Researching your family ancestry can be full of surprises. Some of these discoveries are exciting and fun, like finding that you are related to a famous historical figure, others less so, like discovering you are related to some of the darker moments in history.
Today has been a mixture of these two things for me. I awoke to find an email from my cousin saying that our Y chromosome testing, which tracks the male Y chromosome from male to male throughout your ancestry, matches closely with another test member who has a direct lineage to Hollywood legend, Mickey Rooney. While our connection to Mickey Rooney may not be close, there is no doubt that we shared a common male ancestor at some point in our shared family history.
This discovery would have excited my maternal Grandmother as she always loved watching the old Andy Hardy movies that starred Mickey Rooney.
After that discovery, I decided to continue my research about other family members and found that my 4th paternal cousin, Major General Henry Trotter, 11th Baron of Mortenhall, who married Dame Eva Gifford, descendant of the Pennant-Douglas family, had married into a family who built their fortune on the slave trade through the 17th and 18th centuries.
While I do not like finding ancestors, whether by direct lineage or through marriage such as Henry and Eva, were involved in despicable activities, it is part of my family heritage As such, I feel that the truth should be told, good or bad, so that current and future generations can fully understand their history.
There is no point in trying to hide dark secrets as they will always come to light.