I have written to this geneticist called Bryan Sykes who has written a book called 'The Seven Daughters of Eve'. I wanted his lab or the name of someone else to do a genetic test on my DNA to solve the mystery of who my grandfather's father was.

Until my grandfather died, I believed my entire ancestry was made up of various Europeans (German and Northern European on my mum's side and Jewish Slavic on my dad's). On my grandfather's death we discovered that his father wasn't who we had previously believed. Attempting to find out about this mystery man, we were met with a blank wall because the extremely racist family members who know the answer refuse to say - this man was so beyond the pale that they have chosen to go to the grave with the secret.

Being Australian, this response lead us in three directions:-
1) my grandfather's father is Aboriginal
2) he is Kanaka (South Sea Islanders who were basically slaves on sugar plantations in Queensland, where my grandfather was born)
3) he is European from another background that is even worse than being Jewish (these family members don't seem to find our Jewishness as offensive as the identity of my grandfather's father)

My family think I am being obsessive in my quest to find out. I have been asked why I want to be 'black'. And maybe there is some truth in that. I guess I feel like being even more mixed in my background than I had previously believed will somehow prove something to someone. I like the idea of having a history - a genetic indisputable history - that connects me to the history of Australia. And not just a history of British Imperialism (from which I am excluded). It would be a history that moves me from the side of the perpetrator to the side of the victim. That is very attractive I have to admit.

I want to know because sometimes I'm tired of being Jewish and it would be exotic to be something else. But it's not just these dodgy sentiments - I hope. Suddenly, not knowing a part of my personal history had an impact on my identity. I can no longer take for granted the family stories. I'm not sure that it is better to take identity at face value - what I look like and what my immediate family believes. I don't know whether it is totally dodgy to want to know. So even if this guy can't help, I'll still keep an eye out for someone who can.

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