Those of you who know me on a more personal level know that I have never met my biological father. I don’t even know his name. In fact, I’ve never known anything about him, except that, judging by my complexion, he is a white guy. I’ve spent my entire life wondering about him. At times, I have painfully agonized over not knowing any of the details about where or who I came from. It has been a struggle, because nearly everyone I’ve known has taken those basic privileges for granted. It would mean everything to me to know my dad’s name or even just general traits like his height or hair and eye color.
Several months ago, I took a DNA test from AncestryDNA. It enabled me to see a layout of my entire ethnic background, which was an unbelievable gift. I secretly hoped it would lead to the discovery of my father, but I knew I probably had a better chance of winning the lottery. My DNA matches began rolling in, starting with about 250 4th-6th cousins who each shared 96% of my DNA.
Because I haven’t purchased a full-fledged membership, I don’t have the ability to initiate contact with other members. However, I can reply. When my most recent match, a third cousin who shares 98% of my DNA, popped up today, I received a message from her. This was the first contact I have ever had from a paternal relative, and I already love my “new” cousin, Cora.
Cora has been doing research about her genealogy since two years before I was born, and she messaged me to talk about our shared lineage. We ended up emailing back and forth a couple of times, and once I shared my lack-of-information story with her, she decided to call the phone number listed in my email signature (my cell).
Today I actually had a verbal conversation with someone related to my dad, and it was so amazing that it was hard for me not to cry right there in the middle of it. I pushed through, but I can’t stop the waterworks now.
My cousin, Cora, (I just love saying that!) shared a lot of her work with me, and while I’m still a very long way away from finding my father, I have a beginning. And more importantly, I know about where I came from!
Our great-great-great grandfather’s name was John Pierce. His wife, Nancy, gave birth to six children, including our great-great grandfather, William. His wife, Mary Ann, came from a long line of very wealthy plantation owners in Kentucky and Virginia. This wasn’t something I was particularly thrilled to hear, but it wasn’t all that surprising. And to be honest, I loved hearing all of it, even this ugly portion. Farther back, Cora has traced us to the family that brought the Quaker religion to America from England. And by traced, I mean that she knows who was on the boat when it landed in colonial America, and she has the documentation to back it up. How amazing is that?! My family brought the Religious Society of Friends to America!
The paternal side of my family has always been very prolific. Maybe that’s why I’ve always loved kids. :)
Unfortunately, this means finding my father will prove to be even more difficult because of the large pool I’ll be narrowing down. But honestly, if I never find him, I can live contentedly knowing that I’m a Pierce, a McQueen, a Bedford and a Willis. This information has made so much of a difference, and I can’t even begin to process that all of this happened today.
I might still be in shock, but it’s a very thankful state of shock.