This professional genealogist spent the majority of her career and her whole life with a family tree that was bare on one side. Sure, we filled it in with the huge German family from Chicago who adopted my mother, illustrious as they were, we were carrying around the knowledge it really did not fit who we were. While an exercise, perhaps it was so there was no emptiness, a feeling we have come to realize is one so many adoptees have come to know. And it does not end there... there is a tremendous sense of abandonment, a feeling of not belonging and of course the inevitable question, Who am I?
While my mother passed away in 1992, we began this journey together shortly before her passing. We had learned from The Cradle Society some un-identifying information regarding her biological parents. We had heard some stories from the family that may have provided some additional clues and we had known there was a letter my adopted grandfather had left for her with a friend to be given to her upon his death in 1956 that was never passed on.
In 1998, long before ancestry DNA appeared and 6 years after her passing, we traveled to Chicago and successfully had her adoption papers unsealed by the court. We learned her mother was Libbie Marks and no father was listed.
For decades as the 1930 and 1940 US Census' were released we searched for this Libbie Marks in Chicago to no avail.
Fast forward to two years ago, an anonymous 2nd cousin match appeared on 23andMe. It took nearly a year for this individual to reveal himself. A quick look at his tree had our heart palpitating... there was a Libbie, the sister to his grandmother... but it was not Libbie Marks.
Pictures flew back and forth, the resemblance, uncanny and over the months we learned more and more about Libbie and the un-identifying information was actually fact. We were certain her biological mother had been found.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. While triangulating DNA with what we now knew, finding her biological father's family seemed impossible. The connections were just to distant to put a finger on. We knew the number of Cohen DNA connections were numerous but the surname too common to isolate.
But then a connection to my brother's DNA on Family Tree DNA surfaced... and while it took only a week to get a response, it was like eons, several lifetimes. The information provided by the contact, we created a tree, then we were able to connect another tree with another high match on my DNA on AncestryDNA whose tree interestingly enough did not include the surname of their grandmother. The two connected on a Cohen family and the sister to the grandmother of my brother's match on FTDNA.
With the excitement and high level of adrenaline flowing, the floodgates opened last week as we began to meet our new found cousins on Facebook and by phone and yet another revealed they had tested and there it was, the DNA match to the third of four siblings, two females and two males. The only unidentifying information on her biological father... he had blue eyes and was an immigrant. BINGO!
While we await the results now of a grandchild of the last male sibling... there is no question our seed has finally been planted and is taking root in a family unknown to us just a few weeks ago. And with this knowledge it never ceases to amaze how all the DNA connections across all the testing sites are finally are making sense.
While we have experienced this same excitement and adrenaline rush with many of the clients we have served over the years with the same questions and the same need to plant their seed, the overwhelming sense of peace of having our roots being firmly planted is indeed real! It has made us whole!
And now for the synchronicity of events surrounding this recent find.
On January 18th of this year we were having a heart to heart on re-developing our website with Althea Gray, a dear friend and a professional healer. It was during this conversation she mentioned an old Native American saying... which we immediately tag-lined on our website.
"YOU ARE JUST A SEED IN THE WIND IF YOU DO NOT KNOW YOUR ROOTS"
There is power in this saying, no doubt. Who would have thought that in just 10 days, January 28th, the first email went out to the new DNA connection and the first response arrived on February 5th.
And in just 18 days we are no longer a seed in the wind! What a journey this has been and as a professional genealogist we are always interested in sharing your journey with you. Perhaps one synchronicity can lead to another.
And if you need to order DNA tests, you can do it here!