That’s a good question. One that I’m still figuring out, through much research and discovery. Not long ago, I had done the DNA testing for lineage offered on Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com/
While I was still fairly young, I was told by my adoptive father that he had “fixed it” so that I’d never be able to find out anything about my biological family. I don’t think he did anything like this with malice in his intent. Rather, and not understood by me, I believe he did this out of his own insecurity. My adoptive father was well acquainted with many of the local politicians, judges, lawyers, doctors, etc, of his time and era. Putting “the fix” in was not something out of reach to him, and I’m sure he did everything he could. In spite of the obstacles and barriers set in place, I still achieved my goal. I found my biological family. After all the time and emotional costs of doing that, I came to a realization one day, “Why stop there?”. Several years later, as time and resources became available, I continued my journey backward in time. A pursuit if you will, in search of my identity. With a mindset of, no matter what I may find, I wanted to know, needed to know.
This link should take you to my public DNA shared ethnicity page on Ancestry.com
It provides a graphic breakdown and percentages. For anyone, not just adoptees, interested in learning more about who you are, I recommend this simple test.
As you go further back, there are of course more and more branches to follow. What I was finding in my ancestry was amazing! I had no idea… In some lines I had gotten back as far as the 1300’s, with others as far back as the 1400 and 1500’s.
Not bad for someone who was NOT supposed to ever know anything about his immediate biological family! Did any of this change any of my feelings regarding my adoptive parents? Absolutely not I believe, overall. In some ways, maybe my adoptive dad was even trying to protect me from things he was unaware of? Things I didn’t need protecting from? In any event, what he and my adoptive mom did, in that respect, they did solely for them whether they understood and appreciated that or not. I don’t hold that against them.
What did I get from doing so much of this? How did anything I dug up actually benefit me? What good is it to me to know such things at all? Much of what I learned helped me to better understand my character and psyche very much. Why did I think a certain way? Have certain tastes? Likes? Dislikes? Etc… So much has become clearer to me now. My only regret is that I wish that I’d known some or all of these things about myself at a much earlier age. I feel that it may have bolstered my self-worth, self-respect, and confidence, that had been so badly beaten down. I feel that had I known, I would have made greater strides in life, and likely would have been a much better person overall, in many ways. When you think you’re nothing, and it’s regularly reinforced, you eventually succumb when you have no idea of the truth. It’s not so much of a matter of not being “as strong” as your character may naturally be. It becomes a matter of “survival” in your given environment. You live, survive, within the walls and closed doors that surround you, without questioning your boundaries. You may not even realize that they exist, and therefore never realize that they can be challenged and eventually broken down and through with great perseverance.
Apparently I have several lines that I’ve traced back to some of the original colonists and founders of our country. Further back, some of those lines trail off in to lineages of some very old European royalty. Haven’t gotten back much farther, mainly due to the current lack of time and resources once again. As long as I’m alive and have the ability, at some point I’ll resume. After all, when I eventually cross over and get to meet them, it may just be one awesome party for a while! For now, I’m here. I do what I do.
Here are several graphics that I’m sharing from my research over several years. These are a few of my favorites for now…
CLICK on the separate graphics to enlarge them and make them easily readable.
A descendant of a Baron of Wales and a 4th cousin, 9x removed, or George Washington. Discovering these, as others, really changed my perspectives in many ways…
When will my journey continue? Don’t know… Just pretty sure that one day it will.
My words of advice to anyone like myself walking a similar path of searching for yourself: You must be ready for anything. You must be prepared. You never know what you may find, good or bad.
My words of encouragement for anyone contemplating talking a walk on a similar path is best said and illustrated by this graphic…
Be well. May all the answers you may seek find you. Peace and Love to anyone else on the journey. We may not know where we came from, but we are here now. We are here for a reason, and we have something to do. Think of the future generations to whom you may be a stepping stone along their path, and wish them well too.