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Ohmigosh - a scandal uncovered

(98 Posts)
grannyactivist Tue 02-Mar-21 18:14:30

I've been researching my family history for years, firstly the old fashioned way and latterly through various genealogy sites. A year ago I took a DNA test, but (due to ill health+covid+busy working) haven't really had much of an opportunity to do much in the way of follow up. Now and again I check the DNA site, but with few close matches there's been nothing to stir my interest....until yesterday.

My cousin (uncle's son who lives in Australia) has also recently joined the site and taken a DNA test, which popped up as a close match. But not quite as close as it should be! It seems he is my HALF first cousin, which confirms an old rumour that my mum was not fathered by the man we think of as our grandad. Mum is a blue eyed blonde who was spoilt and adored by her mum, whereas her two siblings and the wider family were all dark haired and dark eyed. Ironically my grandad's mum also had a child that was not fathered by her husband, but his parents stayed together.

I have wondered why I don't have a single DNA match to my grandad's line of the family and now I know. Other family members have agreed to be tested just for confirmation, but I'm already convinced as it makes sense of why my mother was so exceptionally cossetted and fussed by her mum, and why my mum's character is so different to that of her siblings.

Ilovecheese Tue 02-Mar-21 18:42:18

How do you feel about this?
Are you glad you have found out, or do you wish that you hadn't? Or neither? I am just interested, tell me to mind my own business if you like.

Esspee Tue 02-Mar-21 18:45:52

I too get such a buzz when making discoveries in my family history. Only this afternoon I at last found my great grandmother’s death certificate after trying repeatedly for months.
Her name was Fanny. My grandfather, for an unknown reason registered her death under the name Frances. Her birth certificate and every legal document throughout her life she was Fanny. Had Fanny turned into a rude world by that date? Did he truly believe Fanny was simply a nickname?
I may never know.

trisher Tue 02-Mar-21 18:53:34

There's all sorts of skeletons in our family closet about who was the real mum (child was brought up in a foster family, but no legal paperwork just family stories) for my great grandad. Where my grandmother was in 1911 . A great grandmother whose mother never married but had two children (no father named). I think the idea that in the past people got married, had children and never looked at another person is just wrong. Oh and both my grans were pregnant when they married. Scandals and skeletons abound!

grannyactivist Tue 02-Mar-21 19:54:59

Ilovecheese being very pragmatic I’m simply delighted to have solved the mystery of not finding a DNA connection to my grandad’s side of the family. It hasn’t altered the way I feel about my grandad, he was a lovely man, but not without fault, but it certainly explains the family dynamic between my nana and her three children. My mother is very different, in every way imaginable to her older and younger siblings.

I have a cousin who I suspect may be distressed to know that her beloved nana had an affair, so I don’t plan to tell her unless she asks outright (not very likely) about my DNA discoveries. It doesn’t alter her heritage, only mine and my siblings.

Oopsadaisy1 Tue 02-Mar-21 20:16:13

ilovecheese past history ‘skeletons’ are fine, amusing and make it more interesting.
More recent findings bring real heartache and floods of tears and can be very difficult, if not impossible to sort out.

LadyBella Tue 02-Mar-21 20:20:57

Even though we have all the science at our disposal I think we need to let sleeping dogs lie. I was delighted to find out my grandparents "had to" get married as they were expecting a baby. Shameful back in the 1920s but I felt pleased to know that they had been happy once before mental illness and physical illness took their toll on them. They were probably ashamed back then. Seems silly now.

Luckygirl Tue 02-Mar-21 22:20:55

It is all so fascinating. I am about to move back to a tiny rural village, where we used to live with the children before my OH and I needed a bungalow and had to move. Now that my OH has died I am moving back there to be with all my lovely friends.

A friend did my family tree - I was born in London and brought up in Devon and Essex. All my known relatives/ antecedents were also Londoners or Devonians on both sides of the family.

