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I am at the very beginning stages of researching my family tree, specifically that of my father (Leeton, previously Leunig) and my maternal grandmother (Cartwright, nee McBride (by adoption)), both of which are shrouded in mystery and secrecy.
As a young adult my father disowned his family, relatives and virtually all his friends. Some years later as a married man with four children he changed his surname, and in trust the surnames of his four children, by deed-poll. He is only now, at the age of 65+ beginning to reveal names and details.
My grandmother managed to keep secret until her very old age that she had been adopted, and indeed the circumstances of her conception. My grandmother grew up in an era where being adopted carried with it considerable social stigma, let alone being an illegitimate child, and at that a product of assault.