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The controversial artist, Tracey Emin, as perhaps befits her personality, character and extraordinary work, has a somewhat colourful ancestry. WDYTYA? will probably concentrate on her unconventional parentage and upbringing in the Kent seaside resort of Margate. Indeed, she has sometimes been referred to in the press as "Mad Tracey from Margate"!
Now aged 48, she and her twin brother Paul were born in 1963 at Croydon, Surrey. The first clue that something was slightly unusual came when I discovered that the entries for the twins in the birth indexes of the General Register Office for England and Wales (GRO) for the July-September quarter of 1963 are duplicated. They appear as Paul and Tracey Emin and also as Paul and Tracey Cashin. However, the mother's maiden name in both cases is given as Dodge.
This is because the parents were both married to other people at the time.
You can see the birth records here:
Tracey's father, Enver Emin, was a Turkish Cypriot businessman who was already married with a wife and family in London when he met her mother, Pam Cashin. He owned a 70-bedroom hotel in Margate, the Hotel International, and installed Pam and her twins there, shuttling back and forth between his two families.
Both families knew about each other and when Tracey was four her father even transported both, separately, across Europe and put them up in hotels on the Black Sea for two months.
Enver Emin, who died in May 2010, aged 89, was a charismatic character and an obviously charming womaniser who admitted to having fathered 11 children, though in an interview Tracey claimed he once told her he'd had 23! Probably it is from her father that Tracey Emin gets her rebelliousness and eccentricity that characterises her bizarre art works .When Enver went bankrupt in 1972, Tracey, her mother and twin brother went from relative prosperity to poverty, squatting in a small staff cottage when the hotel was boarded up while her mother had to go out to work as a waitress. Her father was living mostly in Turkey, so for much of her childhood Tracey was unsupervised, which probably accounts for much of the later excesses of her wild life. She was raped at 13 - an event she later turned into a "loosely autobiographical" film - and became pregnant with twins at 18 but had them aborted.
Looks like It will be an interesting episode. Tune in to BBC1 at 9pm tonight for the finale of Who Do You Think You Are? series 9, with Tracey Emin.
Research by Roy Stockdill
Roy Stockdill has been a family historian for 35 years. A former national newspaper journalist, he edited the Journal of One-Name Studies (for the Guild of One-Name Studies) for 10 years. He is on the board of trustees of the Society of Genealogists, chairman of the SoG's Publications Working Party and commissioning editor of the 'My Ancestors...' series of books. He writes regularly for commercial family history magazines.