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Finding biological father (British soldier)

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  • Finding biological father (British soldier)

    Hi all,

    For many years now I have been trying to help my father find his biological father. He was adopted at 18 months by his stepfather, and the only information we have about his biological father is from the birth certificate which states his name Jack Ratchford, his army number and that he was a British soldier. He was serving in Malacca, Malaysia (where my grandmother is from) in the early 60s. My grandmother says he was from Yorkshire.

    We recently did a Family Finder test and disappointingly received no matches with anyone of the name Ratchford (my grandmother insists this was his name). Additionally, because all British war records after 1919 are still confidential, I cannot search these to find any clues via his army number. So once again I'm at a dead end.

    My next thought is to do a Y-DNA test to look more closely at his father's line. I would appreciate any advice you could give me about what my best chances might be, both with DNA tests, and with searching from someone from this time with so little information. Naturally, should he still be alive, we don't want to disturb him. Just a photo and some indication of who he was would feed this lifelong curiosity...

    Thank you in advance!

  • #2
    You want to look at your closest matches that are English.

    In doing a quick search of family trees at ancestry, there might be one fellow that fits. John Ratchford lived 1941-2004 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. His parents were John Ratchford and Winifred Frost. Other related surnames are Belwood, Poultney, Walton, Row, Steele, and Rodman.

    If you can find a DNA link to any of those names, you might be on the right track. I have no knowledge of this family and this is just a guess.

    Good Luck with your search.


    • #3
      Thanks for your response! I've checked our results and sadly none of those names match so the search continues. Maybe a Y test will be more helpful...


      • #4
        You may want to try an alternative. Visit one of the UK Forces Sites that has a Community Forum. has a 'Lost Trails' page for those seeking others.
        You have his Name, Service Number and the fact he was in Malaysia in the early 60s (exact year and dob of your Grandfather would be better); there are a lot of guys on those sites who may help you further. British Army Numbers are issued in Batches so it is quite possible that others who enlisted at the same time (and place) and possibly also served in Malaysia will still be around (probably in their 70s/80s and active). What was his number (23xxxxxx I assume?) I can compare it to my own.
        Alternatively try
        Last edited by dagian; 28 November 2017, 04:18 PM. Reason: Changed link


        • #5
          I have sent a PM giving some further advice.