Vague childhood memory became an emotional roller coaster for Maisie.
When she was just three Maisie Lyall overheard an argument that was to haunt her for the rest of her life.
The woman, who had always been told she was an only child, had a hint, and an instinct that she was not alone.
Sixty eight years later, she finally called on professional help to determine if she was right and was blown away by the result.
Her mother did have another daughter four years Maisie’s junior but she took the secret of the birth with her to the grave.
Now 71-year-old Scots gran Maisie, who never knew her father’s identity, is in a race against time to find her sister before it’s too late.
She broke down as she told The Sunday Post: “It’s strange, we’ve never met but I know I love her. I always felt I had a sister. I just want to find her now before my own life is over.
“I’m 71 and not getting any younger, my sister would be 67 now. It would mean so much just to be able to see her face and talk to her.”
Maisie, who lives in Gairloch on Scotland’s west coast with her husband, former hotelier George Lyall, 76, was born Mary Glancy in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, where she lived with her mum Isabella Mary Smail Glancy, and her grandmother.
She says: “My birth record does not list my father’s name.
“My mother never, ever raised the topic of who my father was, nor did I ever ask her about him. But an argument I overhead between my mother and grandmother when I was three or four has stuck in my mind all these years.
“I remember my grandmother telling my mum that she: ‘was having no more, even it if was a girl.’
“Those words eventually gelled into a question in my mind, did I have a sister?
“But I never asked my mum. Illegitimacy was so taboo back them, I suppose I didn’t want to embarrass her.
“I also remember another argument and my grandmother saying ‘that James Grant had a lot to answer for’ those words stayed with me too.”
After her mother died in 1993, aged 75, Maisie began to wonder in earnest and earlier this year she asked for the help of Stuart Gray, a geneaologist from Scot Scan Ancestral Research, who began searching birth records.
Maisie says: “He phoned on the mobile when I was driving. I
normally don’t answer it when I’m in the car but I had a feeling it was important. I pulled over on a straight stretch of road, put on my hazard lights and took the call.
“He blew me away with the news.
“My mother had given birth to a daughter on June 11 1946, and named her Jamesina Grant Glancy. She was put up for adoption.
She adds: “Mr Gray told me that my sister’s name pointed to her father’s name probably one James Grant. Further investigation in my family records confirmed that there was no relative, going back several generations, by that name after whom Jamesina Grant Glancy might have been named.
“It seemed that although my mother had never discussed or even told me of Jamesina, that she was recording who the father of Jamesina had been.
“The name James Grant did however stir a memory within me. I had heard that name somewhere in my past vaguely mentioned in relation to my own father. Jamesina and I might also have the same father. “
Hope sprang for Maisie as she said: “Mr Gray could not find a marriage or death certificate for Jamesina, so she must be out there somewhere, although her name may have been changed.”
Maisie, who has a grown-up son and daughter and three step-grandchildren, retired from her work in relief social care at a care home for the elderly in February.
Since then she has turned over every stone in her attempt to find the sister she has never met.
Her last resort is to make an appeal in the pages of favourite family newspaper, The Sunday Post.
Mr Gray says: “Maisie’s case is unique, and remarkable, in my experience. Her inquiry was based on nothing more than a vague
memory and gut instinct and she was bang on.”
Maisie is worried her sister may harbour resentment that she was put up for adoption.
But she stresses her mother would have loved her and would have been pressured into the decision by her own mother and society of the day.
And, through tears, she pleads: “If you are, or you know of, a female who was born in Scotland on June 11 1946, please, please get in touch with me.
“I can be reached via Stuart Gray, Scot Scan Ancestral Research.
“I’m here desperately waiting for your call.”
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