Gillian finds local links more than 70 years after being adopted

Gillian Dancy
Gillian Dancy

A WOMAN who was adopted as a baby tracked down family members more than seven decades later, and has discovered some remarkable coincidences.

Gillian Dancy, 75, of Senlac Way, St Leonards, found out that she was adopted in her mid 20s but it was not until her children gave her an iPad two years ago, that she had any success in tracing her relatives.

Using online platform Genes Reunited she not only discovered half-brothers, a half-sister, cousins and an aunt who was at her birth, but made the startling discovery that at one time she lived in the very same house her birth mother had done 30 years earlier.

Gillian, who has three children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild, is delighted to have made contact with so many family members, having grown up as an only child.

“People take their family for granted,” she said.

“I first heard I was adopted when I was about 25, but it was very difficult in those days.

“Then two years ago my children gave me an iPad as a present and I went onto Genes Reunited.

“For the first three months I didn’t really get anywhere.”

She said that the breakthrough came when she began to look for a woman named Dorothy at whose house she was born. Dorothy turned out to be her aunt, now 102 years old, and the first time they met as adults was on Gillian’s 74th birthday.

After making this connection Gillian managed to find out the identity of her mother, as well as linking up with three half-brothers, one of whom lives in Bexhill, one half-sister, and numerous cousins, as far flung as the US and Australia.

Gillian has not always lived locally, but has always viewed Hastings as her home.

Aged 14, she moved down for the first time with her adoptive parents, and unbeknownst to Gillian, her birth mother was also living here around that time.

“We were living in Hastings at the same time when I was in my 20s,” she said.

“I found that I had lived in the very same house that she had lived in 30 years earlier, in Marina.”

Her mother, who is no longer alive lived in Hailsham in her later years. Gillian does not know the identity of her father

Since making contact with her family, Gillian has not looked back.

“It’s as if I have always been with them,” she said, adding that she is continuing to research her family tree online.