Story unearths unknown relatives living nearby

17:00, Apr 09 2014
Family reunites
FAMILY TIES: From left: Angela Dalton, Dot Ensom, Bert Knight, Kath Morrin, Gloria Mumby, Graham Whitburn and Sheryl Robinson all got together for the first time last week.

Tales of World War I have brought together family members who have been living near each other for years, entirely unaware of each other's existence.

Angela Dalton went public with  the story of her two great-great-uncles, Lance-Corporal Alexander and Private Herbert Whitburn, three weeks ago to publicise a community project collecting the stories behind the names on a cenotaph in the Auckland suburb of Manurewa.

The resulting newspaper story was read by Sheryl Robinson  who instantly recognised the names - the men were her great-great-uncles too.

Family reunites
WHO'S THAT: The newfound family members study the family tree which dates back to the 17th century.

Robinson's's daughter had given a school speech on the men through details gleaned from their family tree and old letters.

The two families never knew each other despite, living nearby for most of their lives, and have now met for the first time.

Dalton says "it was absolutely incredible" to find out she had a fourth cousin living just up the road and the news only got better when she discovered there was a family tree dating back to the 17th century.

"It was pretty awesome," she says.

Robinson was also excited and had never realised the names of her great-great uncles were commemorated on the cenotaph in the town centre near her home.

Both men were killed months apart at the Battle of the Somme in 1916.


Manukau Courier