Highlands & Islands

Search for Marilyn Monroe's Scots relatives continues

Marilyn Monroe Image copyright PA
Image caption The search for Marilyn Monroe's relatives was launched last summer

A clan association says it is surprised more Scots have not wanted to discover if they are a relative of Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe.

The actress's mother, Gladys Pearl Monroe, had ancestral links to Scotland, according to Clan Munro USA.

It believes that an ancestor of Monroe, an alternative spelling of the Scottish surname Munro, was a Highlander banished to America in the 1650s.

Free DNA tests are available, but there has been a lower uptake than expected.

Clan Munro USA launched its offer of the test kits to Munro men of Highland origin last summer in the hope of learning more about film star Monroe's Scottish ancestry, and the wider Munro clan in general.

The search was unveiled to coincide with what would have been Monroe's 90th birthday.

The star of 1950s movies Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Seven Year Itch and Some Like it Hot, Monroe was born as Norma Jeane Mortenson in Los Angeles in 1926.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Monroe was a Hollywood star in the 1950s and 60s

She died of an overdose at 36 in August 1962.

So far, one man who has taken the DNA tests has had results back showing a relatedness to Monroe's line.

The association's genealogy committee said it was "surprised" more Scots had not taken up the offer of the free test kits, but remains hopeful they will be forthcoming.

Scots combatants

Clan Munro USA hopes to trace Monroe's Scottish roots through YDNA testing. The Y chromosome is only carried by men and is passed virtually unchanged from father to son.

The society has already successfully tracked down and tested a living descendant of Monroe's great grandfather.

The results were compared to the others in its Munro DNA Project, a database of hundreds of samples provided by Munros living all over the world whose family trees have been studied.

The project includes the descendants of Munros from Easter Ross in the Highlands, also the fifth US president James Monroe and Scots soldiers who were imprisoned and then banished to the American colonies after the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

Worcester was the last battle of the English Civil Wars and involved thousands of Scots combatants.

The association said the YDNA test already done had shown that the Hollywood actress was a descendant of one of those soldiers, said to be a Highlander whose family came from Aldie, near Tain, in the Munro clan's Easter Ross stronghold.

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