The search for Scottish relatives of screen icon Marilyn Monroe was launched amid much fanfare and huge optimism.
The American descendants of the Scottish Munro clan had excitedly discovered that long lost cousins of the glamorous Hollywood icon hailed from a remote town in the blustery Highlands.
Soon after they began testing the DNA of locals, to their joy, Clan Munro USA found a match. However, amid deepening suspicion from the Scottish side of the family, the trail appears to have rather run cold.
The one Munro found to be related to Marilyn Monroe failed to respond to any contact from the Americans, suggesting he wants nothing to do with the project, even after volunteering his DNA.
Scots, the American genealogists have learned, are not interested in finding out if they are related to an American actress, even if she was one of the most biggest stars of all time.
Colin Munro, of the Scottish Clan Munro Association, spoke of a disdain for being lectured about their heritage by the American side of the family.
He said: “Scots think they know who they are and don’t want to find out if they’re wrong.
“It could also be that many Scots do not believe anything is really free.”
Clan Munro USA has been forced to concede that it is rather disappointed with its findings, “surprised” that the less enthusiastic Scots did not get involved.
The project began after it was discovered that an ancestor of Monroe was a soldier exiled to America after the English Civil War and launched an appeal to find more ancestors.
Organisers might have been forgiven for getting their hopes up when they did eventually find one living descendant of the US actress.
“We found one Scot who shares DNA with Marilyn Monroe’s relatives. He has a close DNA match,” revealed Margaret Bardin of Clan Munro USA, Texas.
“He lived in the north-east of Scotland and has Scottish heritage but moved to Birmingham. That gentleman participated as a favour and we paid for his testing.
“He has not continued to correspond with me. We have to respect his privacy.”
The Clan Munro Association appears to have washed its hands of the whole affair, pointing anyone interested in the DNA project firmly in the direction of America.
“Do not contact the Clan Munro website about DNA matters”, it declares on its website. “The contact is the (US based) Munro DNA Project.”
Hector Munro, 67, chief of the Munro clan, acknowledged that there was a vast difference in attitudes between the Americans and their Scottish counterparts when it came to tracing their lineage.
“The Scots think they know their history so they aren’t as keen to get involved,” he said.
“The further people get away from the Highlands, the more interested they are. It’s about capturing that feeling of belonging.”
Mr Munro, from Dingwall in the Highlands, said the ultimate aim of the project was to broaden the Munro DNA database and that the Marilyn link had likely been used as something of a hook to capture the imagination.
“Obviously, she is rather iconic,” he added. “They tried it with James Monroe, the fifth US president, but didn’t get any takers.
“I suppose they thought if they threw in a bit of sex they might get a different result but I don’t think it has.”
Mr Munro also noted that Brits were “a bit more reserved” than Americans and rather more reticent about handing over personal information.
Clan Munro USA launched its offer of free DNA testing to Munro men of Highland origin last summer, to coincide with what would have been Monroe’s 90th birthday.
The Some Like It Hot star, who died aged 36 in 1962 of a drugs overdose, was born Norma Jeane Mortenson but took her screen name from her mother, Gladys Pearl Monroe.
Research based on DNA from a paternal relative of her grandfather, Otis Elmer Monroe, found a link to a John Munroe, a soldier from Aldie, near the small town of Tain on the coast of the Dornoch Firth, who travelled to America in the 17th century.
Munro was thought to have been one of hundreds of Scottish mercenaries who fought for the Royalist cause during the English Civil War before being exiled after its defeat by Oliver Cromwell. He is thought to have eventually settled in what is now Rhode Island.
The YDNA tests look at the Y chromosome which is only carried by men and is passed virtually unchanged from father to son.
Colin Munro suggested any potential links with Marilyn may be a little spurious.
“We are talking about more than ten generations ago and of course, Marilyn didn’t have this Y chromosome at all,” he added.