Hidden Stories in Family trees

At the end of the nineties I researched my family tree and being the curious type, I ended up doing four, my parents and my other half’s parents. Each one totally fascinating and each had curious tales to tell.

My father was very dark skinned. Out of us four children, only my sister had the same skin tone. I remember going to cabaret shows in the seventies and eighties, and the comedian would say things – ay-up the Arabs have arrived!

His mother, my grandma, was also dark skinned, as were three of her six children. We were lucky enough to have a photo of her mother and it was clear it where it came from. When I researched the family tree, I could find nothing. Recently my sister did one of those DNA checks via Ancestry and Turkish blood came up. I’d love to find out who it was and the story behind in. Perhaps it was a illicit liaison somewhere.

When I did my mum’s tree, we already knew that her dad did not know who his father was. He was born in 1904 and it was always suspected that the father was the doctor she was a nanny to. On her deathbed my grandparents begged her to tell them who it was, she refused and took her secret to her grave.

Why? What harm could it have done seventy years later? I think I found the answer. Just before he was born, according to the 1901 census, she worked as a domestic servant to a large family in the town. They owned a business, the head of the household was also brother to the mayor, who was a local businessman. I reckon it was him, or one of his elder boys that did the deed, possibly against her will. There are many stories about domestic servant’s becoming pregnant. The family were, seventy years later, still prominent in the area and I guess she still felt some misguided loyalty. That would make more sense, don’t you think?

When I did my husband’s family tree, I already new he was an only son, of an only son. That made me realise my own son Ian, was the last in the Mossman line. The original Mossman was Scottish and he came to Manchester when his parent’s died to look for work. He married his landlady’s sister and they had three sons and a daughter together. Of the three sons, Robert, Harry, and James, Robert had one son, Harry had two, and James had two. Robert, was our line. Our of Harry’s two sons, one died aged sixteen tragically after a school sports days. The elder died in a prison of war camp during World War 2. James emigrated to Australia and was never heard of again. So I concentrated on James and found he had several sons, who had also married and had children. When I finally made contact it turned out the one I spoke to was also called Ian Mossman. What a coincidence!

My husband’s mother was interesting because she lost her mum to asthma when she was eight and didn’t have a good childhood because her father passed her around to relatives to look after. He was a hard working man. He was active in World War 1 and on the Homefront in World War 2. Eventually he realised his daughter needed a mother and married a woman he not love.

There are many more interesting stories in my tree, as I’m sure there are in yours. Is there any you want to tell us about?

Meanwhile, The Magic of Stories also contains poetry, and each poem tells a story. This is just one of them.

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