ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Do you really know who you are?

Updated on September 11, 2011

The advent of the internet and the profusion of social network sites have made world wide communication easy and instant.The researching of family trees and discovering your roots is now such a popular hobby that numerous websites and books are devoted to the subject, It is exciting to think that you may be descended from nobility or even from a character of notoriety with a lineage reaching back generations with a pure blood line but this is frequently NOT the case. Anyone embarking on researching the family tree must be prepared the unexpected and the unexplained and probably a few skeletons in the cupboard as well.

When my brother contacted a formerly unknown second cousin on a social network site we were excited to think that gaps could now be filled in . How wrong we were and how unsuspecting of the knowledge that would be divulged. We (my brother and I ) were always aware that the maternal side of the family would present a challenge as the family were travelling people with no written records and we had to rely on word of mouth and as most of the older generation had passed away and the younger generations now settled and integrated into the community and knew very little we did not get very far. As far as we knew our father originated from Co. Cork in Ireland but for some reason we were not encouraged to talk about the past and family history. It was a few casual words in an email to my brother that turned my world upside down and the words were 'you and your sister do not share the same grandfather'.I read those words over and over and reached the only conclusion possible. We had different fathers. We were taken aback and yet that did explain some of the things that our father had said - that when he died there would be things we would not understand and my mother's frequently expressed desire that she would outlive my father. When he died I had the task of arranging everything and dealing with his affairs as my mother had died 2 years previously and he had told me that everything I would need was in a black box and true to this word all his personal papers, will etc were there with a piece of plain paper with a Polish name on it. We thought nothing of it and carried on with our lives until the email this year. I arranged to meet the distant relative with a view to finding out more and at her request I took some family photos including one of my mother and her sister and was then told that my mother was actually my aunt, my aunt was my mother which made my brother my cousin and my cousin my half sister and my father was no relation to me at all! It appeared that my aunt had married and her husband had gone to war and she had fallen in love with a Polish soldier and I was the result. My mother had married in 1941 and had a son in 1942 after a traumatic pregnancy and birth and it was decided that it would be convenient for all parties if I were brought up as sister to the child born in 1942. This knowledge shatterd me - all that I thought was mine, my family and my roots, were swept away from me. The only certain family that I now had was my son and my daughter and their father had died when they were 4 and 5.

I accept that the parents who brought me up made a big sacrifice and I am grateful for all that did for me in my life but how I wish that they had had the courage to tell me the truth. I realise now why my 'aunt' was so close to me and my children and it could not have been easy for her watching me call her sister 'Mum' and my children calling her Nana. I often wonder if my biological father knew much of me and whether he returned to Poland and if I have any family in Poland. I accept that because all of this happened years ago I will never know the whole truth and will always wonder about the family I never knew. So to any of you tracing your family tree just be prepared for literally anything and never assume you are who you think you are!!


Submit a Comment
  • FitnezzJim profile image


    7 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

    We all grow up believing what are parents tell us, never knowing different unless someone comes along and tells us. How do we really know who our parents are? How do we really know when we were born? How do we really know where we were born? We have no memory of being born, and most of us aren't going to go to the trouble of doing DNA tests to validate our parentage, so we put our trust into the sources we believe.

    Bottom line is this: who you choose to be is who you are.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)