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!