Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Who Am I?

I was so excited to find that my “report” was available today, it was more than a week before I expected it. I sent in my “sample” to one of the more popular DNA companies and while I already know SOME of my ancestry (a few cousins and I did lots of research), I want to know more.

Unfortunately my parents died when I was just a young adult and I never had the opportunity to ask questions that I didn’t even think of until I was raising a family. Now grandparents, aunts and uncles are also gone. It is startling to realize that I am now among the elders of my family (I really don’t feel that old!) I have an amazing thirst for my past, where I came from and stories that might also be a bit embarrassing. In many ways my ancestry is what made me who I am today.

My maternal grandparents immigrated to this country as youngsters or teens, I’m really not sure. My paternal grandfather was born in Puerto Rico but that was before PR was a United States territory. I’ve heard romantic stories about my paternal grandmother being conceived (and maybe born?) on a ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean. What made each of them come HERE, to the mainland where I was born and raised? Without their decisions I would not be here. Heck, without my grandparents’ journey to the United States mainland, my parents might not have even met.

I’ve heard rumors of notable ancestors but without substantial proof. I cling to the tales my folks told me as a child about how they met and bits and pieces about their courtship. And even those stories leave questions as my sister remembers some slightly different tales than I do. So I want to know more. I want to leave a WRITTEN history of my family for my offspring and the generations to come. 

A few years ago a distant cousin began a search into our shared lineage (my maternal grandfather’s line) and it was fascinating, it went back eight generations to eight sons, but even that was incomplete as none of the possible daughters were recorded in the many sources. But it was still fascinating to learn some of the details. And imagine my surprise when I talked about some info I learned and an acquaintance that I had known for a little more than a year actually asked me why I was talking about HIS family! I had no idea that I was (even distantly) related to him.

There are those who don’t share my thirst for knowledge of ancestors. Some of these people don’t believe in genetic memories… or maybe are even wary about what they might find out. I respect their sense of “privacy” and not wanting to delve into yesterday — but that is NOT me. I say bring it on, bring on my ancestors and the stories of their lives, bring on my relatives both close and distant. Several of us in my maternal grandfather’s family tree don’t bother with the numerical designations, we are just all cousins.

And yes, if you ever do an Ancestry kit and find my name in your list of DNA matches please reach out, I will always welcome another Cousin!

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