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Family secrets, who am I?

(36 Posts)
AlanThePig Mon 11-Feb-19 10:59:05

Apologies, this might be long.

My lovely Dad passed away in 2008, my Mum a few years ago. As a child my Father was teased mercilessly for not looking white. He'd tell me about this. At the time a 'foreigner' stood out like a sore thumb in these parts and my Dad was dark with dark curly hair and brown eyes.

I never really thought much of this until recently. I have been watching a TV show with lots of Mexicans in and many remind me for the world of my Dad. Same dark hair, skin tones etc. I guess I'd always questioned if Dad was illegitimate somewhere in the back of my mind, but it really did come to the fore again.

I joined Ancestry and did a little research. Dad was born in April, my Nana married in the December so it was certainly a shotgun wedding. Grandad is listed on the BC as being Dads Father.

Whilst digging up popped a tree from an estranged Aunt, one of Dads sisters and the only family member alive. Her tree lists my Dad as Father Unknown and the rest of the siblings as half brothers and sisters. It floored me a bit. I pondered the idea of contacting her but I feel no good can come from this.

I'm an only child with no close family and the whole thing upset me a bit. To realise that I've always been a 'surname' but now I might not even be related to that 'surname' is an odd feeling. I'm now questioning who I am.

I have ordered a DNA kit to see if that gives me any answers. If my Dad was indeed mixed race then will it show me that I am 25% mixed? Do I stand any chance of finding any relatives from my real Grandfather?

Thanks all.

buttons101 Mon 11-Feb-19 12:23:07

Wow, every family has skeletons in the closet but that must have come as quite a shock!

For the DNA test, there's no guarantee that you'll share the same DNA regions (where it shows genetic ethnicity) but anyone who is related to you will show in the DNA matches. So if any of the people that are on that person's tree come back as a match then it may be worth reaching out.

That said, I wouldn't put too much trust in family trees that people have built without proper sources attached. I've seen all sorts of daft things like Cleopatra and Jesus popping up in people's family trees 😅

Aprilshowersarecomingsoon Mon 11-Feb-19 12:25:43

As cheesy as it sounds op, the fact you had a lovely dad is an amazing family fact imo!!
More relevant than his dna.

explodingkitten Mon 11-Feb-19 12:26:08

You can still try contacting the aunt. You're not in contact now, worst case nothing will have changed. If she is a bit of a godsip she'll tell you a juicy tale.

AlanThePig Mon 11-Feb-19 14:01:20

For now I'm going to wait and see what the results come back as.
I guess it changes nothing. Grandad died when I was one so I never knew him and my dad was an amazing man. I'm just curious really who I am other than my parents if that makes sense.

The flip side is the aunt always was a bit of a cow so this could be something vexatious on her part. Hence waiting to see if dna sheds any light.

ReaganSomerset Mon 11-Feb-19 14:09:30

So, was your dad's sister significantly older than him? If not, I'm struggling to see how she'd know anything and would imagine she just thought he didn't look white enough. And if there's an estrangement due to some sort of strife she may quite like the idea of your dad being illegitimate.

Iamtheworst Mon 11-Feb-19 14:12:03

I’m doing much the same, albeit further back. We always “knew” my dad grandad was “born on the wrong side of the blanket” but nope, there’s his birth certificate with his father named and signed. Family lore is patchy at best.
Also the skin tone one is difficult. My Ds has a genetic condition so has no skin pigment, I don’t have much so it’s never remarked on. However my mums aunty has the same colouring and was born 10 years after her siblings, family lore was she wasn’t related to the rest of the very dark skinned (Mediterranean looking) family. Looking she clearly had the same gene as my son.

Even if you’re not related to the surname, think about gaining a new identity in addition not losing the one you have.

I second the pp about other people research being terrible, obviously mine is perfections grin

AlanThePig Mon 11-Feb-19 15:35:18

ReaganSomerset that's exactly what I'm thinking. Dad is the oldest and was always really the 'head of the family', sister the youngest and possibly resentful, especially as Dad was by far the closest to my Nan throughout her life.
Nan and Grandads relationship was legendarily tumultuous and they did live apart for a lot of the marriage. Unless Nan told her anything (which I doubt) then I can't see how she'd know anything other than rumour, this is why I'm loathe to get in touch.

Also worth noting that Aunt was the only one to look like my Grandad. The others are very alike, just my Dad being so much darker, almost Egyptian looking but certainly favouring Nan.

I'm concentrating on Mums side for now until the DNA comes back. Her side was great. One of my Uncles ran off with Barnums Circus 😂

toomanyofthemnow Mon 11-Feb-19 15:52:25

The first thing that popped out of your post to me is that this tree has been done by an 'estranged' aunt. Why is she estranged - has there been some family rift in years gone by?

Is the of the generation which might frown on a baby being conceived out of wedlock?

AlanThePig Mon 11-Feb-19 16:40:19

Funny story that was made for MN really too. Dad and his Sister were reasonably close until I was born. To trim a very long story my parents had been married for many years and after losing a child at birth could not conceive. Mum had made no secret of the name she chose should a baby come along. Aunt had a DD and gave her the name.
Mum wasn't bothered especially and when I was born as a bit of a shock I was still given that name, albeit a different spelling.

