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Discovering my West Indian roots

Now this is an odd story, particularly in this day and age. But it does give a subtle view of how things were in the English Midlands in the 1930's and '40's.

There I was, chatting with my mother, and telling her about an eye examination I had just had. You see, I'd always had what I thought was a mole on my eye. It was the reason one optician had not prescibed contact lenses. This time, however, the optometrist informed me that no, it wasn't a mole, it was pigmentation in the white of the eye. Quite common in the black races apparently but rare in white people (and I'm white).

"Oh, you must be a throw back", says Mom.

I asked what she meant.

"Well, we always thought Grandad was black."

"What do you mean you always thought he was black? Did he look black?" I asked.

"Oh yes. In fact, we think he came from Jamaica. But you didn't talk about things like that in those days."

Strange attitude maybe but now I'm keen to search out my roots through the Shillingford line. I haven't traced it back to the Caribbean yet, I'm still in Wordesley in the English Midlands, but I'm hopeful.

Information on the Shillingfords of Dominica courtesy of Dawn Shillingford



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