Family History and Ancestry Searching

Reading stories about people who find long lost family members or manage to somehow discover that they were related to George Washington always gives me these small pangs of jealousy. You see, I have no idea ‘where’ or ‘who’ I come from. While there are plenty of resources to help you trace your linage like Ancestry.com they can’t seem help me find anything without spending loads and loads of cash. Now, part of me is hoping that someday I will be informed that I am the last surviving kin of some wealthy person who has left all their cash to me… but until then, I am kinda broke.

You see, my Mom was adopted in California and they have some of the strictest rules about finding out information on closed adoptions. Without a lawyer, I may never know who my mothers birth parents were. So, in ancestry searches, my search stops with my mom. As far as my dad goes, I met him once that I know of – and the only reason I know about it is because there is a picture of me with him when I was about 3 months old. He was married to someone else when I was born -and from what my mom told me about him he has two other children. My Mom passed away before I decided to really care about this search, so many answers are forever lost to me that might help my search. I know his name and that’s about it. His name though suggests I might be French (Canadian) on my fathers side.  Thankfully, it isn’t a common name and for free I was able to find out that he passed away in 2008. However, without cash, I can’t get the death certificate to find his next of kin and I also can’t prove that he is in fact my father just from a name on my birth certificate.

People always tell me that I look Native American or white Hispanic. I have a half brother, and he is made of Mom -whatever she was- and Mexican; so growing up I spent a lot of time around his family, and for a while there I thought I was Mexican too. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized my Mom and I were the only white people at the family gatherings.

So it wasn’t that I haven’t tried to figure out where I am from, I just keep getting railroaded by money or a complete and total lack of information. I have decided to try looking into my ancestry through DNA. National Geographic launched a program called Geno 2.0 that takes your DNA sample and breaks it down to find where you originated from. I figure I might have better luck searching from past to present then from present to past. At least I will be able to say, “My people come from the Netherlands and I just might be a viking!” Or I can have something at least to make stuff up from.

So do you know where you are from? Have any of you tried to trace your ancestry? How did it go for you? Any good stories to share? Even though I am a little jealous of those who have found family and figured out their origins I truly love hearing about them. In some way it gives me hope. Somebody out there knows where I came from – I just have to find them.

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