Dad comes from a family in which he was one of six siblings. There were three girls and three boys.
Time has passed and now there are just two boys and a girl left. The oldest and the youngest and the next to youngest have all passed. The others, while battling their own health issues, are in fairly good shape.
Dad and I try to visit them as often as we are able, since his siblings live in eastern New York state in the Schenectady area. For those who do not know where Schenectady is, it is next to Albany, the New York state capital.
They live in the little towns surrounding the city of Schenectady, as did Dad shortly after he turned 12. That is when his father died and some time afterwards he and my Uncle Bob were sent to live with grandma’s half brother. Eventually the rest of the family would move there.
I’ve had contact in recent years with my cousins – the children of Dad’s siblings. There has been connection that was missing. Dad’s oldest sibling was my late Aunt Margaret, who lived in Kentucky with her husband and daughter when she died.
Her daughter had a daughter early in life but recognizing that she couldn’t provide for her little one, as she’d have liked to, she made the courageous decision to put her up for adoption.
We had only had a quick visit with this child a few weeks after she was born when my cousin stopped for a quick visit. But after the adoption, all contact was gone. Over the years we’ve wondered how she was, if she had a good family and so on.
She eventually reached out to her mother’s half sister, one of my best friends and I finally heard that she had a wonderful adoptive family who loved her very much. It was a blessing to know that.
I sent a friend request but was not able to connect. Life got busy and time moved on as it usually does.
Then recently as I logged onto Ancestry.com to work on the family record, I noticed that I had a message. It was from a girl who said our DNA through Ancestry labeled us as first or second cousins. I knew immediately who this had to be. I immediately answered her back. I likely wrote too much, bursting with welcome and family connections, wanting to tell her so much as well as let her know I was so happy to hear from her. Both of my siblings have reached out to her and they’ve begun to talk. Maybe some day we will meet again.
If for no other reason, having her reach out because of our DNA tests has made the decision to do a DNA test via Ancestry worth it.
I originally did it to find out where it would say my ancestors were from. I was curious. I look mostly like my Mom. For most of my life people have told me how much I look like my mother. So I wondered if my DNA would lean towards mother’s German roots or would they lean towards Dad English ones.
The first result had my ancestry as mostly Scandinavia (42 percent) with smaller amounts from Ireland/Scotland (25 percent), England (13 percent) as well as Eastern (2 percent), Southern (5 percent) and Western Europe (9 percent) and European Jewish and Finland tying at 2 percent. Of course, I joked that I must be a Viking. As more people have taken the test however those results have changed. A look at the result today says my ancestors were 72 percent from England, Wales and Northwestern Europe with only 19 percent from Norway, 6 percent from Germanic Europe and 3 percent from Sweden.
But no matter the ancestral roots, it’s family that matters – those here today. Connecting with this lost cousin has been a wonderful surprise and as she builds her family tree I hope to share memories of her grandmother, her great-grandmother with her as well has reconnect her with the many cousins she has and the great uncles and great aunt that still survive. We’ve been given a second chance to connect and I cannot wait to start sharing memories of the past and making new ones, hopefully with her and her family.