At the age of 19, Maureen Blaize discovered the man she believed to be her father was not her biological father. Tommy’s son’s friendship with champion Stacey Dooley helps her discover who her father is
Her son, Tommy, has been a singer on the show since the hit BBC series began and when his impeccable voice showcases anything from ballads to rock, pride Maureen’s tears welled up.
After each episode, she asked herself the same question: where did his musical talent come from?
Maureen was unable to track down her family’s talents and traits because, at the age of 19, she discovered the man she believed to be her father was not her biological father.
Incredibly, Tommy’s friendship with champion Stacey Dooley unravels the mystery of her biological father’s identity.
Maureen, 79, from Toxteth in Liverpool, said: “To come to this age and find out who my father is, it’s frustrating. I’m still pushing myself.
“I used to lie in bed at night and think, who am I? Where do I come from? Now I start every day kissing my dad’s photo.
“I will never stop thanking Tommy and Stacey for all their help in finding my missing piece.”
Maureen grew up feeling different in a family with two siblings. But the cultural norms of the 1950s and 60s, and her mother’s quiet and reserved personality, meant that she was never told the full truth.
“I’ve always had a strong feeling that I don’t belong,” she said. I just don’t gel with my siblings.
“My mother is white and my father, as I know him, is black and from West Africa.
“When I was 19 years old and needed both parents to sign the application, that’s when the bomb fell. My mother broke down and said: ‘He’s not your biological father’. That’s all she told me. It hit me like a brick. Then my mother closed the door herself – she didn’t want to talk about it.
“In those days, giving birth out of wedlock was one of the greatest shames ever. She doesn’t tell anyone except her best friend. “
Maureen asked her mother’s friend but gathered some additional information. “She told me she knew Mother saw an American soldier who was here during the war. That’s all she gave – nothing else.
“By the time my mother was pregnant, he was back in America.”
Maureen’s sons Tommy, 59, Tony, 58, and Darrin, 56, have been trying to research the family tree for any clues to their grandfather’s identity. But during World War II, black American soldiers fathered more than 2,000 children while stationed in England. It seems impossible to identify Maureen’s father without a name.
Tommy said: “I always had a nagging guilt that I needed to help Mom find her dad, because she had always done everything for me and my two brothers. Becoming a father myself made me realize what my mother was missing.
“Mom has always loved dancing and music, and my brothers and I formed a small band when we were kids. We felt that the music was not coming from my father’s side, while my mother always sang or rehearsed with us.
“Stacey and I became friends on the serious stage and when we toured together, we became even closer. When I saw her present the first series of Family DNA Secrets, I texted her a line to tell her about Mom and the producers were quick to get in touch.”
Maureen, who lost her husband Tommy four years ago, gave a DNA sample to the country’s top geneticists. With no name or other information, relatives can only be traced if her genes match any family member on the same side as her father, who previously performed a DNA test on the database. worldwide data of 30 million people.
But while waiting for the results, Maureen’s health took a turn for the worse. She said: “I had two strokes followed by open heart surgery. “I didn’t have time to panic because I was taken straight to the operating room. But I told the doctors: ‘I’m not done with what I’m doing – I need to come back’. That’s why I’m here and getting stronger every day.”
Maureen was understandably worried when he heard his DNA test results. But when Stacey returned home, she helped put her at ease.
Maureen said: ‘Stacey is a lovely, nice girl, she comes in, takes off her shoes and makes me a cup of tea. “Hearing her news felt eerie. It was the best day of my life, aside from the days when my sons were born.”
Stacey explained that Maureen’s DNA matched her first cousins and correctly identified her father as Augusta Walls, an African-American born in Tennessee in 1914. Augusta is a farmer. before the war and did not have any other children. He died in 1978.
Maureen said: ‘Hearing my father’s name and seeing his picture was a moment I will never forget. It is difficult to describe such a feeling of happiness.
“I found a frame for the painting that day. And that’s what I kiss every morning as soon as I wake up.”
Stacey has more information for Maureen and Tommy. The relatives not only lived less than a mile from where Augusta grew up, but they were desperate to meet the new family member.
And they might shed light on Maureen’s lifelong question of her family’s immense musical talent.
Tommy said: “Stacey discovered that Joe Nathan Walls, Mom’s cousin, was a brilliant musician who played the saxophone with Howlin’ Wolf, a legendary blues singer.
“We now know where our family’s music comes from. She showed us one of his movies and it blew me away.
“I’ve been playing Howlin’ Wolf ever since and told everyone we’re related.”
Although sad when her father passed away without knowing he created her, Maureen is proud of her family’s musical legacy.
Now, she enjoys zooming in with her first cousins and is learning more about her father.
“Finding me with a new family is amazing. To be received by them with open arms is something I never dared dream of. A cousin has been to Liverpool three or four times without realizing that she has family here.
“The fact that Stacey and Tommy helped find my dad changed me forever. I feel fulfilled. It’s been a long journey but I’m finally at peace. ”
DNA Family Secrets broadcast at 9pm on Wednesday, May 18 on BBC Two and iPlayer