyed to be able to spend time with their daughter before she was taken away.

Now sixty-six years old, the loss of her baby has haunted Inge ever since and she now craves the peace she knows will only come when she sees her daughter once more. In one of the most extraordinary searches ever undertaken by Long Lost Family we see a mother looking for the daughter she had to say goodbye to when she was only ten days old. From Colonial Kenya to Northern France, watch what happens when they end Inge’s search and, in a first for Long Lost Family, they take on her daughter’s search for her father Jeremy, who has spent a lifetime yearning for the chance to give his daughter a hug.  

Long Lost Family is broadcast on ITV this Monday August 4th at 9pm. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to share your thoughts on Inge’s emotional journey.

]]> 4
Second chances and emotional reunions in the next “Long Lost Family” Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:07:39 +0000 Brian Gallagher Read more]]> With the new season of Long Lost Family now in full swing and tissue sales at an all-time high, Davina McCall & Nicky Campbell continue to give us front row seats at some beautiful family reunions.


In episode three we hear the stories of Richard Cue and Tania Bartlett. While both stories are different they shared a common desire to find their loved ones.

Richard Cue
After the loss of their two young children, Florence and William Cue adopted Richard in 1957. Richard grew up in a house filled with love and happiness. He longed to meet his birth mother to tell her that he is grateful for the decision she made and to let her know he has had a good life.

After the loss of his adoptive mother in in 1997, Richard’s desire to find his birth mother intensified. Having searched for more than a decade without success, Richard turned to Long Lost Family for help. Nicky found Richard’s birth mother, Pat, who revealed that she had been searching for Richard also, but had held back because she wasn’t sure how their reunion would impact his life. She explained to Nicky that she had tried to keep Richard and raise him herself, but after six months she simply had no other options. With no support and practically starving, she agreed to the adoption that placed Richard with Florence and William.

Richard was brought to tears at the news that his mother had been found and Davina revealed the circumstances of his adoption and the difficulties his birth mother endured in an attempt to keep him. Richard couldn’t wait to meet her and just two days after finding out his birth mother was found, Richard traveled to West Sussex to be reunited with her.

Tania Bartlett

Growing up Tania had no contact from her father. Ahmed Kazem, an Iranian student studying in the UK met Tania’s mother Julie in 1961. They fell in love, and by the time Tania was born Ahmed was in the U.S making arrangements for their future together. However, after Tania’s birth Julie felt unable to leave the UK and the relationship ended.

When Tania was fifteen, she answered a knock at the door and found herself face to face with her father, Ahmed, now called Edward. It turned her world upside down and over the next five years he showered her with love and attention, despite his busy lifestyle. Tania recalled how he would contact her from different countries around the world. In 1981 a letter she had sent to her father in Tehran was returned unopened and from that day forward she has had no contact with her father.

Nicky and the Long Lost Family team found Edward living on the east coast of the United States. When Nicky asks why he stopped all contact, Edward explained that due to the nature of his work with the U.S government he was not allowed to contact anyone, even his own daughter. Edward traveled to London to meet his daughter and the reunion was as emotional as any we have seen on Long Lost Family. Tania is overcome as she embraces the father she never thought she would see again.

Long Lost Family is broadcast on ITV this Monday July 28th at 9pm. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to share your thoughts on Richard & Tania’s unbelievable stories.

]]> 3