Ancestors I can and can’t claim for different reasons

14 Feb

I’ve researched my paternal family tree since the 1940 census was released a couple of years ago that allowed me to know who my grandparents were.  While I’ve hit brick walls on part of the tree, other parts have become amazingly clear and well documented.  There’s a pretty big reason for how well documented it is, and yet, I want even more info than I’ve found, at the same time, I realize what a gift just having the knowledge to get this far and that makes me feel guilty, knowing others will never have theirs.  Everyday I see postings by people born in the 1940’s whose parents would have been born in the first quarter of the last century, what hope do they have of even being able to do a family tree?

I also find myself in somewhat of a bemused state and I’m not sure that I can explain.  While I consider everyone in my family by adoption that I knew, to be family, I don’t consider those who passed before I was born to be my ancestors.  Not sure if that makes sense, but when I talk, or think about any of Dad’s ancestors, they are his ancestors, not mine, even though he is my Dad.  Dad’s ancestry fascinates me because I am his child, and he was who he was because of who came before him and what they passed down physically and morally.  The same happens on Mom’s side too – anyone I personally knew is my relative, and those I didn’t, are Mom’s ancestors, not mine.  I never considered that to any extent, nor felt the need to explore why I made that verbal distinction, until I started my paternal family tree.  My ancestors in my paternal tree are all my ancestors, but I don’t feel I have the right to publicly claim them, because I’ve never had a relationship with any of them, but they are still mine, in a way that Mom and Dads ancestors aren’t.

That betwixt and between really drove home how mixed up this being adopted can be.  I am not fully one or the other, I am both, but not, if that makes any sense.  The secrets and lies never end – they exist whether I am looking forward, or back to the past.

I would love nothing more than to write about specifics of the story I just found that is evolving into a startling clear picture of who my paternal family was back then.  It includes puritans who I first learned about when researching Dad’s family tree, as his ancestors who came to the Colonies were puritans.  My paternal tree starts in the same state and century, they too were puritans and came to the colonies just a few years after Dad’s ancestors did.  There were many things in common between my two families back in the 1600’s, yet their paths changed and went different ways after a specific event.

One of my paternal ancestors, I think, is a direct line ancestor was convicted and hanged in 1692 in the Salem Witch Trials, her son (my line) was just reaching manhood when that happened.  If true, whether this would have been part of my family lore growing up if I hadn’t been adopted, or if it would had been covered up and never talked of again, I’ll never know.  What I do know is that  my family history, at least it should have been mine to know, or discover.  I wouldn’t be able to officially claim I’m her descendent, because adoption severed my link to her.

It just all seems to inherently wrong that my dna comes from people I’m not legally related too, or feel I can publicly claim…

Sealing original birth certificates away from the adoptee steals our history from us.  The law severs us from our entire biological family when our mother (and/or father) signs away their right to parent us, and our parents adopt us.  Everyone should have a right to their history, to be able to find, and have the right to claim their ancestors.  I wish that adoption did not legally sever our biological link to our entire family.  Why would anyone have ever think this was a good thing to do?


Posted by on February 14, 2015 in Adoption, adoptive parents


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33 responses to “Ancestors I can and can’t claim for different reasons

  1. L4R

    February 15, 2015 at 12:07 am

    Like you, if I didn’t a relationship with someone in my adoptive family, I’m not related to them.

    But, I am related to all my blood relatives, living or dead. I won’t publicly claim my mother’s side of the family. She is on the closet, and I want to respect her privacy.

    But, I will publicly claim my father’s side of the family. He doesn’t care who knows about me.

    I don’t care whether or not my ancestors would have an issue with me claiming them as my own. They are mine. My mother is the only one who signed paperwork, so why exactly does one person get to sever me permanently from my entire family?

    Genealogy isn’t about legal ties. It’s about blood. That’s what’s great about genealogy. I belong. I can be kicked out of the family legally, but my blood doesn’t change.


