Last month on January 17, 65-year-old Janette Casey had an advertisement published in the Tumut and Adelong Times.
“Looking For Lost Relatives”, it read.
Jan was on a search to find out more about her father and his family. She was born in Tumut and has vague memories of her dad from early childhood, however he left when she was five. Jan was moved to Sydney with her sisters at nine years of age when her mother remarried, and was told that her father had died.
She knew very few details about her father, stating in the advertisement that “he was a ‘gun’ shearer in the Tumut area, a jack of all trades and also worked for the Batlow Bowling Club.”
Before her mother’s passing, she confessed to Jan that her father hadn’t actually died. In the late 80s Jan got in the car and drove straight to Batlow, arriving at the Batlow Bowling Club hoping to find her father. The man at the Club greeted her and instantly knew whose daughter she was, saying she was the “spitting image” of her dad.
Unfortunately, Jan missed seeing her father by only three months, as he had passed away.
Defeated, she returned home, almost losing hope. But just last year, she had the idea to put a notice in the paper.
“When my husband passed away last May from cancer, I said to him ‘I’m gonna see if I can find if I’ve got any relations in Tumut.’ He said, ‘you do that, Jan.’ I said, ‘I’m gunna, darl.’ That’s why I put the ad in the paper.”
“I just thought I needed to see if there was anyone out there who could tell me a little bit about him (her father), because I didn’t know him.”
The morning the newspaper was published, Batlow resident Alan Casey was sitting down for his morning cup of tea and spotted the ad in the newspaper. A first cousin of Jan’s, he contacted her right away and the two have been talking ever since.
“Alan Casey from Batlow opened the paper and here it was, he couldn’t believe it,” Jan said.
Alan reached out to his sister, Judith – another first cousin of Jan’s – and told her what had happened. Jan said that she has now been chatting with Judith “every third day.”
Jan also heard from another relative, Daniel, since the advertisement was published.
Later this year in April, Jan, her friend Terry Coman, her sister Maureen and her sister’s husband will all be travelling to Batlow to meet her long-lost relatives.
“The fact that I’m going to meet his brothers’ and sisters’ children is just amazing,” she said.
“And their children, and grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren, it’s going to be absolutely wonderful.”
Alan has a collection of photographs and paperwork ready to show Jan when she arrives, something she is very much looking forward to and has longed to see for many years. There are also talks of a large family reunion being planned for later in the year, so Jan will “get to meet everyone.”
“I’m going to meet my relations that I’ve never met before. 65 years of age, isn’t that amazing.”
Jan’s search may not quite be over yet, as she said “there’s so many [relatives] that they don’t know as well.”
If you have any connection to the Casey family or have any information about Jan’s father William Joseph (Joe) Casey, please contact her at [email protected] or 0411 088 727.