I always knew I was adopted. Both of my adoptive parents didn’t hide the fact from me or anyone else for that matter. For most of my adult life, I didn’t give much thought about my birth parents and their families. Once I retired, I decided to explore my adoptive parents’ families through genealogical research, and documented these facts as well as family recollections in family trees and on my carr.ca website. This website is dedicated to remembering the Carr, Carruthers, Nicholson and Moore families that ended up on the west coast of Canada after migrating from England. That was a fun exercise, and resulted in much family information being preserved and published for future generations to refer to.
A few years ago I decided to take a DNA test from Ancestry, in order to find out more about my blood line. It resulted in a bewildering array of reports, charts and maps that told me where my ancestors came from in broad terms, but gave me few specifics. The reports listing my possible third cousins was next to useless, however eventually as the Ancestry algorithms continued to analyze my results, second cousins appeared in the list, and even some possible first cousins!
I contacted everyone on top of the lists, but I only received one response from a possible second cousin – Ronda. She was interested in tracking down her father’s birth family, since like me, he was adopted. Since we shared a significant amount of DNA, we speculated that her father and I were either first cousins or siblings. We diligently developed what leads we had, but eventually hit that proverbial “brick wall”. Her father had no documentation about his adoption, and since he was deceased, there was no way to open up his sealed adoption records.
My search was a bit easier than Ronda’s since I have my adoption order, which named my birth mother and my place of birth, however no father’s name appeared. Doing a search for my birth mother’s name turned up little useful information, so I had also hit a “brick wall”. In genealogical research, you soon learn to be patient, and be willing to put a particular search on the back burner for awhile. Sure enough, Ronda contacted me again a few months later with very exciting news! In her searching on another DNA site, she had established contact with a possible connection to her father’s birth family, and she found my birth mother’s name appearing in an obituary, which she immediately shared with me.
Obituaries can be a treasure trove of family information, and my birth mother’s obituary was very well written, naming a huge number of family members covering several generations as well as giving some important dates. As I investigated further, I became convinced that I had found my birth mother, so I contacted willing members of her family, and we are currently exploring further. It appears I’ve also found my birth father, however none of this is yet corroborated by official records. I’m very hopeful I can at least map out my birth lineage back several generations, and possibly reconnect with my cousins, aunts and uncles, and perhaps even some siblings in the future!