    • TAO

      February 15, 2015 at 12:53 am

      See we are the reverse – my mothers side is fine with me being in the tree…my father not so much…and that family tree is the one I’m talking about here…


  2. L4R

    February 15, 2015 at 12:11 am

    Wow! I shouldn’t post using a Kindle. Hopefully, my post is comprehensible, even though a word or two is missing and autocorrect had a bit too much fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thaddeus Dabrowski

    February 15, 2015 at 12:48 am

    I can not dismiss or discount the multi generational psychological and cultural heritage passed to me by my adoptive family. The ep-igenetic and physical-genetic heritage from my natural family blends with the adoptive to produce my unique self. To know my self I must know as much as can be learned about both heritage lines.


    • TAO

      February 15, 2015 at 12:51 am

      Thaddeus – I agree with you…thanks for commenting


  4. L4R

    February 15, 2015 at 1:30 am

    I don’t discount the contribution my adoptive family and its ancestors have made to my life. I know that some of these distant ancestors of my adoptive family may have had an effect on who I’ve become. But, I view them the same way I view other non-related people who have been important in my life.

    I have done some genealogy for my adoptive line, and I think it’s interesting, but it doesn’t tug at my soul the way my doing my biological family tree does….

    When I was in 3rd grade, there was another adoptee in my class. She believed herself to be of Irish ancestry because her adoptive parents were Irish. As I was a young child, I argued with her about biology. But, since that time, I realized that adoptees have to be allowed to give their own definitions of family and of genealogical connection.


  5. Beth

    February 15, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Glad I am not the only one! It is an odd feeling isn’t it? I fight it with my handy dandy defiant attitude.
    I think the DNA test I took with my Dad gives me power on that branch, and being welcomed as family certainly helps.

    I often leave notes on findagrave memorials giving my, and my kids, connection.

    When ever I do this sort of thing, and in the record keeping, I am always thinking about those I am really doing it for. I do it for me, sure, absolutely, but mostly for my future descendants and descendants of all of my brothers, sister, cuzins. I am always thinking of a current or future lost one, like me, who may find this info, so I leave as many bread crumbs as I can out there for them, just in case.

    I don’t hide any crumbs either ! I feel guilty about it sometimes, like I am being a threat to the secret… intruding on someone’s family, an embarrassment to them.
    Too bad, it’s my family too, and nothing that other family members have recorded or posted has bothered me a bit (as long as it’s true!) So, I think the others will be just fine with my respectful facts.

    It’s not easy making that legit and real connection to my family and me – I was given the job to protect that secret for so long. And for so long, I didn’t realize I was doing the same thing as the rest – keeping the secret hidden. So, F that!

    I do not feel bad LOL well, I try not to let it bug me, no need for it to bug me, right? I have never vowed to keep any secrets. If my research and crumb leaving embarrasses or upsets someone in MY family, tuff toads for them. So far so good, people have been happy to see me out there and have connected with quite a few cousins from it.

    The day my bio and memorial go public there will be no secrets anywhere. It has every detail and crumb there is, and it will be out there for the public to see in print. And most importantly, it will be out there for all of those that want to see it. The others, I am really not so concerned about, they are free to complain all they wish, that’s all they can do. Me and mine, we’re good.

    Some of my Dad’s ancestors that I never met, like his grandmother, I feel a closeness with. I think it is because “I got to know her” from my dad’s stories and kind words about her.
    The day that I found my Dad and I shared common distant grandparents – I just about flipped.

    Since then, with every common ancestor I’ve found with my afamily, my inlaws, my daughters inlaws, my neighbors and friends – I’ve felt more legitimately connected to people, the human race, in general. Crazy, but true for me.

    One thing I have learned from all of this is the fact that it really is easy and possible and highly likely for me (or anyone who’s ancestors have been in this country for hundreds of years) to “marry” a brother, uncle or cousin… distant as they may be.
    A legit concern and possibility, not some impossible mythical tale of the unknown.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      February 15, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      Exactly Beth – you explained it way better than I did…it’s kind of like a should I than anything else – yet I never agreed to keep secret who I was…damned if you do, damned if you don’t, and yet, I care but don’t care at the same time..

