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We recently helped one of our customers locate the brother she had never met. Caroline Barton contacted us in early December and ordered our Family Search Service, by Christmas she had met her brother for the very first time! The Daily Mirror found out about the story and published on 27th December 2011. Here is the full story as it appeared in the Daily Mirror that day.
Daily Mirror – 27/12/2011. Story by Melissa Thompson, Photo by Jason Shillingford.
FOR 40 years Caroline Barton searched desperately for the brother she’d never known.
Colin Burkett had been given up for adoption at two, before she was born, and she treasured the only grainy black and white photo featuring his face.
No one knew what happened to him and Caroline’s search was frustrated by dead ends and dashed hopes. But now the siblings have spent their first ever Christmas together after Caroline, 57, finally traced Colin, 65, just in time for the festive season.
She said: “It was amazing. I’d always think of Colin at Christmas and every year I always felt there was an empty space at the table. But this year’s different. Finally I’ve been able to buy my brother a present and that’s the best feeling in the world.”
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Colin added: “I’m still shocked. It’s unbelievable after all this time to suddenly have this new extended family. It’s a perfect Christmas present.”
As they sit side by side next to the Christmas tree at Caroline’s home in Watford, Herts, the siblings look as if they have known each other for ever, despite meeting weeks ago.
Their mother Elsie had always told Caroline she had an older brother who she had to give up for adoption.
Born in 1946 just after the Second World War, times were tough and Elsie had to go out to work. Against her wishes she gave Colin up for adoption when he was two.
Caroline explained: “I started looking for him when I was 14. I’d think I was getting close and then it would just come back negative.”
Their mum was desperate for Colin to be found. But tragically she died three years ago, aged 87, before she could be reunited with him.
Colin, who had always known he was adopted, said: “About 20 years ago I did start trying to find my parents but they wanted me to have counselling before they would tell me anything so I let it go by the wayside.
“My mum and dad were fantastic, but there was always this curiosity.”
Despite not knowing each other, Colin and Caroline’s lives are dotted with coincidences. Her first son – called Colin “after the brother I never had”, she explained – was born on his namesake’s 30th birthday.
At one stage they lived just 10 minutes apart and even now, the supermarket Caroline shops in is the same place Colin has been based, working on a fraud prevention scheme.
She had almost given up hope of finding him until she began playing with her new iPhone with voice recognition, which lets you ask questions.
“I was thinking about what to ask it,” said Caroline. “So I asked it ‘please can you find my brother?’ Siri, the voice programme, brought up a website called FinderMonkey, a tracing service that lets you look for people.
The following morning David Oates, a researcher there, called to say he’d try and find Colin for me. I didn’t really think anything of it though, after all the disappointment I’d been through.”
But within 48 hours, David called Caroline back to say he’d found him.
She said: “I couldn’t believe I’d spent 40 years looking and then I’d found him through my phone within 48 hours.”
The following day, Caroline went to Colin’s house in her car.
“I sat outside for two hours concocting an idea of what I’d say to him,” she recalled. “When Colin walked downstairs it was like my dad’s double. He was over the moon, and so was I.”
She took Colin on an emotional visit to their mum’s grave and she was able to fulfil one of her dying mum’s wishes – to hand over a precious photo taken of her and Colin when he was one,.
Colin said: “It’s sad I never got to meet her, but at least I now have Caroline and our other sister Susan.”
The siblings spent Boxing Day together and have plans to meet again for New Year’s Day.
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