Immigration row grandmother to trace dad
GRANDMOTHER Mary Martin, who was threatened with deportation after immigration officials discovered she was American, is desperate to trace her dad.Miss Martin, a resident in the UK for more than 50 years, won her battle to stay in Britain thanks to pressure from The Evening Star, government ministers and Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer.
GRANDMOTHER Mary Martin, who was threatened with deportation after immigration officials discovered she was American, is desperate to trace her dad.
Miss Martin, a resident in the UK for more than 50 years, won her battle to stay in Britain thanks to pressure from The Evening Star, government ministers and Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer.
It was a complete shock when she discovered she was officially an American citizen – and now she is waiting for a new passport and documents to allow her to stay in Britain and travel without fear.
But the discovery of her American ancestry has led her to try to trace her father, of whom she has heard nothing since she came across the Atlantic as a toddler.
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"I still want to trace my dad – I don't even know if he is alive or dead," said divorcee Miss Martin, 55, who lives with her partner Ed Harrod at Carriage Close, Trimley St Mary.
"But I just would like to know what happened to him and I feel sure I must have some family over in America.
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"It would just be nice to know because its part of my background of which I have no knowledge, it would complete the picture."
Miss Martin has tried using the internet to search but her father's name, James Martin, is not uncommon, and many web sites charge for personal information.
"I paid several dollars on one site which found a number of James Martins in the area where we had lived and I received some addresses. But then they wanted to charge me seventy dollars for more information," she said.
"I cannot afford that and the information I was getting was no use to me. It is like looking for a needle in the haystack."
She is now hoping to use other sources, as well as appealing for help through the Evening Star's Finding Friends web site.
Miss Martin was just two when she arrived with her English-born mum June and brother Walter in 1949 after they fled the USA after her mum's marriage to USAF serviceman Mr Martin ended.
Her mother steadfastly refused to answer questions about her father and so Mary knew little of her early life.
But when her mum died, her papers showed she was born in Baltimore, Maryland.
"When mum was alive she would never tell me about my father. He had treated us badly and she would not talk about it. She had remarried and my step-father was my dad and he loved me. I didn't need to know more," she said.
"She still wouldn't tell me when I was older – old people can be very secretive – because she did not want to cause upset."