      This: “Some of my Dad’s ancestors that I never met, like his grandmother, I feel a closeness with. I think it is because “I got to know her” from my dad’s stories and kind words about her.” I have that feeling of closeness, almost as if I knew them even though they passed before I was born – because of the stories that showed the closeness – if that makes any sense. Everyone should tell their kids stories of those already passed…I think it is important and connects us to others in a way that I can’t begin to explain other than it links us to humanity in a way that I don’t see happening today with disposable everything including family. I think without connections that span generations and centuries – we lose part of who we are as people…


      • Beth

        February 15, 2015 at 4:36 pm

        ” I think without connections that span generations and centuries – we lose part of who we are as people…”

        I believe that, I know that as a fact for me. I am one mere example of it, I am proof of it, proof that it’s true and real.

        It’s a true loss, and I often feel for those that don’t realize what they are missing by not knowing about their previous generations. Who where when and what happened for me to be the me I am today. It’s not just about me, but all those before and after, I believe in my depths that it is an important thing to know for everyone.
        Especially for those those that want to know, that ache to know!

        I love finding the interesting to me stories, and even the regular boring ones, of my ancestors. Makes me feel full and right in the world somehow.

        I know what you mean, I care and I don’t care at the same time. Luckily I am defiant enough to not care most of the time.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Robin

      February 15, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      Beth wrote:” I’ve felt more legitimately connected to people, the human race, in general. Crazy, but true for me.”

      I don’t think that’s crazy at all. Every person ever born is connected biologically to others. It’s the foundation of human existence and a key part of the human experience. That’s why the study of genealogy is so important to so many people. I think it is even the #1 ‘hobby’ in the United States. It’s the closed adoption system that’s crazy. The system that says some of us–those of us unlucky enough to be part of the closed system without our consent–can live our lives without this genetic connection to the people we come from and will feel no loss as a result. Finding our blood relatives and ancestors gives us a sense of being rooted and makes us feel connected to other people, because we now have our roots.


      • Beth

        February 16, 2015 at 2:39 pm

        Thank you Robin, that was beautiful.
        And I agree, the crazy part was/is what being disconnected, at second one of life on this planet, can do a person.
        Not only can that craziness disconnect a human from their mother, father, family, but it can grow and spread in all directions where other humans can be found.

        I know well what it feels like to have no roots at all, that floating alien feeling, not quite right. Different. Unique. Unknown. Mysterious. Scary.

        I also know what it feels like to grow and keep roots, strong and deep, healthy can’t budge me now without killing me roots…good luck with that.

        I love my roots, no matter how twisted and tangled and broken they are, I need them.
        I think I have even healed them now.

        I wonder often if how I feel now is “normal”. Like what most people feel like who didn’t have that non-connection made for them?

        I am a real girl, it feels real. Not so sure if that’s crazy or not tho.
        Can’t help but think about that boy made out of Pin Oak when I think about this stuff.

        Very thankful for hobbies! I have become extremely pro-hobby LOL


  6. Beth

    February 15, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    I get excited about this stuff and type too much, sorry.

    I also do the what if’s, a lot, too much.
    What if I had known about some of my people all along?
    What if I knew one of my grandfathers signed the Declaration of Independence?
    Or that my Dad, me and Abe Lincoln share common grandparents?
    Or that Betty Zane was a great Aunt of mine
    and would I have said basically the same thing she did in a time of trouble if I had known she, or anyone, had said it long before me? Would my buddy have freaked out like he did when he saw ‘Betty Zane’ on youtube saying the same thing as I did one day?

    Would I be different if I knew about's_Trace

    or that they still have a Day about my ggpa Issac Zane and reenactments annually?

    What if I had known my grandmother Myeerah Zane’s story all along, or that her father who captured and married her mother, was one of my grandfather’s too
    What if I had known that Myeerah married Issac, who had been captured and not released for ransom like his brothers but adopted into the tribe as Tarhe’s son, later to marry the chief’s daughter, also his “adopted” sister, Myeerah.