Aunt was furious and it culminated in her accusing my Nan of being disloyal to her for not being annoyed by it. In the end the Aunt pinned a note on her door on Christmas Eve to say Nan wasn't welcome and to leave the gifts for the Grandchildren and never darken her doorstep again.

After that they never really spoke again. Sad really over a name that isn't all that special.
I saw my cousins occasionally as they became old enough to visit Nan of their own accord but I never really knew this Aunt. She is still alive as I said, the last remaining of the children. I lost track of the cousins and can't find them on Facebook etc

Nan married in 1933 so yes, bit of a scandal at the time I suspect.

beanaseireann Sun 17-Feb-19 15:33:08

I'd want nothing to do with that awful aunt.
How cruel to your Nan, your Mum and Dad, you and your cousins.
It will be very interesting what comes back from your DNA.

RomanyQueen1 Sun 03-Mar-19 20:28:20

I did my DNA test, the one on Ancestry and it answered no questions at all. I don't quite understand but to get certain results the right family member needs to submit theirs, as well.

AlanThePig Mon 04-Mar-19 11:01:45

That's a shame romany.
In fully prepared to learn nothing from this though it will be a touch disappointing.

Test is there and processing anyway so about five weeks left.

whinetime89 Mon 04-Mar-19 11:06:16

Something similar happened to us but with Indian heritage. Turns out who my great grandfather thought his father was isn't true. So it has come to light that what we thought was the family name is actually different and obviously a whole lot of undiscovered family

AlanThePig Mon 04-Mar-19 11:16:33

Did you discover anything of use through Ancestry DNA @whinetime89 ?

RomanyQueen1 Mon 04-Mar-19 11:26:29


I was really upset tbh, and it bears no resemblance to the records I have gained.
Ancestry itself is so useful though, if it wasn't for this I'd have no idea of my roots, so it's brilliant for this.
I know for e.g I have Scottish and Welsh Ancestry, going right back. Not a mention of these in my DNA but 35% Irish which for such a high amount I can't trace anywhere. I hope they didn't get it mixed up, there really is no Irish anywhere for at least 200 years on any side.

beanaseireann Mon 04-Mar-19 20:43:26

Ah but Romany, there must be.
Other side of the blanket maybe wink

RomanyQueen1 Mon 04-Mar-19 21:04:57

It would be a huge story and they would have had to leave all their family and community though.
My nn says it all grin Have nothing against Irish travellers btw it would have been the same for them too.
I guess I'll never know.
Surely 35% must be pretty recent though, surely a parent/ grandparent and that doesn't fit at all.

AlanThePig Mon 04-Mar-19 21:53:56

I was always led to believe that my father's side were of Irish descent so that one will be interesting to see, especially if grandad wasn't grandad.
Interesting results though romany and now posing more questions than its answered. Did you flag any relatives at all?

RomanyQueen1 Wed 06-Mar-19 12:38:37


It's difficult in my case as I'm adopted, I have gone right back through about 5/6 generations though and definitely no Irish. A bit of Scottish but predominantly Welsh. It seems like none of the DNA passed to me included Welsh and both my grandma and great grandma were Welsh.
I have linked to my tree though and have been in touch with a cousin in Canada, through Ancestry.
Why is there always a Canadian grin I understand Australia as my ancestors were sent there just for being gypsy. sad

RomanyQueen1 Wed 06-Mar-19 12:42:32

Alan, have you looked how the DNA tests are done, and what they include?
I hope you get the answers you want, but if you don't I believe there are certain family members you have that along with your DNA can answer more questions.
I don't have the relevant family members to get much more than I have. My ds2 had his done but of course is 50% dh, so it doesn't help much.

MargoLovebutter Wed 06-Mar-19 12:46:21

I'm adopted and I did the Ancestry DNA test too. It did confirm roughly what I'd been told of my family background. It is only their best guess based on other DNA, so mine has changed twice since I submitted my DNA. Once it changed to be more away from what I'd been told and then it changed back a bit. I sometimes wonder if they just make it up! wink

RomanyQueen1 Wed 06-Mar-19 12:49:25


I was told nothing, just their names. I'm sure you can imagine what a shock it was to find every Romany surname in my tree, and of course descended from royalty, which is true grin

MargoLovebutter Wed 06-Mar-19 12:51:27

Aren't we all Romany! wink. It is fascinating though isn't it? I think specially for adopted people, as our information is so limited, or in your case non-existent.

tierraJ Wed 06-Mar-19 13:02:05

I'm trying to find out my great grans origins as she had long black wavy hair & dark olive skin but it's proving difficult. She's the only great grandparent who I can't trace.

I'm interested as my sister takes after her looks wise & has suffered racial abuse for her 'mixed race' appearance. (Very curly dark hair, olive skin, brown eyes, etc).
Before he lost his hair my dad had black curly hair.

It's bad enough being abused when you know your origins but when you don't it's just confusing!
Personally I take after my Scottish great grandad with pale skin & frizzy blonde hair, no one believes we're sisters which is sad.

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