This is the last picture I ever took with my Daddy.
It was taken 13 1/2 years ago, I was 19, my sister was 18. My grandmother had passed away a few days earlier, so we were down in Texas, and my Daddy wanted to take us each for a ride on his new Harley. One month later, he passed away from a (freak) accident that he had while riding the same Harley.
That is not the point of this post, though, this is a happy post.
After my grandmother passed away, my Daddy inherited the “family papers” that he found at her house. In these papers were the original court documents from his adoption in 1955, he had never seen them before. They didn’t have any information that he didn’t already know, just his adopted parents’ names and his “new” name.
My daddy had been adopted as a baby by his foster family, my grandparents, Carmalett and James. He never felt the need to find out about his birth family because, as he put it, “I already have a Mama and a Daddy and I don’t need anything else.” But later in life, he had been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and had had multiple basal cell carcinomas removed (both of which can tend to run in families). Because of the health issues, he thought it might be a good idea to look into his birth family to find out if there were any other health issues that my sister and I should know about.
Well, that was 2001 and internet research wasn’t as easy as it is now. He didn’t get very far into his search before he passed away.
Fast forward to a few months ago. I’ve become really into ancestry and family trees. I did the Ancestry DNA test and got back some surprising results!
The ethnicity results weren’t very surprising, since my Daddy and my sister and I all look very Anglo and are very Anglo (Great Britain, Ireland, with a little Scandinavia, and Western Europe mixed in). The member matches, on the other hand, was where the surprise was.
I had 2 women come up as second cousins and I had no idea who they were. After a little research into their family trees, I figured out that we were not related on my mom’s side.
This was pretty cool, since I have never known anyone that was biologically related to my father. Who else on these women’s trees was I related to? And was I looking at the names of my biological grandparents?
I wasn’t looking for any new family, I have more than enough of that, I was just looking for why do I look the way I do? Are there any medical problems that run in my family?
I decided to petition the Dallas County court to open my father’s adoption file. So I gathered up all of the family paperwork that I could find that had any information about my daddy and my grandparents and sent it all to Texas.
Weeks, upon weeks, went by. I finally called the court house to make sure that my paperwork as received (there were copies of my SS card and license included) and was told it was received but that it would be a couple more weeks before a decision was made.
More waiting. Then, last Monday a manila envelope arrived at my house and of course I wasn’t home, I was at the lake without internet access. Matt text me some pictures of the papers in the envelope and there they were, my father’s birth name and the names of his birth parents!
When I got home the next evening, I couldn’t start my research fast enough. In the papers I also found out that his birth father was a truck driver and had left before my father was born. I also found out that he filed for divorce the next year (I’m assuming b/c his mother didn’t know where to find him and/or the stigma of being a divorced, 19 year old, single mother in 1954).
So in the last 2 weeks, I’ve found that my father has 2 older half sisters and 2 younger half brothers with one woman and another 2 half brothers with another woman. I have spoken to 1 of the brothers and the 2 sisters. They are such nice people and seem to be very open to the fact that they had another brother out there, the 2 older sisters were told as little kids that a new baby might be coming home with their dad after his next road trip, but that never happened, so as kids do, they forgot all about it.
I’m still at a stand still about his mother’s side of the family as all I have is her first name, Margaret, and married last name but I have contacted Dallas county to see if I can find their marriage certificate with her maiden name (not in the divorce paperwork) and hopefully I can solve the mystery on that side.
So, all in all, I found out that type 2 diabetes does run in the family, 2 half siblings have it, and alcoholism also runs in the family. I have also found out that, in his half sister’s opinion, he probably had a better life with my grandparents then he would have had his father stuck around.
I have also figured out how I was related to the 2 women on Ancestry DNA, they are actually my 3rd cousin and my 3rd cousin once removed.
This story is to be continued.
I’ll leave you with the only picture I have of his birth mother, Margaret. She was about 19 years old, living in the Dallas area.