So Who Is He? Part V

This is risky.

However, I am running out of ideas.

There are challenges inherent in cases of adoption, where dodgy pre-adoption paperwork and the lack of legal recognition where genealogy based DNA research is concerned. It limits one’s options regarding the tracing of a close biological relative.

Essentially, because Bio Granddad is not on the pre-adoption birth certificate and also isn’t named in any of the adoption papers that were filled out by the social worker at the time of Mum’s birth, most agencies and charities that offer tracing services for adoptees are unable to help us find him. Autosomal DNA is not recognised as a valid form of evidence in these instances. Whilst I understand why, it’s still pretty frustrating.

I feel like I am running out of time. 

One particular agency had accepted us past the application process, however as of a week and a half ago, it would appear that there is a pretty big roadblock, the aforementioned lack of a paper trail connecting Bio Granddad to Mum that will quite possibly prevent further progress. Ugh. The case worker from the agency is exploring other possible avenues for us to look into, but I am a realist. I am not holding out hope that it will come to anything.

So, I am taking matters into my own hands. 

Everyone was so helpful when I made the first post about the search over a year ago, I thought that perhaps by introducing the man that DNA testing has led me to, you could keep that helpfulness going!

So let me introduce Douglas Purcill. 

Douglas Purcill, 1957.  Photo: from H’s personal collection, shared with permission.
Douglas Purcill 1994
Douglas in 1994. Photo: from H’s personal collection, shared with permission.

Douglas is the youngest son of Andrew Francis and Linda Mary Purcill (nee Saxby), born in 1938. He was the only living son of this couple at the time of Mum’s conception. He was living within 20 minutes of where Vicki, Mum’s biological mother was living and working at the time (Callan Park Mental Hospital).

I believe he could still be alive. 

With that knowledge in mind, I began searching the NSW Electoral Rolls at the Mitchell Library in Sydney. When I couldn’t find him in the most recent roll available (2008, NSW wide), I went back to the last known year he had been living at the address in question, 1985-this was listed as his address on his Mum Linda’s death certificate. He was there in 1985, according to the roll. There is a gap in the records between 1986-1987 and when I looked in the 1988 roll in the relevant electorate, I noted that Douglas was no longer living at the same address.

So I widened my search to all electorates across NSW for 1988. But nope. Not there.

I searched other states of Australia. Nope. Not there.

I turned my focus to death records (with that cold feeling of dread kicking in), I searched for Douglas in the following databases and record sets (alternating Douglas’ surname between Purcill/Purcell in each and the dates being up until present day):

  • Find A Grave (Nationally and internationally)
  • Ryerson Index
  • Woronora Cemetery
  • Rookwood Cemetery
  • Botany Cemetery
  • Dungog Cemetery

But nope. He wasn’t in any of these records or databases.

Our last piece of evidence indicating that Douglas’ was alive post 1988? The photo from 1994, featured above. It was taken at a family wedding. After that, Douglas seems to disappear, having lost contact with H and her Mum after that point too. He used to make regular visits to H and the family in Dungog up until then.

For 24 years, they have wondered where he ended up. And now that Mum and I have burst onto the scene, the need to find out where he is or what happened to him has been intensified.

So what else do we know?

We know that he worked in disability transport at some stage and that he had spoken at one stage about moving to New Zealand to work. Whether or not that came to fruition has yet to be determined. This year, he would be 80 years old. Hence my concern that we are running out of time. He lived in Redfern, and also seems to have a connection to North Parramatta and Appin. And, as far as we are aware, he never knew about Vicki’s pregnancy. Other than that, we honestly don’t have much more than this. He is an elusive one!

**UPDATE (3/10/18): I received a call from the agency that has been working on tracing Douglas. After an extensive search completed by them across Australia, it has been concluded that he is not in the country, nor has he died here. The focus is now being turned to New Zealand.**

So where to from here?

I would really like to find Douglas, obviously. Not one to leave things to chance, I’d love 100% confirmation of his relationship to us should that be possible.

Do you know a Douglas Purcill?

The spelling of his surname is unusual, with it usually being spelled as Purcell. Who knows, he may be going by that spelling. But on every document I’ve seen, the first one has been used.

I am asking you to share this with everyone you know. Help us to find this final piece of the puzzle.

My only request here is that, if you do know Douglas and he happens to be alive as I suspect, you do not unload all this information on him.

Please contact me via this page and we can discuss where to go from there. This is very important as whilst we have been told that this information would be received positively by him, it’s still a lot to process and the overall outcome of all of this will be coloured by the way in which we approach making contact.

It’s also important to say here that we don’t expect anything of him, regardless of what we have been told about him. Mum would love the chance to meet her biological father, but is also prepared for any eventuality. As am I.

It’s crazy to think, after nearly two years that we are at this point.

Closer, closer…

8 Comments Add yours

  1. flissie says:

    Oh, what a mixture of emotions you would be carrying. I do so much wish for a happy ending for you and your mother. (Sharing for you)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. crissouli says:

    I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at

    Thank you, Chris


  3. Jaclynn McKenzie says:

    You have worked very hard and with a lot of creativity to find your grandfather. I admire what you have done so far and wish you the best in your search. I could suggest that you try searching on TROVE as that has uncovered a few mysteries for me, as you might uncover something that mentions him leaving the country perhaps.


    1. Thankyou Jacklynn! I will definitely have a look at Trove, it can’t hurt! 🙂


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