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The "politics" of found families, previous marriages, unknown half siblings

Replies: 2

Re: The "politics" of found families, previous marriages, unknown half siblings

Posted: 1357947012000
Classification: Query
I incline to agree with the other answer that a "middleman" is a good idea. However, if that is not possible, what about a polite letter, as neutral as possible, to one of them simply saying you have reason to believe you are related and would be interested in finding out if any of them are interested in meeting/investigating further but fully understand he/she might not be - or something along those lines. To my mind a letter is better than a full-face approach because the person has time to think things over and cope with any shock he/she may feel. Nothing to lose anyway. I think the thing to remember is that a) the person might genuinely have no interest, b) just might have nothing whatsoever in common with you. I have experience of two inatances. My late husband had an illegitimate sister - no secret, the Father kept one family at one end of the village, the other at the other. The non-married "wife" publicly described herself as "Mrs. H" and sent her child, under the father's name to the same school as her half-sister. However there was a big age gap and none of the elder lot had ever had anything to do with the illegitimate one until an elderly cousin confided in me that she had a conscience about the girl. After tracing her I did phone directly but put questions very carefully so she could back out if she wanted. "Are you the daughter of Dr. H? Did you know you have half brothers? etc. Unfortunately I later regretted my efforts because she hurt another member of the family very badly, driven I think by her neuroticisms about having been the family outcast - not that that was much comfort to the person she hurt. My second case was really rather hilarious. I had one cousin who had been orphaned at the age of 13 and rescued and brought up with us by my mother, but I had heard nothing of her for 50 years. I came across a notice seeking relatives and duly answered - only to be told they were very surprised because Granny had told she she had had a cousin with my name - but she had died young. Reports of my death grossly exaggerated! At the instigation of the son of my cousin we had a get together but it was obvious the two women had no interest and we had absolutely nothing in common, although he still sends a Christmas card. They brought a lot of "family" things when they visited and it became clear to me why she had lied about my being dead - most of the family history she had told them was a complete pack of porkies, including a claim that someone quite different had been her guardian after her mother died. Reasons were varied. Put shortly, give it a bash but as kindly and diplomatically as you can, do not expect to have anything in common or even to like them - if you do that is a bonus - and just accept that their family stories may well be far off the truth - or on the other hand it might be yours which are! Hope these ramblings help a bit - Best of luck anyway.
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
wade_lahr 1356980366000 
bonedigger176 1356982850000 
halpark 1357947012000 
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