Re: Grandma watkins
- From: "Don Moody" <dpmoody@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2007 18:38:34 -0000
"Steven Gibbs" <stevenng3@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
"Don Moody" <dpmoody@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
I suspect that your only hope of a breakthrough is serendipitous
happening on one document which gives 'before' and 'after' names.
Many of us live, and many more have lived, under names with which
they were not born.
At the moment it does seem to be a very difficult problem. However,
there is a possibility that in the long run that the DoVE project
will actually happen (we can dream, can't we?).
The problem then will be, with our buttered-fingered Government, the
Dove will get lost.
In which case, you may be
able to find another Watkins with mother's maiden name of Scully,
and have enough information to identify the family on a census.
I agree that it's quite possible that James's ancestry is
fictitious. My experience is different to Don's in that I find that
My point, Steve, was precisely that it didn't matter how rare or
fanciful the scenario was in itself because it still illustrated how
once you've found out someone in any sort of shiftiness you can't
trust anything else they say. 'Crying wolf' comes to mind as an
ancient version of the attitude.
extremely rare (and I've transcribed and sorted thousands of
families for various projects). More likely that both parents died,
or that they married abroad, or emigrated after James's birth.
(Scully seems to be an Irish name - perhaps the family is in Ireland
in 1871 and 1881.) Or perhaps that James changed his surname to or
from a stepfather's, or something similar, but these things usually
have some logic.
Then you must have lived a secure life and have been researching
decent people. Congratulations. Because of my pro bono work with
ex-inmates of orphanages and with post-adoption I've dealt with a lot
of 'dregs of society' (in common parlance) who cannot trace their
ancestry because their parents, nuns, and social workers - to name but
three categories - lied, some by omission and some by commission. Nor
is this about idle curiosity not being satisfied. It is about people
dying unnecessarily early because truth was not told. I'll give two
Woman with learning difficulties has illegitimate child. Social worker
takes child away and puts it up for adoption. Woman goes to another
country under a different name, gets married, has kids, keeps them,
and they get ill. Geneticist there tells her the 'faulty genes' are
coming from her, not husband. She's now in a dilemma because husband
doesn't know about previous existence and child. Does she speak out
and risk her existing marriage and children, contact social services,
and pass on information which couldn't have been known when her first
child was taken for adoption? Or does she stay shtum, keep marriage
and all, and just hope her first child didn't inherit the faulty
gene - which action will almost certainly lead to its early death? She
spoke up, and to the credit of her husband and younger children they
exhibited nothing but sympathy. So she got on to social services. Who
delayed, lied, claimed ignorance, .... and obviously thought they
could pull off a hornswoggling of a learning disabled 'girl' (as she
still was in their eyes) who lived in a foreign country and couldn't
afford to come back and battle it out. Then the lady got me involved.
The information got through to where it could do some good. But it was
a hard and messy process which ended with two social workers minus
jobs and their director 'taking early retirement'. If that first child
did survive, it will now have a route to family information. A route
which would have remained forever closed as the original social
worker's lies and malpractice were knowingly covered up with further
lies from later members of her own department. There was indeed a
culture of deliberate lying.
In another case a drug addict mother had her baby removed at birth.
Its father was unknown. Probably even to its mother since she whored
to support her habit. The mother was told the babe was adopted from
England to country A, That was a lie. It was adopted in country B.
That agency lied continuously for 18 years. The mother never married
or had other children. Then the drug habit and other conditions caught
up with her and she was obviously going to die within months. In her
befuddled, drugged, wrecked, state the only thing she could hold on to
was a desire to see and say goodbye to her baby. The agency was told.
Still they lied to prevent contact. Unfortunately for them I had a
friend inside the system in another office. That friend found a
plausible excuse to get hold of the file. And the truth emerged. Too
late. Because that baby had grown into a troubled teenager with no
identity, no way through the maze of lies, and had given up in the
most dramatic way possible. Suicide.
So good for you if your life is such that you don't need to come
across cases like those above. But I do come across them and many and
various other tales of woe which involve some 'clean break' between a
current life and the previous life of that person or a close ancestor.
Whether the break is in their own lives or parents or grandparents
(few of the woeful think beyond those generations), few people will be
open about it. They don't want to admit to anything shameful, and
things are only hidden if they are shameful aren't they? That's the
almost inevitable logic they use. By the time they accept that what
their parents, and possibly grandparents, did is for those people to
be ashamed about and not for them to be ashamed about, their problems
are almost over. Lying about their parents and living with their own
lie is, in western societies, usually regarded as a lesser evil than
telling the truth about their parents and living with their parents'
It's a hangover from ag lab days, when everybody 'knew' that poor
quality bulls and cows produce poor calves. If you tell other folk
your parents were some sort of rubbish, then the old ag lab inside
them immediately takes the view you have declared yourself as rubbish.
Whether it is true or not is immaterial. You've already lost the job
you went for, or whatever else you were after. So you learn the value
of a 'respectable background', and if you haven't got one you lie and
For a completely independent confirmation of the propensity for people
to create fictitious background and ancestry, investigate the subject
of executive recruitment and c.v. production.
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