There are probably one hundred and one reasons why people lie...to cover up something they've done...to make themselves look more important...to evade being prosecuted for a crime...and people also fib...tiny while lies usually told to avoid hurting a persons feelings or to escape long 'phone conversations etc. You know because you'll have told a fib yourself unless you are worthy of sainthood...must go, there's someone at the door...that frock looks lovely on you...those sort of tiny fibs.

But when you tell big fat lies that is altogether different...because big lies rebound and smack you in the face. Or if you're the culprit and you're long pushing up the daisies then those lies smack an innocent party in the face...

That is one of the real dangers of researching your family. There they all are...those people with old-fashioned names...the Mauds and the Mabels and Horaces and Alberts. Great-Aunts and cousins three times removed on your Mothers side...and you maybe know a little bit about them. Stories told around tea tables about Great Aunt Maud who never recovered from being jilted at the altar and ended her days in the local asylum...those sort of stories. We all have them...we everyone of us will have a dodgy relative lurking among the census records or the marriage records just waiting for someone to drag him or her out of their hidey-hole and say...Look who I've found!

Sometimes the lies are well meant...my Father had a cousin who was always referred to as Poor Louie. It was said...in hushed whispers, that Louie 'wasn't quite the ticket'. Many years after Poor Louies death it transpired the woman had suffered from an severe under active thyroid...that made her slow in her movements and hesitant in her speech...Louie was loved and well cared for even if she was never treated for a treatable condition...so I suppose you could say that no real harm was done by saying she was loopy when she patently wasn't.

Mother lied. In fact my Mother told many lies about her childhood...idiotic lies, which Des revealed after ten minutes on Ancestry, but which took me several weeks to accept and to get to grips with the truth and then I was left feeling...cheated, I suppose.
Alistairs Mother also lied...she was my Mothers sister...it wasn't quite so drastic as Mother, but it left Alistair feeling bewildered and wondering what exactly was the point and why in heavens name didn't she tell him the truth...

We lost out of course...we didn't know each other existed until eighteen months ago when we could have had contact for our entire lives had we not been lied to from the start.

But I'm getting around to Max. Max was lied to. When I began ferreting about in Max's family history it became horribly plain after just a very few searches that her family background and ethicnity was not what she'd been led to believe for her entire life...I remember going back and re-doing each and every record...checking and re-checking. But it was perfectly plain...Max had been told lies. Not little fibs...not white lies...big fat horrible lies.

The fact you are an adult and properly sort of grown-up and you've led your life the way you thought was best and so on...doesn't make it any easier to find your parent or parents lied in their teeth. You are actually left thinking...But who am I then?

It is here that I lay the 'blame' firmly on both parents. Because the one who lied is to blame...and the one who kept quiet and allowed the lie or lies to gather strength is also to blame for not stepping in...not saying enough is enough.

Maybe my Mother felt she had a good enough reason...perhaps Max's people believed in their own fibs. Tell the story often enough and surely it becomes the hazy truth after a while...could be that Alistairs Mother simply didn't think it much mattered...and those people couldn't have imagined in their wildest dreams that we...that we could find out within the space of half an hour or so, the real story.

Lying...whether a lie of omission as in 'we didn't think you needed to know' to lying to make yourself look more important...to lying because you wanted to deliberately hide something from your background, rebounds ten-fold when researching your family.

It doesn't matter you see...I couldn't give a fig if my third cousin six times removed wifes aunt married her first cousin...I don't honestly care. I don't mind in the slightest finding that an ancient ancestor was beheaded for treason...it was six hundred years ago for crying out loud...I couldn't care less if most of my 19th c and 18th c people were hatters and cordwainers and Ag.Labs...I'm not ashamed or belittled by those who came before me...if they plotted against the King and lost their head or if they lived in a tiny cabin and picked up stones to make a living...

But when it comes close to the here and the now...when we are thinking not of five or six hundred years ago but only a hundred...when people who brought you up and nurtured you and fed you a diet of endless lies for whatever reason they had...then that is hard and difficult and takes a while to come to terms with.

When we ourselves miss out on brothers and sisters...on aunts and uncles and cousins because our parents deemed it necessary for whatever odd or obscure reason of their own...then that is hard. And difficult, and the vague sense of loss lingers on ...