Julia Bell’s interest in detective work was piqued as a child of 10 when she made a promise, she said she would find her mother’s American WW2 GI father, her mother had long wondered who he was and about her real identity.

Could Julia provide the answers? Julia did not know how she’d do it but always believed she’d eventually be successful and reunite her mother with her biological family.

Arthur Garrett
Arthur Garrett

After lots of dead ends with incomplete and incorrect data, Julia was finally able to identify her mother’s father with DNA. He was: Arthur Benager Garrett 1925-2009 born in Alabama. Professional genetic genealogist Angie Bush gave Julia invaluable help and guidance and through her, Julia gleaned her skill set.

In 1945, 19-year-old handsome Army scout, Arthur Garrett, of the 29th Infantry Division was in hospital in England. Whilst recovering from illness, he met his English girlfriend, Margaret Brooks from Devon. Helen, their daughter, was born in 1945 and adopted by a loving family. She never met either biological parent.

In 2016 Julia, her mother and father travelled to North Carolina to meet her mother’s half siblings for the first time: Dallas, Mike, Faye and Ralph. Julia, her mother and family were given a very warm welcome and enjoyed their first American Thanksgiving. This has been a life changing experience for all involved.

Although Arthur died in 2009, amazingly Julia and her mother were able to watch a video Arthur made 4 years before his death which talks about his affection for Margaret Brooks, and he especially notes the kindness shown to him as a teenager away from home for the first time in a foreign country. Truly a message from beyond the grave. Tantalisingly, Arthur ends the recording with ’that’s the whole story as far as I know it’ and tails off wistfully looking directly at the camera.

Did he know about Helen, Julia’s mother, but have no way to find her so many years later? We will never know…

Helen Brooks
Helen Brooks

Julia understands and empathises with others who experience the nagging ache of not knowing who their parents were and knows first-hand how the painful echoes can be felt and realised down through the generations.

She genuinely cares for all she works with. She is delighted that there is now a way to give people the contentment that answers can provide. She is keen that others understand that these answers once impossible are now possible due to DNA advances.

Helen Brooks, the daughter of Margaret L.A. Brooks 1924-2000 and Arthur B. Garrett 1925-2009
Father found in 2014 with DNA with no name to go on.