Man uncovers his dad’s web of lies after finding 400 secret relatives

A man was left shocked after discovering his dad had built a web of lies which led to him discovering a hidden second family. Joe Jacquest Oteng was devastated when his dad, Peter, died of prostate cancer in 2011 and he was left with the sombre task of sorting out his possessions. In a box under his late father’s bed, Joe found his dad’s passport and it showed that Peter was ten years older than he said he was.

Joe, who shared his story on YouTube, was intrigued, so he started digging for information and reaching out to his dad’s old friends, and after a short search, he discovered a second wife and three children – who could be his siblings, reports the Mirror.

He then decided to trace his dad’s family tree where he learned he was one of 69 children – meaning Joe had 68 aunts and uncles he knew nothing about, alongside 400 cousins.

Joe, a professional singer who splits his time between London and Barcelona, said: “When My dad died, everything started to come out.

“I lived with my mum and dad until I was 11, then they split up – they were never really together, they stayed together to raise me. My mum moved into her own place, and I split my time between the two of them, this was in Wolverhampton, the jewel of the West Midlands. When he died I was kind of left in charge of sorting out the estate and funeral arrangements and stuff like that. I had to get some information like the death certificate, sort out pensions, and all the stuff that was left behind because he didn’t leave a will.

“When I was going through his bedroom I had to go through all the paperwork and one of the first things I came across was his original passport from Ghana. In his passport, the date of birth was completely different from what we understood to be his birthday. We thought his birthday was on November 11, 1946, we celebrated his 50th in November, whatever year it was, but it turned out his birthday was April 3, 1936, so he was ten years older than we thought.”

He then discovered his dad had a secret wife who he married in Birmingham in 1974. In 2020, Joe began digging more into his dad’s past while at home during the first lockdown.

Joe continued: “When the lockdown began, that’s when I became unemployed and I wasn’t sure when I could work again. I stayed at home for a while twiddling my thumbs, and then I started thinking about my dad again and about all the things I’d found out all those years before. I decided that now was as good a time as any to commit to trying to get some answers, so that’s what I did.

“During the lockdown, I bought a little camera and signed up to some genealogy websites and stuff like that, I started going through all the documents I had and all the clues that I had, seeing what I could find out. I started by contacting my dad’s old workplace, the people at work didn’t know too much about him, he isn’t the sort of person that had close relationships with people.

“The people I spoke to had some good memories and were able to tell me about their time with him, but no one had any information about dad’s family or his wife, and none seemed to know he’d been lying about his age either. I just kept looking further back and I went and found the college my dad went to when he first came to the UK, I got in contact with the old alumni association attached to the college – through those guys, I was able to get through to one of the people who had gone to college with dad and they were basically best friends.

“I went to meet him and spent the day with him, and found out what he knew about dad, and again it was a similar kind of story, he wasn’t aware that dad had been married. One thing he told me was that when dad came to visit him in the late 80s he came with three children, and that was before I was born.

“I knew that I had a half-brother called Christopher, I was aware my dad had a kid with a woman before my mum was around. I wasn’t aware of these two other children, and I still don’t know if they were children of his or of his partners that were not his.”

Joe had no idea who the other two children were and he’s still not sure if they are his siblings or not, but he didn’t let the shocking revelation put him off his search for his family.

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“All my dad’s siblings have died, they’re all dead, my dad would have been the youngest and he would have been 85 now. They were all older than that, there are so many cousins and so many different relatives out there, there’s an endless stream of family to meet.

“It’s in the hundreds, definitely. I’ve been in contact with John and Edward who are two of my cousins, they’re children of one of my dad’s brothers, and that brother had ten children of his own.

“It is quite a change. It was me, my mum, my dad, my mums mum, and I had my auntie, and she has two children – so I grew up with two cousins, and now I’m at over 400.

“I really want to get to the bottom of the other children, and find out if I have any siblings, that’s next on the agenda, I don’t know how I’m going to do it but I’m looking into that.”

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