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Australian discovers she is related to JK Rowling after tracing family history to Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 10:27 19 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:28 19 November 2018

Roxanne began to research her great grandfather - Henry Smith, she came across Eliza and ancestry trail began. Picture: Contributed

Roxanne began to research her great grandfather - Henry Smith, she came across Eliza and ancestry trail began. Picture: Contributed

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A woman who travelled from down under to Suffolk to trace her family history discovered she is related to Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

Roxanne Salt pictured at her great grandfather's grave. Picture: ContributedRoxanne Salt pictured at her great grandfather's grave. Picture: Contributed

Roxanne Salt, who is from Sydney in Australia, became interested in her family ties to Lowestoft after her grandfather, Stanley Eric Smith, died in 1986.

It wasn’t until she began to research her great grandfather Henry Smith that she realised the remarkable connection.

“My grandfather worked on the ships and when he came to Australia he met my grandmother and decided to stay,” she said.

While visiting Suffolk, Ms Salt was determined to find out what happened to her grandfather when he was orphaned aged four.

Her grandfather (pictured middle) visited the grave of Violet Wegg who looked after him after he was orphaned. Picture: ContributedHer grandfather (pictured middle) visited the grave of Violet Wegg who looked after him after he was orphaned. Picture: Contributed

She said: “I’m not sure if there are any relatives left in Lowestoft and my grandfather was orphaned at age four so I came to a lot of dead ends.”

JK Rowling is the celebrated author of the Harry Potter series, and in 2011 traced her family back to Kessingland and Gorleston on television programme Who Do You Think You Are.

The author’s great grandmother Eliza Mary Ann Smith was born in Kessingland on August 26, 1874.

At the age of 25 she married French-born Louis Volant on January 22 in Gorleston and the couple went on to have four children, one of whom was Stanley George Volant, the grandfather of JK Rowling.

Stanley Eric Smith was grew up in this house in Oulton Broad, this picture was taken when he visited Suffolk in 1974. Picture: ContributedStanley Eric Smith was grew up in this house in Oulton Broad, this picture was taken when he visited Suffolk in 1974. Picture: Contributed

“I just wanted to learn more about my family, when I realised JK Rowling‘s great-grandmother was my grandfather’s half-sister I was excited,” Ms Salt said.

Despite the newfound family knowledge, she wasn’t distracted from her quest - to find out what happened to her grandfather as a child. She said:“My main aim is to track down what happened to my pop when he was orphaned, why none of his brothers or sisters brought him up.

“Pop was the only child of Henry and Myra but there were about 12 children including Eliza from his first wife Elizabeth.

“I have done a lot of research looking at the census but I keep hitting brick walls when it comes to my pop and his mum Myra.

File photo dated 07/11/11 of JK Rowling who The Duchess of Cornwall has described as File photo dated 07/11/11 of JK Rowling who The Duchess of Cornwall has described as "brilliant". Camilla supports a number of literacy initiatives and organisations in the UK and was visiting a public library in Colombo to praise schoolchildren from all backgrounds in an annual writing competition. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday November 15, 2013. She also presented a prize to Shenuka Corea, the overall winner of the 2012 Commonwealth Essay Competition, which has been run by the Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883. See PA story ROYAL Tour Literacy. Photo credit should read: David Cheskin/PA Wire

“Pop didn’t talk about it but he went back to Lowestoft in 1974 and met up with some of his brothers and sisters.”

If you have any information, contact Roxanne_Salt@yahoo.com.au

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