    What if I knew one of my ggfathers,, married Pocahontas’ gdaughter, was a member of the house of Burgesses in 1702, made me a “White bowling” by second wife, and his gson Robert “was one of the most prolific poets in colonial Virginia”

    or If I had known about my many note worthy pioneer grandmothers like Malinda Diamond or my grandmother Sarah who got in a canoe with her husband in the early 1700’s and paddled the New River from Virginia to Kentucky across the mountains with everything they owned. I know that river like the back of my hand, and I almost died there once. Those people I thought about while paddling that river, the people who traveled it in the wild long before me…. many were MY people. The many trails that were made, and those made by my Zane family, many I have walked with my own feet long before I knew who had walked, or made them, before me.

    What if I knew about all of my ancestors that were written in our common History Books? History books I had in school. I’ve found so many I doubt I will ever be able to read it all with the time I may have left.

    Would I be different if I had known that one of my grandfather’s organized the first group Long Hunt in VA/KY long before Daniel Boone came to town, and that his father invented the rifling on the Kentucky long rifle?
    Or if I knew about my 2nd ggrandparents who had apple orchards, vineyards, their own coal mine and were considered the “doctors” in the area because they were knowledgeable about herbs, home remedies and such?
    What if I knew about all of my grandparents who happily had 12, or even 20+ children? After growing up in a family with generational infertility – it’s a whole new outlook for me.

    There are so many more stories I have found, I can only absorb so much at a time and often have to take a break from the “quickening” the “changing”. It’s exhausting, but in a good way along with the hurtful.

    Would I be different today if I still did not know I am living on my many great grandfathers land?

    I would.
    My kids would, my family would, my home would, my friends, my neighbors, most everything would be different now if I did not find that fact. And I’ve only known it for a decade or so, what if I had known it all along? What if I still didn’t know my grumpy neighbor and closest friend was a cousin to me?

    I have found so many commonalities between me and my ancestors. Answers to puzzling puzzles I have been studying my whole life.
    So much of what I have found in my ancestors, I found in myself too. It’s shocking, drop to your knees shocking to me, and it has dropped me, and others that know me, to our knees several times.
    I do, I wonder a lot how things would have been had I known these things all along.
    I know I know I will never know.

    One day, I or someone!, will be able to make some sense out of this experiment of mine. I am just happy to have so much of it to look at and carry around in my bucket now. In fact, I now need more buckets 🙂 and some help carrying them!

    I really had now idea how knowing some of this stuff could change me, until I did. That makes it so much harder not to do the what if’s. I try so hard not to, but… come on, gotta be realistic sometimes!

    TAO, like you, the similarities I have found with my adopted Dad and his ancestors, the pictures, the attitudes, interests, talents and ways of life…
    guess what – found the same for me – imagine that.
    And I still want more, more, more, much more detail.

    I’m claiming all of it and sharing all of it, in public, guilty feelings and all!
    It’s only right, and I am sticking with that. I do not need permission – and that is the truth.
    One day it will just be my ancestry, just like everyone else, just a thing I know, maybe LOL, maybe for my kids or grandkids I hope.
    Yet I know it will always be a big deal to me, and mine too.
    And no one need wonder why, now.


    • TAO

      February 15, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      Any comment with more than two links goes to moderation…

      “I have found so many commonalities between me and my ancestors. Answers to puzzling puzzles I have been studying my whole life.
      So much of what I have found in my ancestors, I found in myself too. It’s shocking, drop to your knees shocking to me, and it has dropped me, and others that know me, to our knees several times.
      I do, I wonder a lot how things would have been had I known these things all along.
      I know I know I will never know.”

      I think this is why I got so interested in genealogy – the stories dad of his ancestors told painted slightly different but same pictures of who he was. I had to learn more and took the tree back a couple of generations and found the same slightly different pictures of Dad…then I had to do mine to see if those things about me would show up in my ancestry – it’s a journey for sure that takes far more than just a road map built on birth/death and census records but gleaming bits and pieces written in historical books about the village and it’s inhabitants…it’s time consuming and I can only do so much at a time…


      • Beth

        February 15, 2015 at 4:53 pm

        “Any comment with more than two links goes to moderation…”
        I know, and thought about it, then thought you might be bored with nothing else to do, and so did not want that for you 🙂 I even thought about adding some more links, but figured you couldn’t be that bored!

