It was the strangest phone call. This woman, a Chiropractor from Arizona was searching for her Father-in-Law’s birth mother. He was ill and had always wanted to know who she was. This lady had started with his birth certificate and been searching for a long time. She finally found that his real mother had been born in Kentucky, had been a school teacher in Globe, Arizona, and was a good friend of the lady who adopted him. He was born in a home for unwed mothers near Tempe, Arizona.We talked for a long time trying to put things together. First of all I was sure this aunt couldn’t have had a child. She was the daughter of a minister, a musician, a very lovely and talented woman. She had passed away some years ago in San Diego, California. The lady who called said she believed that my aunt had her baby and let her friend and husband adopt him. The Baby’s name was given by his birth mother and it was William Joseph. (I’m not using his last name in case his own family might not want it out.) My aunt’s grandfather was William Jasper, and his wife, her grandmother, was Josephine which was also this aunt’s middle name. A lot of things seemed to be clicking in that long conversation. She sent me some pictures in e-mail to see if I thought he looked like my Dad or brother, or other family members.
I remembered my aunt telling me once that a gentleman had begged her to marry him but she just couldn’t because she had been born with some deformities and her parents were afraid they could be passed on to her children. Years later we four nieces and nephew thought about this when we were about to have children, but medical science had more information then, than they had in the very early 1900’s. Most likely the umbilical cord had pulled too tight across her face which had effected one eye and the other problem of being born with too many fingers which was corrected with surgery. This was probably caused by gas given in dental care which is known to cause birth defects if occurring in the first trimester of pregnancy. Grandmother had bad teeth and had false ones before we knew her.
Well we continued to work on the puzzle for awhile. Then we decided there was enough evidence to warrant a DNA test. She got his in his hospital room and I did mine at home using the material and instructions sent from a special lab that does that kind of thing. Then we had to wait about six weeks to get the results.
In the meantime Jim and I had our 50th wedding anniversary. Our children had a big party for us and many relatives came. The women were especially interested in this new twist. Did we have a cousin that we had never heard of? Did Dad or her parents or her sister know? But they had all left this orb so we couldn’t ask them. It was a big mystery.
Finally the letter came. The chart showed all the matching and close genes we shared. Their verdict was that we were first cousins. There were some markers that just run in families. But unfortunately we never got to meet him. He died three days before we got the answer. His daughter-in-law said it was no fair. She did all this work for him and he found out who his mother was before she did. (smile) We both believed that the family in heaven greeted him. I hope when my time comes that I will meet him.
I am putting two pictures of my Dad, his uncle, and tow of him, and one or two of my brother so I’ll be interested in what you, my readers, think. I think I see resemblances between the men, but also some to me.
So this is how we learner of a cousin we didn’t know existed. We did go to Seaside Oregon that summer to meet my cousin’s son and wife who started the search and their children. That was special.