Monday, 8 July 2019

Family histories

can lead to curious places.
The latest request to land on the website maintained by my brother is not an unusual one. It is simply someone asking if we have any information that might lead to someone finding his grandfather. My  brother sent it to me and, knowing nothing, I passed it on to Cousin M... who did most of the research. If he has come across the name in relation to the family he will let this person know.
Nobody has to do these things of course but genealogy can be important and it can even save lives. It is why some people set out on the journey to find out more about their family. 
There will undoubtedly be some interesting stories uncovered in a new television series called "Every family has a secret". I won't be watching it but I know one person who was approached to take part in it.  She declined. 
Her daughter told us that, in the course of researching what she thought was her family history, her mother discovered that she was not blood-related to her "father". It was a shock.
Her "father" was no longer alive but her mother is. I imagine the conversation between them was very difficult. It has not changed the way this woman feels about the man she had always thought of her as her father. He had no idea.
Apparently such things are not uncommon - but it is the risk you take when you delve into family history.
I remember my mother's shock when I, at her request, tried to find out a little about her family history. She knew something about her father's family and remembered her mother's sister. She knew there was a brother "somewhere". I went off to the local genealogy society one afternoon. It is conveniently located not far from here. I looked up the records and came home. 
When I presented my mother with the information I was told I must have been looking up the wrong family. No, I had not. There was an uncle my mother knew nothing about. He had never been mentioned. No, he hadn't done anything wrong. His sister, my grandmother,  had simply never mentioned him. 
It actually solved a mystery. My grandmother always claimed she had been "given away" to relatives. What had obviously happened was that her mother had been very ill during her pregnancy with  the next (and last) child. My grandmother had been sent to stay with her relatives until the baby was born. She was jealous, so jealous that she never mentioned him again. The family scattered. We know of no issue of any of her siblings. The person I know at the genealogy society very kindly tried to find out more but told me he could find no records. 
Perhaps we do have distant cousins out there somewhere? I don't know. 
What I do know is that the extended clan on the Senior Cat's side actually try to keep in touch.
And that is good. 

1 comment:

jeanfromcornwall said...

Family trees can be very dangerous - unless you are ready and willing to find out that there have been enormous lies told. We have found out a lot on both my and my OH's side, and a lot of attitudes have become explained.
I was very dubious lately - as a "gift" for father's day Ancestry, the genealogy firm were suggesting a DNA test for him. I would have thought that was downright dangerous.

By the way - one of my Grandfathers was born in Australia - on a peach farm at Mildura, to be precise. They didn't stay there though - I think a spell of drought put paid to that and his father had to go back to India to be an engineeer again.