        The burning at the stake story you stumbled on is a very interesting one. I saw someone’s ancestors story like that on TV, I think it was Gwyneth Paltrow’s ancestor?
        I’m getting hooked on the social stuff in puritan and quaker town, ideas about family and such, very interesting how much of that has formed so much of what we know and how we live today.

        I have always had fear of being burned at the stake, or being exiled from or killed by community (can’t imagine why ). It wouldn’t be a surprising thing if it happened to me today LOL threats have been made! So I look in my Puritan and Quaker time and place, and would not be surprised if I stumbled across a story like that somewhere too!

        Yes, I think in that sort of way now LOL stranger things have really happened.

        If we keep at it, we might find out that we are cousins one day, would not surprise me a bit!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Beth

    February 15, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    The day I saw a picture of one of my gggreat grandfathers from 1850, and at first wondered, why is this picture of my son here? wth? Who put this here and when did he get one of these old timey pictures made at the amusement park and didn’t even give me a copy!?

    Then my brain straightened out and I realized who I was looking at.
    Our gggreat grandfather, a banker, a bank founder, born in 1823.
    At the time my son had just begun his first semester in college to obtain his degree in Finance.
    It sat me down and shut me up – for a while LOL


    • TAO

      February 15, 2015 at 5:28 pm

      WOW…that’s amazing…and scary…


      • Beth

        February 15, 2015 at 6:41 pm

        It is scary.
        Why is it scary?

        It’s everything, like most things, scary, cool, amazing, love it, wish I had always known it angry, heart wrenching, heart filling, makes ya cry, someone please release the doves good, rainbow and sunbeam right – but why is it scary?
        Would it be scary if I had always known it?
        I think so, but maybe not if I could say it was just a coincidence, or knowledge of it led him to it.
        Is it so right and obviously true, proven, that it’s scary?
        It’s goosebump scary. Scary enough to make your stomach dizzy, to give you a panic, a scare, a fright.
        Freaky scary. Scary enough to make you grab a cross and start praying the evil away since you see that magic really exists LOL

        What’s up with that? Why is it scary?

        I see it all the time in people on the ancestry shows on TV


  8. L4R

    February 15, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    We’ve often been told our genetics don’t really matter. Pay no attention to that other family behind the curtain. But, then, we see photos of ancestors long gone or learn about their lives–and we find resemblances.

    I think it is scary because we were sold a bill of goods and were told that loss of genetic mirroring was no big deal. But, for many of us, it was a big deal. And, to see ourselves mirrored in others is scary and thrilling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beth

      February 16, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      A very big scary thrilling deal to me!

      I typed to my son about some of it. I think I might have done something right with this kid, er, man.

      “Mama, The clouds did open, and the sun did shine a great light on the magic that our ancient mother and father were given to create. That kind of magic is scary, and amazing. You should know. You made that magic happen too!”

      Does it come down to the power and magic of birth and life? maybe so 🙂

      I’ve seen the fright in others, and the thrill! On the TV shows I see similar reactions in most everyone when they find an unknown ancestors story, especially when it’s interesting, when commonalities are found with them.

      So I am hoping it’s like that for most people, not just those that have lost it thru theft by secrets and/or lies. But I really don’t know.


  9. cb

    February 16, 2015 at 11:44 am

    “While I consider everyone in my family by adoption that I knew, to be family, I don’t consider those who passed before I was born to be my ancestors”

    That’s how I feel too. I am interested in them because they are related to my parents and thus helped shape them but like you, I don’t consider most of those that have passed before I was born to be my relatives (the exception being my grandparents – they may not be biologically related and they all died before I was born but they are my grandparents).

    On the other hand, I do feel more of a connection to those long ago relatives of my bmother – her parents when I would have 5 (grandfather) and 27 (grandmother) – if I had decided to make contact when I got my OBC, my grandmother might have still been alive – whether she would have been open to contact is another story (I have no idea).

