Sunday, August 5, 2012

Matrilineal Monday - What now?!

As a follow up to my previous post Surname Saturday - Huffman one big question remains - what do I do now?! The year I was born, single mother's were not allowed to list the name of the father. My DNA seems to support the information she provided on my non-identifying information that he was Italian since I do have DNA that would match Italian regions. My birth mother is deceased so she cannot tell me. With no name, there is not much I can do about that at the moment so my focus now is what I can do, my maternal lines.

I am certainly not new to genealogy. I spent the past 15 years or so working on the lines of my Italian father and my mother's German and American Yankee lines (by mother and father, I mean my adoptive family, the only family I know and love). I have done research for more people than I can count. However, this is so very different. When I obtained my original birth certificate last week, after obtaining the 1940 census record of my birth mother and her family, I began a new tree on Ancestry. I added the names, dates and places of the Huffman direct lines I knew. The Huffman lines I descend from are well documented and since I knew my original surname of Huffman over a year before I received my original birth certificate, I was familiar with them. I had 3 generations of direct line information and documents to enter and more for a 4th generation that still needed proof. After I entered everything I had documentation for, I decided to look at other trees. I was anxious to see how many names I knew from my DNA matches. However, it never occurred to me that I would find trees with relatively close connections on Ancestry. I found trees that were obviously grandchildren of siblings of my grandparents. They were full of pictures but no pictures of my grandparents or my birth mother. Unsourced information is in the tree that I have not found elsewhere (yet) so I would like to ask about it. Obviously, since I was adopted, I have no stories of my biological family and have no idea what they were like. It would be a wonderful thing to know. I also found other trees that appear to be even closer biological family. So now what?! I never hesitated in the past contacting tree owners with questions but this is very different. I am unknown to them and I will undoubtedly be a shock. They may know my living family and may have known my birth mother and her parents. I never thought this far ahead. If I don't ask, I won't know. On the other hand, I am a very sensitive woman and my feelings are easily hurt. How many of these people will ignore me, or worse respond in a negative manner? And it will probably be quite upsetting and emotional for them as well. I am more concerned about that. One thing has surprised me and that is my feelings of shame. When I went to Rossville and as I see these trees, I find myself feeling quite ashamed and am not sure why. I have never been ashamed before, so why now? I am certainly not ashamed of my birth mother, quite the contrary. What she did took great courage and I am grateful. I certainly have done nothing wrong. My reasons for my quest however, are quite basic, I wish to know more about who I am, why I am the way I am, who I resemble and what my health risks might be. Things most other people have known their whole lives but have been a total mystery to me. My quest to know my biological roots has turned into an unexpected therapy session so for now I think I will finish my research plan and prepare for my trip to the Newberry Library next week. I have much to learn about Southern roots and in the words of a famous Southern belle, tomorrow is another day.


  1. This is surely a journey of discovery for you, Cathy. I hope you find your answers -- and sincerely hope you find whatever it is that you need to show you there is nothing whatsoever to be ashamed of.

  2. I think people get mixed results when you connect cold with people through I don't think you should attribute any non-response to your being adopted. Some ancestry people are information hogs. They just want your tree information and don't want a continuing relationship. Some people are skeptical because you are a total stranger. Sometimes you establish a fleeting e-mail relationship but it ends after the excitement of a new branch to your tree has faded. Don't be ashamed of being inquisitive. You are not betraying your mom and dad by learning about your bio. roots.
    :) Lori

  3. My name is Shaun York. I am Daniel Huffmans best friend. I know everything about your family. Please call me. 217 778-9725