Adopted Jill’s family search

Jill Scrivener - LEFT - who is searching for her birth family having been adopted in 1947
Jill Scrivener - LEFT - who is searching for her birth family having been adopted in 1947
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A South Yorkshire-born woman who was adopted almost 66 years ago is trying to trace her long-lost relatives - including the mother who turns 90 today.

Jill Scrivener was born named Valerie Cawthray on Valentine’s Day in February 1947, to Joan Cawthray and her husband James.

But on November 7, 1947, an order was made for Jill’s adoption.

Now aged 66, she has been researching her family history on the internet and, although she has found out some interesting details, her search has ground to a halt.

“I am desperate for information about why I was put up for adoption when my mother was married, and I would love to find any long-lost brothers or sisters,” said Jill.

“I have hit a brick wall and am wondering whether the people of South Yorkshire can throw any light on my past.”

Jill was born in Doncaster, and adopted by a bus driver, Dennis Starkey, and his wife Dorothy, and raised in Chesterfield.

Her birth mother Joan Cawthray, nee Elsom - whose 90th birthday is today - is listed on her birth certificate but, intriguingly, the space for her father’s name remains blank.

Jill wonders whether James Cawthray, a gunner in the Royal Horse Artillery, left his wife for some reason, leaving Joan no option but to have her child adopted and return to her parents on Wellington Street in Doncaster.

Recently Jill has discovered a second marriage certificate for her mother.

On May 27, 1950, Joan Cawthray - by then aged 27 - married widower Fred Allott, 46, a newsagent with a shop on Wostenholm Road in Nether Edge, Sheffield.

Jill hopes someone might remember Fred and Joan Allott in their newspaper shop or, if they had children, that Jill may have some half siblings.

Jill, who now lives in Hampshire, said: “I don’t bear my parents any ill feeling. I would just love to solve the mystery of why I was given up.

“If I find some long-lost relatives along the way, that would be a bonus.”

Email any information, however small, to Rosanna Greenstreet at