    Mum’s ancestors are very illustrious including a Chief Judge and a founder of a Merchant Bank. Mum’s mum is mentioned in “The Peerage”. Today, I had another look and just discovered that mum’s 5th cousin is Princess Diana (the Merchant Banker’s granddaughter married a Spencer and they are Diana’s great grandparents)).

    My own brelatives may be less “illustrious” but they are very interesting to me :). I have a convict ancestor and he and his brother (who came out later with both families) were pioneer settlers in a farming region and my grandparents are descended from them (they are 3rd cousins twice over as their mothers were also related)). Everyone in their small town was either related to each other or married to people related to each other lol. There are about 8 surnames names that stand out in that region and all of them are somewhere in the family tree. Families in the region have been well documented in various family trees so I didn’t have to do too much genealogical work – however, trying to get things straight was the hardest thing. A lot of ancestors have been buried in the cemeteries local to the area and for one of the cemeteries, someone did a book about every single person buried in the cemetery which, because they were all local to that area, really helped to give an insight into the residents of the area.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Beth

    February 16, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    “My own brelatives may be less “illustrious” but they are very interesting to me :). ”

    Those are my favorite stories to find, especially when there are lots of details. Sure, Princess Daina, president blah blah, the good doctors and rich lawyers, they are all illustrious and everything, but ….I yawn a little 🙂

    I had a prisoner grandfather too. He and his brother got caught stealing oatmeal. They sent one to the US in servitude and the other to Barbados, one of their cousins was sent to Australia.

    I absolutely love the pioneer stories. My kids say it’s just because if I had to, I could live in the 1700’s with little adjustment in lifestyle, I can relate. LOL


  11. cb

    February 16, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    “one of their cousins was sent to Australia.”

    Hey Beth, maybe we are related! Now that would be cool 🙂

    My ancestor stole a sheep – he ended up as a sheep farmer as did many of his descendants. My grandparents had a farm with mainly sheep although my grandfather had a second job.


    • Raven

      February 17, 2015 at 6:49 am

      Hey, CB — thought you’d like to know that I finally discovered my Michael Kearnes did indeed end up in NSW after being sent there from Ireland to serve a prison sentence as an 18-year-old young man. Since the last time you and I talked, I also broke through the brick wall on Daniel McMullen, Sarah Kearnes husband. I discovered who his parents were and that he immigrated to NSW, Australia, with his mother and siblings as a child. His mom was widowed a few days before she gave birth to the youngest child and moved them all to NSW to begin a new life. Dan and Sarah evidently were the only ones from both families who immigrated to America, so I have hundreds if not thousands of Aussie cousins! 🙂


      • cb

        February 17, 2015 at 12:46 pm

        I wondered whether you’d found out more, Raven. I’ll send you a message via somewhere else 🙂


    • Beth

      February 17, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Ha! I would like it if we were… and… I will really like it one day when we find out How we are related!

      See, I love stories like that. I do hope he liked sheep, at least a little! I’ve always wondered if mine could ever eat oatmeal again after all of that.

      A branch of my husbands is like one of yours. Sort of like… there were 6 mountains in that area of Virginia, each had a family living on it and they all married each others brothers and sisters. I still have yet to figure out how to make a picture of it… all on one page, I think it is impossible. Luckily it only went on for about two generations before many started moving to other areas. I have a branch or two like that too. It’s very confusing, especially when kids are absorbed by other families. I still can’t find who the parents/family of my husbands grandfather are. Grandfather! It’s driving me nuts. I’ve gotten many generations back on all other lines, this one is ticking me off LOL

      I saw on that Amish Mafia show that they have a long line of the same families uniting in marriage for many generations. There were only so many people in the group, they’ve found serious genetic issues and diseases. And when they do, they hide them away from the group and everyone! That was an upsetting show, didn’t know that went on.


