During his childhood, Nicholas Casey, Madrid bureau chief for The New York Times, received visits from his father. He would arrive from some faraway place where the ships on which he worked had taken him, regaling his son with endless stories. He had black curly hair like Nicholas’s and the beard he would one day grow.
But then after Nicholas’s seventh birthday, he vanished.
It was the beginning of a mystery that would lead the reporter to Cuba, South America and Los Angeles on a mission of selfhood.
The familial riddle that plagued him would remain unsolved until his 33rd birthday with a gift from his mother: an ancestry test.
He wondered whether the truth about his father changed something essential about him or, in his words, “whether this long journey that has led me to so many corners of the world wasn’t because I was searching for him, but because I am him.”
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Additional production for The Sunday Read was contributed by Emma Kehlbeck, Parin Behrooz, Carson Leigh Brown, Anna Diamond, Elena Hecht, Desiree Ibekwe, Tanya Perez, Marion Lozano, Corey Schreppel, Margaret Willison and Kate Winslett. Special thanks to Mike Benoist, Sam Dolnick, Laura Kim, Julia Simon, Lisa Tobin, Blake Wilson and Ryan Wegner.