This series is about how I found my grandmother’s father with DNA. To read the other posts in the series, click below:
For many people working on genealogical projects for adoptees, connecting with the biological family is the end goal. You never know how people will react to this kind of news, but it’s hard not to get excited about the possibilities of a relationship. After I connected with some members of my grandma’s biological family via Facebook, they quickly welcomed us to their family. They were so excited to have a new branch of their family that they weren’t even aware existed!
We found out my grandma has four siblings, three of whom are living. A number of the family members, especially my grandma’s brother Ralph, have been welcoming. Via Facebook, we were able to share memories, photos, and experiences of our families. He has shared many stories and photos of his father, Don.
Ralph lives in Virginia, and when he found out I was coming to Washington D.C. for the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, he suggested that we find a time to meet each other. I happily agreed, and this experience turned out to be one of the highlights of my Washington D.C. trip. I can’t think of a better way to kick off a family history conference than meeting new family!
Ralph and I met for dinner, and then headed over to the United States Marine Corps Memorial. You can read more about the amazing history of this monument here. Going to the memorial with Ralph was such a special experience because Don served in the Marines in World War II. In fact, if Don had not served in WWII and met my great grandma, my grandma and the rest of her descendants would not be here today.
Ralph also told me that Don was present for the Battle of Iwo Jima. The iconic photo of the Marines soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima is depicted by the USMC memorial. The new personal connection I have to the USMC Memorial is sentimental for my family. Although my grandma couldn’t be there with us to share in this moment, I felt her presence with us and know that she was very happy.
If you are working on a tough family history project, I encourage you to not give up. The end is worth all the sleepless nights and hours spent researching!