A letter to the Gazette put an Australian woman in touch with family members she didn’t know she had.

Barbara Maddrell, from Sydney, had been trying to find out where her grandparents Albert and Ethel Potter were buried.

Her family had emigrated from Devizes in the 1950s but all contact had been lost with family here. So she wrote to the Gazette and was astonished at the results.

Valerie Phillips, from Common Platt, near Swindon, came upon the letter. Mrs Phillips, 44, who is married with one son, said: “I couldn’t believe my eyes. I said, goodness, that’s my grandparents, too. I e-mailed Barbara straight away and we joined forces to investigate our family history.”

Mrs Maddrell, 49, who is also married with a son, is the daughter of the youngest child of Mr and Mrs Potter while Mrs Phillips is a child of the eldest child.

The two women have been carrying out their investigations into their family on the web through the site Ancestry.com but their most valuable research has been carried out while Mrs Maddrell was visiting the area in recent weeks.

Mrs Maddrell said: “We’ve had such a laugh touring the villages and we’ve come up with some real gold.”

They discovered that their grandparents were married and buried in the church at Orcheston St George on Salisbury Plain, and that Leonard, Albert’s grandad, was born at Imber, the village evacuated during the Second World War.

In fact, the family’s history at Imber goes back to the 17th century. A discovery from more recent times is that their aunt, Lucy Webb, ran a tea house in New Park Street, Devizes.

Mrs Maddrell's original letter that appeared in the Gazette on April 2

I am researching my father’s ancestry and am looking for any descendants of Albert Edward Potter and Ethel Potter (nee Webb).

Albert was a dairyman at various farms in the Wiltshire area in the 1920s and 1930s.

My father was born Albert James Potter (known as Jim) in 1934 at Tinhead but grew up predominantly in Swindon.

He emigrated to Australian in 1955.

I would love to hear from any descendants or anyone that would have information they are willing to share.

I can be contacted on barbara_maddrell@yahoo.com.au or at the address below.

B Maddrell, Unit 4, 30 Wheeler Parade, Dee Why, NSW 2099, Australia