From the UK| to Calcutta | Australia-Back to the UK.
Lots of People set out to retrace their steps searching for ways to reconnect with their past- friends, acquaintances or a lost love! Sadly many fail.
Do you believe in Miracles? We didn’t – but we definitely do now!
Finding Lost Friends Across the Globe – a Multi-Destination Quest!
If you failed in your search you might do worse than give us a try!
Astonishingly our people tracing search would soon take us to Calcutta, back to the UK, once again to Calcutta and eventually ending in Perth, Western Australia. For sure-finding long-lost friends is never a picnic!!
Undoubtedly the most challenging case we had ever undertaken.
Reflecting on the beginnings of this worldwide people tracing assignment.
Actually, to be honest, we thought this was some kind of joke conjured up by a prankster.
We began (as always) by reviewing what we had to work on…hmmm- (virtually zero)
Consequently, we initially decided (reluctantly) to decline the commission.
Here the reasons why we initially rejected this particular people trace.
- Very low chance of success! Did not wish the client to waste his money.
- Amount of hours needed would negatively impact on our other clients.
- When You Want to Find a Long-Lost Friend, the Journey has to have some kind of structure.
However, we reconsidered, after seeing how disappointed our client was when given this news. Maybe perhaps against our better judgement, we decided to give-it-a-go so to speak.
I would like to trace a person
Here is the initial Search Brief (redacted)
Relates to a young lady I knew in Calcutta, India, 60 years ago.
Her name was*** and she lived at *** Street, Calcutta. She was born on the 1942 and had 3 sisters-**** , **** and ****.
They were all regular churchgoers and attended services at St. Xaviers R C Church, Park Street and St.Thomas’s R C Church, Middleton Row, Calcutta. Not seen any of them since 1955.
That was everything we had to work on in order to find our client’s lost friend!
The Basics of People Finding challenges are:
– Birth Certificates
We began our quest/journey by trying to trace the birth records of the four sisters. When it comes to people finding this is the very first and most important thing to do with any task. It can reveal heaps/lots of helpful information.
The birth records usually provide us with a precise full and middle name birth names, as well as the parents’ full names. This is a real foundation block for the search!
Things Don’t Always Go as Planned
Unfortunately, apart from the oldest sisters’ there were no records of the others. Subsequently, we learned precisely why. She was born in 1933 well before the war. Whereas all the others were born during the war.
Apparently, during that period the authorities simply didn’t bother with such certificates due to it being wartime. On top of that the parents of the four sisters were also not locals, but foreign nationals, of UK origin.
We decided to begin anew in the UK.
Namely, by contacting every single person in the UK that shared the surname of our long-lost friend. Luckily, the surname was not so common.
Despite writing letters to all of them – zilch! No results and £30 in postage expenditure.
Switching to the Online Environment
We then moved on to Facebook, on “Calcutta/Kolkata ex-pats” – where it all started. To further increase our chances, and reach, we also employed a local freelancer. They could help us by searching on the ground, so to speak.
This involved spending endless nights on the “Calcutta Memories” Facebook page. Those nights however were not spent in vain! A couple of people did in fact remember the girls from both their school days and attending the same church!
Beautifully attired, respectful and well-behaved. They also asked us to let them know if we were successful in finding find them!
Recalling how charming and pretty the girls were.
If we might indulge ourselves in a bit of self-congratulatory praise here. The group were quite astonished that us being 6000 miles away, had shown the initiative and resourcefulness to find what were four children not been seen since 1955! Unfortunately, our local researcher produced zero.
Last but not least We “Facebooked” the local churchgoer’s site the girls attended some 65 years ago – zilch!
Back to Searching Old Friends in the UK
Reverting to further triple rechecks in the UK. When things don’t seem to go your way you just get back to the basics!
One day out of the blue whilst perusing Birth, Marriage and Deaths list we paused at now specific birth, marriage, and death listings. It was one we had combed over on numerous previous occasions. The surname for a particular marriage listing brought us startlingly to attention. It looked as if might be the one we wanted but the Christian name didn’t quite stack up.
All of a sudden, eureka!
The Christian name was uncannily close to the one we needed. Yes, we noticed it was very likely a misspelling on a marriage listing. The name shown was “Ceolia” whereas we needed Cecilia. After further checks, t was undoubtedly a misspelling. We had found the oldest sister, living since 1967 in West Hampstead, London.
We Don’t Give Up that Easily!
What a result and couldn’t wait to inform our client. Naturally, in the meantime, we wrote to the sister living in West Hampstead but frustratingly no reply. What anguish for our client, having come so far.
On the strength of this setback he asked us to end the search.
He said his nerves were totally shot. However, we ignored him and carried on.
In the meantime, we discovered the sister has a daughter living in London and on Facebook. Naturally, we wrote to her and in the meantime received a positive response from “Calcutta” forum.
The two ladies who responded knew the sisters
(attended school with them) back in the 1950s. More importantly, they knew where they are today. Both now in their 70s and living in Perth Western Australia.
To add to the good news, one lady offered to pass on a message to the sisters. Unfortunately, we never heard anymore. Question is: did she convey the message,? Or, was it the case the sisters did not wish to communicate with our client.
Or she forgot to pass her message on? What do “we do”?
At that stage and on a “bit of a downer” we receive a heartening Facebook message from the daughter of the lady living in London. She said it was lovely we contacted the family and congratulated us on our “brilliant work” as she described it. Her first words were “music to our client’s ears” she requested that our client calls her.
She was aware we had written to Mum but dues to Mums PC ‘playing up’ she hadn’t replied so far although will be doing so. Next day we receive a phone call from the mother in London. God bless her now aged 88.
There is more to this story but I feel now is the time to close it.
In a nutshell we achieved the result our client so dearly wanted. Namely, we reconnected our client with the sisters-job done!
A nice note from our client.”Dear John, I would like to thank you for all the time and effort you have put into this case and for your perseverance and determination in bringing about a satisfactory conclusion. Thanks for pressing on, even after I was ready to abandon it.”