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An Identity

By Pam Knight
September 2004,
A digital story from Who Do You Think You Are?

"At 35 I discovered by accident, I had been adopted.

I was shattered, on reflection, though, it did explain why I had felt I didn't fit into my family and some of the strange feelings I had always harboured.

So I set off on a journey of discovery to find my birth mother. I found out quite quickly my original surname had been Nabarro. Being an unusual name I thought this would help, but my mother had changed her full name on many occasions so the search was very complicated.

It didn't end until I was 60 when I found out that I had three sisters in America. Sadly my mother had been dead for six years by then but her greatest gift to me was that she had told my sisters all about my existence. When I contacted Megann, on the phone she said: "I've waited all my life for this call."

And so the story unfolded: in the 1930s it was horrendous to be unmarried and pregnant so when the woman in the next bed in the hospital had a still born child, my mother gave me to her. She was the woman who I had always taken to be my natural mother.

My birth sisters gave me photos and momentos of our Mother, spanning all the years.They told me I was the image of her and had all of her mannerisms.

The greatest love of my life has always been music and dancing, it turned out that that was how my mother had earned her living. In fact, my birth family were, almost all, musicians and dancers so clearly it's in my blood.

There are 17 of my family in America, I often visit them, but I didn't set off on this search to find a family. I wanted to find myself and I have. My family are a bonus. You can't imagine how good it feels to look like someone, to have a history and a true identity.

Pam Knight


Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am a widow, and although I had a good marriage, I now have a very full and happy life. I have my own accounting business which I enjoy working in. My hobbies include listening to music, dancing (especially Jive) to live bands all over the country and abroad, walking with my beautiful golden retriever 'Dusty', and enjoying a fabulous social life with my many friends. I also travel a great deal.

What's your story about?
My story started from the moment I was born and is ongoing. It's about a long search for my birth mother. It is ongoing because I would like to find out more about my father who features in one of the photos in the story. This story is the most important aspect of my life.

What did you find the most rewarding aspect about the workshop?
I suppose if I am absolutely honest, the most rewarding part of the workshop was interacting with everyone else. That includes the other storytellers and the digital storytelling team. The computer work was very rewarding too.

How has this workshop affected the way you look upon your family history?
It has made me more determined to try and find out more about my birth father and then maybe another digital story will emerge."

Your comments

"This echoes my story. born in '31 happily adopted but lately became curious about my 'Family'. Found out through papers I hold about my birth mother that she did not marry , had no more children and died in 2004 aged 100!. I have now contacted cousins who are so welcoming (apart from being shocked) I am glad I did not meet her , she would have been so upset I am sure. It has meant a kind of closure tho' in spite of having no idea about my father. My darling 2nd husband who encouraged me on this quest and was a marvellous support has now sadly died,but my children are very happy to know the history and see photos of their Grandma a7 2nd cousins." Audrey Pearl from Wales.

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