I received an email in late August 2003 from Noreen Chapin Smith, aged 81, who lives in Toronto. She had been searching the internet for references to her father Sydney, who had served in both the Boer War, and on the Western front. She came upon the following reference to him
My father, Lt.Col.Sydney H. Chapin DSO was one of the lucky ones, he fought in the Matabeleland war of 1896, the four years of the Boer wa...
Unfortunately for Noreen that particular entry in the Aftermath guestbook was one of those lost in July when I had a technical problem with the database in which all the entries are stored, and also discovered that my backup system had been failing for a couple of months. I have been unable to retrieve any of the messages posted from late March till early July.
Noreen's parents divorced when her father was 51 years old, and she was just four years old. Her brother Robert died in 1997. You can imagine her shock when she read the first words of that message. "My father, Lt Col Sydney Chapin..."
It seems that she has a brother or sister she knows nothing about, who will almost certainly be able to fill in the gaps in her own knowledge of her father.
So I've agreed to try and help her track down the person who left the message sometime between March and July 2003. She's given me what information she has about her father, and perhaps even if you aren't Noreen's missing sibling, you may know something about them, or about her father.
Sydney H Chapin was born in New York in 1875 to Sydney & Ellen. He was a doctor (MD)and lost an eye while serving with the 4th Dragoon Guards (Noreen thinks that happened in September 1915).
I will be passing this plea for information to other sites which may be able to help, but it would be nice if the Aftermath website helps finish the search which it inadvertently started.
If you think you can help then please contact me via the email page.
UPDATE 8 September 2003
Well, it's great to report this story has a happy ending. I heard nothing for a couple of weeks after I posted the above article, and then Simon Green got in touch. He'd done a search on a genealogy site and had found a message from a Cynthia Chapin in Florida, referring to her husband's father - guess who - Lt Col Sydney Chapin who had fought in the South African war. Simon emailed Cynthia, and discovered that she and her husband Monty had seen a message from Noreen on the same genealogy website and had been trying to contact her without success.
So, I emailed Noreen, giving her Cynthia's email address and telephone number. I soon received an email from a very happy Noreen, who has discovered not only does she have a brother she had no knowledge of, but also a sister. Wonderful thing, the internet...