My friends researches into my family tree showed that 2 generations back on my mother's side I had relatives in the very village to which I am returning and where I lived for so long. Not only that but I am distantly related to several friends there!!! Amazing!

Pittcity Wed 03-Mar-21 09:34:11

We have many born before their "parents" married in our tree and a couple of unmarried couples with children in the 1800s.
I have also found children who were stillborn or died shortly after birth that were never mentioned again as well as several other things that would be unheard of nowadays.
It all makes the hobby very interesting.

Are you going to hunt further GA?
I was fascinated by the Stacey Dooley programme last night and what was found out using DNA.

DillytheGardener Wed 03-Mar-21 09:45:13

I found the Stacey Dooley show quite upsetting, I don’t know why if they had been DNA testing that had him (the bearded man) meet up with a man who wasn’t his brother, very very upsetting. I also didn't like they filmed the other man being told his brother had died, on long lost families they switch off the filming for any upsetting news. I found that all in very bad taste.

Callistemon Wed 03-Mar-21 09:50:40

My grandmother was 'illegitimate' but no-one ever mentioned that, I discovered it through researching family history.

However, I did find the banns for the marriage between my great-grandparents but the marriage never took place. Did he scarper? Did he die? Did he jilt her at the altar? I doubt I'll ever find out. It doesn't help that his surname was Jones.

Grammaretto Wed 03-Mar-21 10:25:31

I found something similar Grannyactivist after a DNA test.

I was keen to prove a family rumour that my DGF was the son of a local landowner and not those poor labourers grin
For years I had tried all kinds of things such as asking the landowners' biographer! Actually she was sympathetic and reckoned the man was a "bit of a lad" who had already been accused of fathering a farmhand's child so could quite easily have got some poor lass into trouble.
Then I tried to line up photos of all the labourer's sons. (there were 8) to see if DGF looked different - he didn't.

The odd thing was the rich man married my DGF sister and she had 10 DC but the first was "stillborn" the same month as my DGF. So my theory is that as she was only 15, her mother brought the baby up as her own.
I met this old "aunt" when I was a child. I was 7 and she was 97. She wanted to hold my hand.
When the DNA proved I am a close match to landowner's family, I felt quite pleased except as soon as I began to write to these "New" cousins, they didn't want to know me. I feel no emotional attachment to the rich family.

Interesting about the village Luckygirl.
I am now living very near my genetic roots too.

elleks Wed 03-Mar-21 10:40:49

I didn't find out until I was 24 that my parents didn't marry until 2 years after I was born, instead of 1 year before; as I'd always thought. (Mum only told me because we were thinking of a Silver Anniversary celebration for them) Turned out my Dad was married when he met my Mum during the war, and his first wife was being funny about the divorce. I always found it quite romantic.

marriane Wed 03-Mar-21 10:41:38

Reading all the messages re DNA. as anyone wished they had a secret family that they are related to. Was always told I wasn't wanted and a mistake. My now deceased sister hated me until the day she died. I would love to no I wasn't part of my family. Sorry to sound bitter, it never leaves you.

CarlyD7 Wed 03-Mar-21 10:44:47

I'm 99% sure that my paternal grandfather wasn't my father's biological father. Through Ancestry, I found out that he only married my paternal grandmother a week before he was born; he looked nothing like his father (he was tall with fair hair and blue eyes; his "father" was stocky, with dark hair and eyes), plus his father always treated him badly (wouldn't allow his birthday to be celebrated; didn't go to his wedding, etc). His "father" went further and cut him off completely when he was in his 30's so no links with his father's family remain - would have been fascinating to explore this a bit more, but I guess it will have to remain a secret.

olliebeak Wed 03-Mar-21 10:46:23

There's always been a query as to who my dad's 'birth father' really was.

His mum died when he was 18mths old, after marrying somebody who wasn't his father.

He was adopted by his mum's sister and her husband when he was 3yrs old.

My recent DNA results have thrown up a 'cousin connection' that I expected to be either on my mum's side OR on dad's 'maternal line'.

