Can you help New Zealander June trace her long lost family in Carluke?

Family affair...Shirley and June want to trace relatives of June's father John Wilson
Family affair...Shirley and June want to trace relatives of June's father John Wilson

THE popular STV series Long Lost Family has had viewers in floods of tears watching families being reunited after decades apart.

And now the Gazette is asking readers to play the roles of Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell to help reunite one octogenarian, living in New Zealand, with the relatives of her father.

The lady in question is 83-year-old June Holman, who now lives in Auckland.

June grew up in Hamilton and became a hairdresser, met and married her husband Douglas and had three daughters.

Mrs Holman wants to find out more about – and speak to long lost relatives of – her father John Wilson, who was born in Carluke in 1898.

Mrs Holman’s cousin, Shirley Stirling, who also lives in New Zealand, contacted members of Carluke Parish Historical Society to help solve the mystery.

Shirley said: “John moved to New Zealand and married Hannah Oldham in 1930 in Hamilton; June was born in 1931.

“While June was an infant the marriage broke down and her parents separated.

“June has no living memory of her father, has never seen a photo and has no idea what he might have looked like.

“She has some history of the Wilson family but no photos.”

Research has shown that according to the 1901 census, the Wilson family were living in the Whorleyburn area on the outskirts of the town near the mine which was owned by Wilsons & Clyde Coal Co. Ltd.

John’s father William (46) was listed as a miner as were three of his sons – Robert (21), Alexander (20) and 14-year-old William.

Other family members listed at the address were William’s wife Marion (46); 17-year-old Marion, Jeannie (15), Martha (12), Andrew (10), eight-year-old James, Lizzie (7) and then baby John.

Shirley said: “There were three members of the family we know that came to New Zealand.

“John’s eldest brother Robert emigrated. He married an Annie Ruthven and they had two daughters.

“John’s sister Martha also moved here. She married a man called McGarry; June met her once back in 1948.

“We are not sure if other family members emigrated to other parts of the world.

“We know that Robert and Annie Wilson farmed at Patetonga on the Hauraki Plains and that they are buried in the Totara Memorial Cemetery about three kilometres south of Thames.

“Martha Wilson McGarry was cremated and her ashes interred in Purewa Cemetery, Auckland.”

The family’s research has also uncovered John Wilson’s untimely death in 1951.

He collapsed in Lanark’s Kildare Road walking home from work and died shortly afterwards. The cause of death was given as Coronary Thrombosis.

John is buried in Carluke’s Wilton Cemetery with the owner of the lair being given as Alexander Wilson of 31 Kings Crescent, Carluke.

Christine Warren, from Carluke Parish Historical Society, said: “We have been trying to make enquiries but without a lot of success.

“We would hope that someone in the town would know and would help the family.”

Are you a distant relative or do you have information on John Wilson and his family?

Call the Gazette office on 01555 772226 or email us at clgazette@jnscotland.co.uk.

Alternatively you can email Shirley direct at shirley.stirling@xtra.co.nz.