Bob shared some pictures of his mother with me. She was the spitting image of my mum. They were without doubt half-sisters.
|My mum Pearl|
|Bob's mum Patricia|
We never shared the news with my very old and frail mother. She'd never have understood and thought the world of her father, so why upset her? Sadly she passed away never knowing she had a sister.
And then a couple of weeks ago I got another email. This time from Derek in New Zealand. Similar story. Derek and his 6 siblings all thought they knew who their father's father was... until DNA testing showed they were a quarter Jewish. Their father's older brother's family didn't have any trace of Jewish ancestry according to ancestry.com. So they did a full DNA match and lo and behold, it matched my grandfather... but this time, it was MY OTHER GRANDFATHER!
|My dad Norman|
|Derek's dad Ernie|
So now I've got two sets of cousins I never knew I had, and both in Australasia. It's been fascinating getting to know them. Indeed I've now met some of the Australian cousins who have visited the UK since their revelation, and I am hoping in the not too distant future to re-visit New Zealand... where I hope to also meet my newly discovered family over there too.
There was a time when illicit sex was so scandalous that families would do everything they could to bury the truth - often to the detriment of mothers and their babies. Thankfully, although not encouraged, most of us have learned that accidents can happen and that the welfare of the mother and child is more important than social stigma. And we've also discovered DNA testing - where familial bonds that were previously unknown have been unearthed and families are brought together who never knew those bonds existed. And that's got to be a good thing. I wonder how many more skeletons there are in my genetic closet... although hopefully none of my own :-(