This is the fourth in a series of posts telling this tale as it unfolds. Since the case involves living people, identities will not be disclosed unless and until all parties have agreed to publication. You may have guessed this by the made-up names I’m using, but just in case…
When we last left our heroine:
“Quite simply, Esmerelda’s biological father is not the man who raised her as his daughter. But if he was not her father, who was?…All the more distant, common identifiable matches shared by Esmerelda, Match 1, and Match 2 were on the McEnroe side. Therefore, research focused on the immediate family of Donna McEnroe. Donna had ten siblings…There was plenty of work to do.”
Pictured below is the McEnroe/Turner family. Esmerelda’s biological father was almost certainly a grandson of John McEnroe. But through which son, and how did this McEnroe come to know Esmerelda’s mother? The only way to find the answers to these questions was to research each of John McEnroe’s sons and identify all of their sons. That research revealed a surprising geographical connection: Both the Smith and McEnroe families moved from the same hometown to the same city in another state!
There was a 26-year difference in age between H.M., the oldest son and F.M., the youngest. Research quickly ruled out the three oldest sons. All of their sons were too old to be candidates for Esmerelda’s father. Of the next oldest three, all but J.M. could be ruled out. J.M. had two sons that were considerably older than Esmerelada’s mother, but still within the realm of possibility. The most likely candidate was F.M. He had two sons, both of whom were the same age as Esmerelda’s mother. Even better, the son that was closest in age to Esmerelda’s mother was still living.
At this point, Esmerelda had accepted the reality that the father that had raised her was not her biological father. With that acceptance came the desire to know the truth. To know the story. She approached her aunt and first cousins on her father’s side with the evidence, and asked 1) if they knew anything about this, and 2) whether they would participate in DNA testing to further confirm the theory. Whether or not they knew is a matter of debate, but if they did, they said they didn’t. Nor were they interested (not that any change in theory was expected, anyways). But it was the first time that Esmerelda had spoken of her new-found secret, making it easier going forward. Although she desperately wanted to know the answers, she also didn’t want to upset close relatives with this new information, so no other relatives were queried. At one point, her determination to know wavered as she thought about letting her mother’s secret die with her. That lasted a day. She decided to try and make contact with the McEnroes.
Since the son of F.M. was the most likely candidate (and the only one still living), a letter was drafted to him. Esmerelda introduced herself and her dilemma, outlined the research to that point and what the DNA evidence indicated. And then popped the question: “Did you know my mother?” The letter acknowledged that although the most likely candidates were sons of F.M., it could potentially be another descendant of John and Tina, and simply asked for any information they knew and were willing to share. That letter was put in the mailbox once, pulled back out once, left on a dresser for a few days, and finally put back out again to make it’s way to F.M.’s son.
As long as it took to mail, waiting to hear back would seem infinitely longer. Would he answer? Would he be the one?
Next: More surprises.