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A picture of the man who might be Francis McNamara’s father.

DNA search for lost Clare father


AN ENGLISH woman of Clare descent is appealing to the people of Clare to help her trace her long lost biological grandfather. Born in Coventry, Louise McNamara has always known that half of her family tree was from County Clare. Her father, Francis McNamara, was born in London in 1956 but was unofficially adopted soon after his birth and has no memory of his birth mother or father.
After years of research, the family managed to learn the identity of Francis’ mother, who was originally from Ennistymon. Unfortunately, Francis’ mother had passed away shortly before the family learned of her identity.
Last Christmas, Louise McNamara, convinced her father to undergo DNA testing in an effort to discover the identity of his Clare father. The DNA tests revealed that both of Mr McNamara’s parents come from the West Clare or South Clare area and, to the families great surprise, the test also showed a match in the Ennis area.
This match, who the family have agreed not to identify, is either a first or second cousin of Francis McNamara, but unfortunately does not know the identity of his father. The family have decided to reach out to the people of Clare in a last gasp effort to uncover their family history.
According to Louise, they know that her biological grandmother moved from Ennistymon to London in the 1950s. They also know that she worked in the London Palace Strand Hotel and she may have met her grandfather while working in this hotel. It is also possible however, that her grandparents knew each other in Clare before travelling together to London, and her grandmother may even have been pregnant when she went abroad. Louise has an old fragment of a photograph which may be her biological grandfather, but the authenticity of this photograph is not certain.
“The DNA results have proved that he was 100% Irish and they have narrowed it down to South or West Clare, so both of my father’s biological parents were from South or West Clare,” Ms McNamara told the Clare Champion.
“Our goal is to know his name. We just want to know who he is or who he was, if he isn’t alive anymore. We don’t want anything from any family members over in Clare. My dad isn’t even sure if
he would want to meet him. Basically, we just want to know who he is. That’s all.
“We were given that photo and told that it was Francis’ dad. On the back of the photo it says that it was taken in London and that he was around 25 years old in the photo.
“We thing that this photo would have been taken around the same time as my biological grandmother was in London.
“I don’t 100% trust the photograph. This could be some random man who is no connection to us at all. But it is all we have.”
As Mr McNamara’s 1956 adoption was unofficial, there are no paper work or other records that could help the family to identify his father.
Indeed, the family believe that if the unofficial adoption had no taken place, Mr McNamara could possibly have been sent to America as an infant and event sold to an American family.
While he discovered that he was adopted at a young age, he didn’t research his biological parents until his adopted parents passed away.
“When the person I knew as my grandmother passed away, we began to look into her family history. My dad found out when he was 14 years old that he was adopted, but out of respect to his parents who raised him, he never looked into it. So none of this started until after my grandmother passed away,” said Louise.
“It would mean everything to be able to make this connection. It is something that we have talked about for so many years. We have tried to do everything we could by talking to people and getting information, we’ve never gone down the DNA route before now. But I think that that shows how passionate we are about it.
“We just want to know who he was. If he is alive and we get to meet him, that would be great. But we would just get so much comfort out of it.
“I think my dad would be so much more at peace by knowing who his dad was, it’s as simple as that.”
Anyone who might have any information about the identity of Louise’s grandfather is asked to email l.mcnamara1@ hotmail.co.uk.

About Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton is a journalist, writer and podcaster based in the west of Ireland.

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