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London illegitimacy/1930/Jewish rellies

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London illegitimacy/1930/Jewish rellies

Postby MysticDave » Fri Nov 11, 2016 4:28 pm

My mother was illegitimate and was always a bit funny about her background, so she never said who her father was. Some time after she died, I had a DNA test done to see whether it gave any clues - it was quite a surprise to find that I was 25% Russian/Polish Jew - well, it did explain the bump at the top of my nose, which has always intrigued me.

My mother was born in March 1930, at which time, birth certificates left out the father's name automatically if the parents were not married. It showed she was born at Stretton House, which was the Lewisham Diocesan Home for young ladies, who had come unstuck. Their records have been lost. There was an address for my grandmother in Streatham, but this turned out to be the home of my grandmother's brother, where she was apparently living. My mother did say her father "hung around" until she was about 4 when she was taken back to small village near Guildford by her maternal grandparents.

I found one of these coloured-on photos of her from around this time, which shows her with very blonde hair - both I and my sister also had very blond/e hair when we were young, although mine has gone brown subsequently as my mother's did. There is no other blond/e hair in the family as far as I know. My mother's face is also much more round than those of her maternal family.

This would suggest to me that my grandfather was in a reasonably affluent family in the Streatham area and was of more likely north Polish/Russian Jewish ethnicity. I watched the David Suchet WDYTYA prog on Youtube, having never bothered with the Jewish editions previously! At the time Streatham seems to be a mix of Orthodox and Reform Jews, so I don't even know how much these events were frowned upon. I can understand that if I went looking for this family, they might think I was after money, so I am not worried about meeting up with half-cousins etc., but I am intrigued to know where 25% of me comes from.

I am trying the extended maternal family (and they are spread across Oz, NZ and Canada!), but has anyone got any pointers as to how I might be able to progress this? I have done a DNA test with My Heritage, which has links with Israel.
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London illegitimacy/1930/Jewish rellies

Postby brunes08 » Sat Nov 12, 2016 6:55 pm

You are going to find it very difficult to find your mother's father if he was not named on her Birth Certificate and you have no real evidence. The only thing I can suggest is to look at your mother's full name. In many instances of an illegitimate birth, the child was given a middle name that was or may have been the surname of the man concerned. But that is not always so. Despite having the DNA test, you need to be careful not to make assumptions about your grandfather. Assumptions can send you in the wrong direction especially as you say you are of 25% Polish/Russian/Jewish origin - what of the other 75%? What does that tell you? I'm not fully au fait with these tests but I gather that that they need to be interpreted very carefully.
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Re: London illegitimacy/1930/Jewish rellies

Postby MysticDave » Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:28 am

Unfortunately, she only had an ordinary first name. I am mostly Celtic with a bit of French and Norwegian Viking - I can see what you are saying about one bit apparently from Germany and Hungary, which could be Anglo-Saxon, although BritainsDNA has it as Jewish. There is no Eastern European heritage elsewhere in my tree and I have traced a lot of it.

I am reluctant to go on Jewish sites asking if anyone knows about an embarrassing episode in 1929/30 in the Streatham area, but this may be the only way as I suppose it is far enough in the past as those directly involved must all be dead now.

It is just a big chunk to be missing!
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Re: London illegitimacy/1930/Jewish rellies

Postby MysticDave » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:48 pm

Well, here is a lesson for us all - I asked some distant rellies in Canada and they knew! So, don't forget to ask around - you never know what info is kicking around.
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Re: London illegitimacy/1930/Jewish rellies

Postby brunes08 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:26 pm

I agree with you about asking around. I know lots of things about family members that my sister says she didn't know and vice versa. Puzzling thoughts and memories fall in to place almost by chance, so keep chatting and asking questions.
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