It was a shock to learn that my father came from Polish nobility. But then, surprises have been coming thick and fast since I set out last year to learn about my birth father and his family.
First, I discovered that Stanislaw Zebrowski, the father who disappeared from my life when I was four, was buried in an unmarked grave in a town in Northern Ontario.
Then I learned that his father, my grandfather Ignacy, had been a bodyguard to Tsar Nicholas II in the Kremlin. After that, he became the mayor of his community.
And now I'm looking at a certificate that confirms that the Zebrowski family were Polish nobility. elevated by another Tsar, Alexander II, to the ranks of Noblemen of the Kingdom of Poland in the year 1855.
It was my great great grandfather, also named Ignacy, who was appointed to the House of Jasieńczyk, a group of 130 noble families entitled since 1406 to bear the Jasieńczyk coat of arms.
It was an honour that passed through legitimate descendants, both male and female. Sadly for my hopes of being addressed as 'Your Ladyship', the privileges of the nobility were legally abolished by the Second Polish Republic in 1921 and never reinstated.
So my father Stanislaw, who was born in 1914, may have been eligible for the title and the use of the coat of arms - at least for the first seven years of his life.
It's sad to think that the son of a noble line, landowners and community leaders, died penniless and was buried in an unmarked grave on a windy hilltop cemetery seven thousand kilometres from the village in Poland that had nurtured his family for at least eight generations.
The picture that accompanies this article shows the 168 year old certificate ennobling my great great grandfather, and (inset) the family coat of arms.