Trent’s Citizenship Story:
One day, we all wake up in this world, and it becomes our conscious reality. We have no idea where we've come from, and no idea where we are going. All that the future holds is a mystery until you get there. As we become more aware, we get to know those loved ones around us and we start the process of learning as we go along.
In this life, we have no choice as to who our parents are, where they come from, and how they've lived their lives before we ever came along. We have no say in the decisions they make, good or bad, we have no idea of the obstacles they have faced previously. We very much have to go along for the ride.
When we get to adulthood, that's when we start to learn some interesting facts:
I am a man aged forty-seven years old, living in New York, USA. In my case, at the age of twelve, I overhear my mother and a man who I thought was my real father, talking about the fact that I was not his child. It was during an argument they were having. I learnt that I was adopted. Now, what is a child to think overhearing such a thing? From then on, I wondered who my real father was? What he was like? What did he look like? Where did he come from? Why did my mother not marry him? I held it all inside and wondered.
Later in my life, through the help of a person close to me, I managed to locate him. I then began to understand the fuller facts of what had taken place back in 1968 to 1969, but I was left with more questions than answers. I'd always hoped that one day he would come along on a big white horse and rescue me from this forced, unreal home life situation. Just like every little boy, I wanted my real father!
All this time, I believed that I was born an American, with both parents also Americans. Part of that turns out not to be so. Although I am born an American, I learnt my father came from a different country.
I also learnt that my real parents had never married. My father was a British citizen born in Harris Village, the Colony of Montserrat, British West Indies in 1942, where he lived most of his formative years, then moving to Antigua with his family, which was also a Colony of the United Kingdom. In 1960, he started to make plans to become an economic migrant and moved to London, UK where he lived until 1968. He worked for London Transport. In the course of the past being unraveled, I learnt that in London I had a brother and two sisters. I also learnt that I had three other brothers and a sister living in the US.
I went on to learn that my mother and real father never did actually marry because she was led to believe that he was already married and had a family in London and/or the West Indies.
Now knowing the full picture, and as part of my quest to identify, I wanted to begin to build where I belonged. I wanted to know more. I wanted to culturally fit in. I wanted to have my roots acknowledged officially. I even ended up doing a DNA test on Ancesty.com to learn that my genetic makeup already had 12% British in it most likely back from the days of slavery as my fathers family (my grandparents on both sides were born in Montserrat), had worked on plantations on the islands under British rule. You can figure out what happened there! So you see, I am truly connected to the United Kingdom. My roots are deep and established, at least as far as genealogy goes.
So that's a brief appreciation of my path, which takes me to the point of this all.
As part of me wanting to belong and embrace my father's heritage I was curious as to what my citizenship is by descent? I presumed that I was half British. So I then began my quest to establish this. I did some reading, and having scrolled through web sites, it all seemed very complicated with so many different forms of British nationality, which gave rights and denied rights as history went along. It was all very confusing.
To sort this out, I engaged a firm of London based Solicitors. I provided them with detailed information: copies of my fathers passports, his birth certificate, Blood & DNA tests results from 1970 and later, Family Court documents determining my father to be my actual father in the eyes of the law, as well as other pertinent information. Then, one day, I got their final advice letter, and was disappointed to learn that despite my father holding British Dependent Territories citizenship and, after 2002, automatically becoming a full British citizen, I was not able to register my claim by descent because, my parents never actually married. British citizenship laws regard me as “illegitimate.” Born out of wedlock. Not wanted! Go away!
Being born out of wedlock is no fault of the child. Why punish the child? My clear documented ancestral roots, along with my proven DNA, should be sufficient to say, “Welcome home, you are wanted.”
Given all my family history on my fathers side, I thought WOW, my fathers home country have deemed me just not good enough to come and join them, to come in. So as of today, I am not eligible to belong and claim my birthright. To any reasonable person, this seems grossly unfair!
I began to wonder how many others were in the same boat as me? Born abroad out of wedlock to fathers with British Nationality? I also wondered if the birth country of my father, the former colony, now British Overseas Territory of Montserrat would help me? Sadly, they just referred me back to the Home Office in London and some faceless civil servant who’s just doing their job! To be told, until the law is further amended, my application will fail.
I will post further excerpts of this story, my story, as we go along.