Tuesday, January 16

Who Are We, Really?

This is a pic I took last evening. It reminded me of the old Wild West Movies, - the ones with Smoke Signals, from the Indians. Perhaps it is the dry earth, sending out signals begging for rain. On the extreme right side of the photo, there is a lone, feathery little branch reaching up. It is our Jacaranda tree, which has sulked ever since we moved here. I think it must have had about 5 flowers on it, in 8 years. I am sure it must be lacking something. Of course GOM's suggestion is, "Let's cut it down". Over my dead body! haha.

I am very interested in Genealogy. My mother was very keen about it, & when a cousin decided to do some 'family tree', research, & writing, she provided him with all sorts of names, dates, photos etc. She was very disappointed when she saw of copy of the result of his work. Dates were wrongly quoted, & much of the information she had provided had been altered, & misquoted.

Another cousin on this side of the Tasman did a Family Tree, also. He had access to records in England, & tried to trace the original man, sent to Australia in disgrace. Much of his work covered the Aussie side of the family, but some of it crossed to the NZ side. None of it tallied with the other version.
Is this how myths begin? 'Family lore' stories are wonderful to listen to, but there is always a sneaking suspicion they may be altered to suit the teller of the tale, to extract more mirth or shock.

While I was in NZ recently, I learned a very interesting story of a family, who it would seem, are not who they thought they were.

I will do my best to retell the fascinating tale. It is not our family, but I guess it could be anyone's family.

We will start with Mr & Mrs B. They married, around 1942, & had 2 children, eldest a son, 2nd a girl. They lived & worked on a farm, owned by another man, we will call Mr D. After some years, (not too many) Mrs B gave birth to twin sons. After a further couple of years, Mrs B again gave birth to twins, this time a son & daughter.

I am not sure how old Mrs B was, when she gave birth to any of her children.
Mr D who owned the farm, had a teenage son, of 18, whom we will call Young E.

After the death of Mrs B, who died somewhat suddenly, but not really young, it was discovered that the twin sons, were in fact not Mr B's offspring, but were fathered by Mr D. I am not sure how this information was disclosed, but I have the feeling it was in the will.

But wait- there is more... As the family were reeling with this news, which was a total stunning surprise to all the children of Mrs B, it was also disclosed that the second set of twins were fathered by Mr D's son, Young E.

This caused terrible rifts in the family, & the male sons in particular were shocked to the point that they have never really got over it, & there is bad feeling among them. Why, I am not sure, but I suppose it would be quite shattering to learn you were more or less your brother & sister's uncles!

And not only that, but your elder siblings were in fact, only half siblings.

And, as if that wasnt enough, when old Mr B died, it was discovered he was not really Mr "B" at all! He had been born before his mother had married Mr B snr, so goodness knows who he really was!

I know this is a true story, as one of my half siblings married the eldest son. All these revelations have come about in the past few years. It is easy to laugh about it all, but I suppose it would not be easy to laugh if it was one's own family.

I dont think it would be considered a good plot for a book - it would surely be deemed too far-fetched by half?

And a side interest to it all, is the fact that one of the eldest twin sons married a Mormon girl, & she is right into the Genealogy of the family. I cant help but wonder if they have corrected all the information they had previously, -& innocently- provided as being correct.

My aging Aunt has told us tales of there being some mystery in our family, & GOM's father was not really the son of the man who he grew up believing was his father... so we are not really who we thought we were either!

Wonderfully intriguing!


Ancestor Collector said...

Oh, Meggie, this is indeed an amazing story! Anyone's family tree can have these side shoots and I wonder if any of us really knows where we came from? My grandmother's maiden name was Nutter, but four generations back, that name came through the female line. MaryAnn Nutter wasn't married when she bore her son Joseph who carried on my branch of the tree. The old story goes that she worked for a duke on his estate in Bedfordshire and that the old duke was the father, but the tale also says that the duke had a randy young son who could have fathered her child. So perhaps I have royalty in my family tree, but certainly no royal inheritances have been passed along!

INFP is Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving (The Idealist). If you put it in a search engine, you'll find lots more about it. And yes, INFP's are usually very talented writers....and you are a fine example!

joyce said...

WHat an interesting story. No wonder poor Mrs B died. Two sets of twins and trying to keep all those relationships secret! She was probably exhausted. My mother was very much into the family tree but if she discovered any funny business like that, she didn't record it. Too bad.

verniciousknids said...

I think it would make an interesting book...maybe written by Maeve Binchy?!

aunty evil said...

Ah Meggie, I have been doing my family history since I was 18, although I have had a break for a couple of years now.

Although it is common to follow the father's line, therefore the surname, it is recommended by some to actually follow the mother's line, as that, in reality, is the only line you can be sure is yours.

That certainly became apparent when my great grandfather's birth certificate was finally discovered, only to find the man he claimed was his father on his marriage certificate, had died 2 years before he was born! A miracle indeed. Although, that is not as bad as his younger sister, claiming the same man as her father, and she was born 9 years after!!

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

What a fascinating story! I hope you're feeling better after the tumble in the garden and aren't too stiff and sore. Glad the "bingle" (new word for me) wasn't any worse. Regarding making scraps faster than applique... we're on the same page there, even after purging my scraps I still find myself wanting to hoard the little bitsy bits for applique... arrgghh!

jellyhead said...

Wonderfully intriguing indeed! Great post, Meggie (I'm a sucker for a juicy bit of gossip!)

Molly said...

Proving once again that truth really is stranger than fiction......sounds like you come from red blooded, randy stock, meggie!

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

Always something fascinating to read here, Ms Meggie!

Have you seen that some men are taking ex-wives to court to force DNA testing of their children before paying child support? I wonder, sometimes, if science is really being useful in that department?

meggie said...

I agree, it must be heartbreaking for some 'fathers' to discover a loved child is not theirs. Also , the child can only suffer trauma...
I dont know what the answer is...

Henri said...

Meggie ,
I suspect there may be more than a grain of truth in the old yarn with the " Good night , Mother of five " & the reply of " Goodnight , Father of two " --- Being told I was the result of a genuine attempt at a reconciliation I am pretty certain my father was who I thought he was , -- It could be that it is a wise father who knows his own child too !!

My float said...

Oh, what an amazing tale. Are you sure it wasn't a plot by Catherine Cookson?!

I imagine that every family has those secrets. I have been asking my father to record his history, but he always has something more important to do! Maybe there's something there...!

Stomper Girl said...

Fantastic juicy family history, Meggie! My firstborn is a mini carbon copy of his father and both boys have his chin so he can never doubt me!