Family Trees and DNA - guest post by Morton S Gray

It’s always great to help a writer friend celebrate publication of a new book so I’m delighted Morton Gray is joining me on my blog this week.

When Jane invited me onto her blog to celebrate the publication of my fourth novel for Choc Lit, Sunny Days at the Beach, I decided that I would write about my long-term love of family history research, as I know Jane shares my love of history.

I remember joking in the long ago past that when I finished my university course, I would trace the history of my family – well, I’m still doing it all of these years later!

When I first started researching, there was no internet available to the general public! That statement sounds unbelievable now. However, it did mean that my research trips had to be meticulously booked and planned and usually involved travel to a regional record office or London.

My mother often used to accompany me on these trips, so we’d make a day of it. I remember when we found the will of an ancestor at Hereford record office and we were allowed to handle and read the A3 vellum original pages from 1851. I turned to my mother with absolute delight that the ancestor had even listed his illegitimate grandchildren, thus confirming my theories, to find her in tears, because the man had stipulated clauses to keep his widow provided for following his death. I don’t think many things have come close to the excitement of that particular day.

Research, in my view became more sterile when everything was digitised onto film, fiche, cd and now the internet file.

Fast forward to today and I can do most of my research from my settee. An added excitement these days is DNA testing, which is providing new avenues for research and also adventures. I found myself walking down my local high street last year on the way to meet a man for the first time whose only link to me was his DNA! It was a bit surreal. He was over from America with his wife and daughter and had his cousin with him too. They were in my DNA matches as third cousins with a linking ancestor in 1851. Despite my trepidation, we all got on very well and unless I am very much mistaken, there were indeed family resemblances. How exciting and my mom got to meet them all too.

I get the impression I will be working on my family tree for the rest of my days.

If you read one of my novels, my fascination for family history and DNA links will be more than evident. In The Truth Lies Buried my heroine even goes to work in the local archive office as a family history researcher. DNA and family ties are prominent in both Christmas at Borteen Bay and Sunny Days at the Beach too.



You can catch up with Morton with the following links:-

Website and blog at
Twitter @MortonSGray
Facebook page – Morton S. Gray Author -
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Sunny Days at the Beach

From party nights at the pub to sunny days at the beach …

Craft shop owner Mandy Vanes has always enjoyed a commitment-free singleton lifestyle — in fact, she’s well-known for her wild ways in her small seaside town on the coast.

But when local teenager, Nick Crossten, turns to her for help, Mandy has the opportunity to prove she can be a responsible adult. Although things get tricky when gin distillery owner Graham Frankley comes to town with some unexpected news.

Could this mean that Mandy the party girl is finally ready to grow up?