14 January 2017

Who Does He Think He Is?

When this colourful box plopped through the letter box yesterday my first thoughts were “Ooh, chocolates”.  Alas no, unbeknownst to me Paul had sent away for a DNA kit from the USA.

I’ve had a lot of fun in recent months researching my family tree and managed to trace my ancestors right back to 1731.  Paul is also interested in geneology but only has a one-sided tree as his mother was adopted.  In fact very little is know about his mum’s early years.  Born out of wedlock in 1916 in Devon she was taken away from her mother at 17 months old and given to a woman who arranged adoptions.  During this time she was apparently kept in a small attic room (with only a dog for company) in the seaside town of Lymington until she was three years old.
letter disclaiming any claim to Constance by her mother

Paul’s childless grandparents, Mr and Mrs Harris, were deeply religious and members of the Plymouth Brethren.  While they were on holiday in Lymington they met the local doctor who told them about the child, Constance.  The wealthy Harris’s subsequently adopted Constance, re-named her Marjorie, and she became their cherished only daughter.  The adoption was never legal and this caused problems when she applied to be a nurse in the World War II because her birth certificate didn’t match her national registration name.
Mr & Mrs Harris

Paul is hoping his DNA test might shed some light on his mother’s birth family, particularly on the paternal side.  I just hope it doesn’t open up a can of worms.  Who knows what it might reveal?

Paul's mum, Marjorie (Constance) aged 24


  1. That letter is very sad. I hope the DNA test will reveal something, but I can't really imagine what. Thank goodness that times have changed; marriage is quite rare now, and children are just children.

    1. I think Paul's just curious. I don't know how many people sign up to these genealogy DNA sites but I think the chance of a 'hit' is going to be very slight.

  2. What a tragedy, but unfortunately that was how things were a hundred years ago. Thank goodness things have moved on and "illegitimacy and born out of wedlock" are merely old fashioned phrases with no meaning today. (At least I hope not.
    I do hope Paul is successful in his search, and learns something positive about his past.
    I thought that the box was watercolour paints and one of you had taken up a new
    hobby, and were waiting for Cro to give you lessons !

    1. I have a paint box gathering dust in France. I always feel guilty when I look at it!