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  • Writer's pictureKaren

DNA…the (sometimes unwanted) truth

Its been 9 months since I last sat down to write this blog, I hadn’t meant to leave it so long but every time I thought about sitting down to write I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Why? Well I haven’t really known how to tell the next part of Mum’s journey.

We had found her maternal family and what an amazing family they are. Some might say, surely that’s enough? For me, however, there was still a huge piece of the puzzle missing – who was my mum’s birth father, my grandfather? From the beginning of this journey I have always wanted to find out both sides of mum’s birth family but her fathers side was becoming increasingly elusive. All last year I was relying on the DNA results that we had from Ancestry and I wasn’t getting any closer. Mum has loads of distant matches, mostly in America but there were none close enough to tie it down. So, I persuaded mum to try and get her adoption papers opened to see if there was any information about her father in them. We weren’t hopeful as her fathers name was not on her birth certificate so why would it be on the adoption papers? After a long while and social work interviews for my mum she finally had her papers opened at the end of last year and there is was….her fathers name – Joffre Gordon Fraser a Wing Commander in the RAF who was posted to India when mum was adopted. You have no idea how excited we all were to see something in black and white and how relieved I was that my seemingly never ending search could come to an end and I could start learning about my whole ancestry. Now all I needed to do was try and find out if mum had any other half siblings…

It didn’t take me long. Again my search took me to the other side of the world, this time Auckland, New Zealand. I found another half sister and contacted her. She was really happy to receive the email and was excited to start getting to know us. We spent a few late evenings on Skype, exchanged stories of childhood and pictures. It was certainly an interesting family that mum descended from, part Scottish/New Zealand, part Fijian. We discussed the idea of her sister doing a DNA test just to totally confirm the connection that we all felt was there. She agreed. 6 weeks later, at the beginning of this year it all went wrong, they did not match. How could this be, we were all so sure and it was really hard to believe. Sadly for us this was our unwanted truth of DNA. I so desperately wanted this to be the end and I thought that I had found out who all my ancestors were. I had found another aunty and we all got on so well. I didn’t want to believe it was right. I think that this was the reason I stopped writing my blog.

Sadly DNA doesn’t lie, sometimes paperwork and people do. There are many reasons why, back in the late 1930’s, a single mother of 5 would list a father on the adoption papers…to make sure she was adopted by a respectable family or did Jean truly believe that Joffre was Mum’s father, she did after all give my mum a middle name of Fraser? We will never know, all we do know for sure is that Jean and Joffre had a relationship in the 30’s. There was a picture of Jean in a small photo album that was Joffre’s.

Thankfully this revelation did not stop our relationship with mum’s new sister, who despite this came over, all the way from New Zealand, in the summer with her husband and spent a week with us. My mum may not have found a blood sister but she has definitely found a sister of the heart and we have all made firm friends.

8 months later and I still haven’t found out who my grandfather was, I am still looking and I have gone back to the exhausting business of tracing DNA of distant relatives. I am hoping that one day someone a little closer , maybe a 3rd or 4th cousin, will take a test and bingo we’ll get the answer. Until then I will keep searching, keep growing my tree and enjoying learning about my family.

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each others lives Richard Bach
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