  12. Beth

    February 17, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    A young friend got me laughing this morning 🙂 saying things like this;

    “DNA = that’s where the real ghosts live.
    “That’s where your ancestors souls get to go, into your DNA.
    “Not all of the ancestors souls stick tho, sometimes just part of them, sometimes none at all, sometimes one of them takes over completely.”
    “OooooOOoooooOooo Ghosts are all around us and inside of us!”
    “My 4th great grandma says to tell you; “BOO!”
    “My 7th great grandpa would really like some pancakes for breakfast, or he may get grumpy. But whatever you do, please, do not make oatmeal!”

    “My 6th great grandma says she thinks she knows you… were you ever in Giles, VA in the 70’s? The 1770’s?”
    “Hey, remember when…. you and I were in that Battle together, and you stuck me in the leg with your sword, you were such a jerk, I can easily pay you back now.”

    It sure does get silly around here when we are snowbound – with too many heart shaped boxes of chocolates to choose from.


  13. yan

    February 17, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this for days. I’ve traced both my families back a few generations. My amom’s family goes back the furthest, which is interesting intellectually, but yeah, not related. I think I did my afamily tree before my own because I felt guilty being so curious about my natural trees. They are kind of short, though, as my great-grandparents on both sides came from countries without easily searchable records (and likely, in at least one case, quasi-legal entry to this country). But THAT is where I come from.

    I always knew, intellectually, that I wasn’t the Irish-American girl my parents raised me to be. But I didn’t understand it until I met my first mother. I didn’t know what it was to be anything else. It’s still confusing some days.


    • TAO

      February 17, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      It’s definitely confusing Yan…do you have a subscription to ancestry?


      • yan

        February 18, 2015 at 12:53 pm

        I do. I occasionally put it on hold for half a year when I realize I’m not using it regularly, but I find having it there to open when I need it very comforting. So far, though, I’ve been too cheap to spring for the expanded packages where I can access non-US records. I don’t quite have enough to go on for those anyway.


  14. Julie

    February 18, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Taking up genealogy as an obsess- oops, I mean, hobby, has been absolutely fascinating for me. I love learning about my origins. It’s also helped in an unexpected way – I’ve discovered that there are plenty of illegitimate children and second marriages and adoptions both into and out of the family, so I am by no means as much of a “black sheep” as I felt at the beginning of my reunion.

    I have done a fair amount of research on my adoptive family’s tree, but my parents show little/no interest or encouragement regarding my efforts. I enjoy learning about their history even so, but I do not feel the same connection to their distant past as I do to my own. I like how you described feeling that people you didn’t have a personal relationship with are “mom’s ancestors” but not your ancestors. That’s a good way of putting it.

    Tao, I also have ancestors (on my natural dad’s side of the tree) who were in Salem during the witch trials, but were involved mostly from the government side of things. Email me if you have any interest in figuring out if/how our ancestors might have been connected in history!!


  15. Beth

    February 19, 2015 at 12:24 am

    When I request information or assistance from other researchers,
    doesn’t matter if it’s my adopted or genetic family trees,
    it sort of feels the same as when I am doing research for a non-related friend –
    I feel uncomfortable if I don’t mention my connection.

    I guess it could simply be because I have been or I am disconnected in some way in each situation.

    I used to mention it, I quit doing that unless/until it becomes needed.
    I still feel a little uncomfortable, like I am keeping a secret or not being up front, even with my own genetic branches.

    Do you mention it?


    • cb

      February 19, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Beth, I’m the same. I always make it clear what my connection is although I usually try to let them know by message.

      I am apparently going to be mentioned in our next family history book but I made it clear to the secretary that she needs to make my connections clear.

      Btw where in Australia did your relatives end up? I’m just asking because it would be interesting if they ended up in the same part of Australia as my ancestors.


      • Beth

        February 26, 2015 at 1:09 pm

        cb, that’s so cool that you will be in your family history book. 🙂
        I am in one now too, my neighbors, who I now know are family, have a huge reunion annually. They have a big book and hours of videos full of pictures and stories. It’s really neat.
        I was so excited when I found out I was going to be included.
        I had no idea how it would hit me when I saw it all, in public – like a friggin freight train.
        I even had snot
        It was embarrassing LOL but I got lots of hugs and welcomes, and tears, and presents, and cake…
        Just wanted to warn you 🙂



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