When I first signed up for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge I planned to follow through and post something each week based on the weekly prompt. As it often does, life gets in the way and I found myself missing the first weeks of June. So, rather than playing catch-up, I decided to switch and follow the monthly theme instead.
The theme for June is Conflict which can be interpreted in many ways. I decided to turn inward and face the inner conflict that I’ve experienced over the past four years and finally share my DNA story.
Up until Mother’s Day 2018 my family tree was pretty straight forward. I had a mum and a dad and I had identified several generations of ancestors. I knew exactly who I was and where I came from. The only mystery in our family was the origins of my husband’s paternal grandfather.
My daughter and I had discussed doing the Ancestry DNA test with the hope that it would provide some clues into the origins of my husband’s grandfather, Cyril Clyde Orchard. My daughter was keen to take the test, so I ordered one for her. The test arrived in March, she spit in the tube and we sent it in.
Shortly afterwards my daughter headed off to the UK and life continued as usual. On Mother’s Day Sunday I woke up to a message from my daughter that her results were in and I should go check it out.
As I looked through her DNA matches. I noticed three close family matches that I didn’t recognise. I didn’t think much of it at first, then I started digging a little deeper and noticed that she didn’t have a single Rines match. There were Jamieson and L’Oiseau matches but out of the thousands of cousins she had, there wasn’t a single Rines.
I’ll never forget the moment the penny dropped, and I realised what was happening. My dad Carl was not my biological father. I was devastated. At that moment I felt like I had just lost my dad all over again. It took me weeks to process the information and even longer to accept the reality. My whole identity was now in question. At least that was how I felt.
I ordered a test for myself, even though I already knew the truth, and my journey of discovery began.
So why am I sharing this story? As a family historian I feel that it’s important to be truthful and as accurate as one can be when presenting a family tree. My family tree is public on Ancestry and my DNA is also set to public. (My DNA matches can see we connect). At first glance one can see my parents are Helen Jamieson and Carl Rines, but if you have a really good look around you can see that I have a second father and more ancestral lines.
Carl will always be my dad. He was the man who raised me and was there for every important event in my life. He knew the truth, but he never once treated me as anything other than his daughter. He loved me as his own and I as far as he was concerned, I was his.
My parents took the secret to their graves. And although I would love to be able to know more about the situation, it’s probably better that way. I am who I am, and I have three parents. My dad, my mum, and my biological father. At least that is the way I now see it.
So, from a family history perspective I now have even more ancestral lines to research.
The above photo of me was taken Christmas 1968. My mum gave it to me the year after my dad died. It was the only photo that Dad carried in his wallet – He carried it for over 30 years. If ever I need perspective, I just think of this photo.