However, the only name that this 'cousin connection' and I have in common is on my dad's ADOPTED FATHER'S line. It's looking as though his adopted father is actually his Birth Father - meaning he must have had a fling with his wife's older sister wink.

Another 'skeleton' that has popped out of a closet, is that we have a 19yr old female jailbird on my MUM'S PATERNAL LINE. She served 6mths for 'Theft of £5.00' in 1850 - lucky not to have been deported back then!

Nannan2 Wed 03-Mar-21 10:48:22

Failing to understand why "mum was cossetted& fussed over" more than the siblings, tbh- none of my kids were ever treated any differently and ive remarried a couple times, so fathers different for younger ones, she's still all their mum, so why would she do that?(if you'd said the DAD treated them different, maybe understanable, if he knew or suspected?- but not the mum.mystified.?

BlackSheep46 Wed 03-Mar-21 10:48:50

MARRIANNE: stop wasting another moment of your life fretting. The hatred and bitterness was their problem, not yours. You have survived- well done. Yes, it would be lovely to be loved by one and all from our very beginnings but if that's not the way it is, then it's not. You must have had a very difficult childhood but well done , you survived all that. Now do enjoy the rest of you life and rise above your past. Good luck. Keep on keeping on.

Blinko Wed 03-Mar-21 10:50:13

That's such a shame, marriane. Nobody should ever be told they're not wanted. flowers

HiPpyChick57 Wed 03-Mar-21 10:52:24

When my cousin researched her ancestry a few years ago she discovered our dgf was a bigamist. He’d walked out on his first wife and dd and never went back. I don’t know how long after he met my dgm but they got married without him being divorced from his first dw.
There’s nobody alive to ask about it now so we don’t really know the inside and out of the story but I get rather upset sometimes at the thought of a little girl wondering where her daddy could be. So sad! ?

suttonJ Wed 03-Mar-21 10:52:51

I dealt professionally with family secrets. It cannot be underestimated how fervently many folk have the need to know their recent history, nor can it be underestimated the immense emotional impact the truth can bring (as opposed to fun research of the generations long gone). The BBC programme was insensitive and vacuous.

essjay Wed 03-Mar-21 10:53:01

i haven't had a dna test done, but when i was 18 and my mum had just died, sorting through papers found that my dad had been married to my mums cousin and that my parents didn't marry until i was 8 months old, this maybe explained why i always felt uncomfortable when we visited this particular aunt. i also discovered my dads brother had either committed murder and then suicide or it had been a double suicide pact. i had never heard of this uncle until i started doing family history. By the time i started researching my family, my parents and their siblings had died.

Gwenisgreat1 Wed 03-Mar-21 10:57:58

My sister had a DNA test (it was a christmas present) she discovered she is 49% Welsh, part English, part Scandinavian, and part West Asian!!! Also we have a cousin twice removed in New Zealand!! I have now had the test and await the results!! I did dabble with family history 10 years ago, but got swamped with all the Sarah Jones's and Hugh Jones's in the family.. My grandmother's maiden name was Jones and she married Hugh Jones!!!! The Welsh archives were not available on-line then, can you blame me for giving up!!

Plunger Wed 03-Mar-21 10:58:35

Great grandfather married 3 times. Great grandmother twice and after the death of her first husband had 4 children to bring up. Great grandmother then has a daughter born about 2 years after her 1st husband died but always known by his surname. She then married my G Grandfather fairly soon after the birth. He had been left a widower with 6 small children to look after.Unfortunately mysterious daughter died without issue so unable to do a DNA test to see if she was my G grandfather's natural daughter. To complicate matters G Grandfather's son from 1st marriage married G grandmother's daughter by her first marriage!

jaylucy Wed 03-Mar-21 11:00:54

Esspee, your great gran's proper name would have been Frances and Fanny is just an abbreviation similar to Penelope and Penny etc.
When she would have been alive, Fanny was a common name and had no other connotations!