When DNA Blows Your Ethnic Identity Apart

At my age, I should be having an ordinary mid-life meltdown. I should be fretting over wrinkles and flab. Instead, I am having a weird ethnic identity crisis that only an adoptee can have.

I grew up eating kielbasa and sauerkraut in Chicago, a city known for its large Polish population. My Polish-American adoptive mother, Claire, used to talk about the Krasowskis, the Pinkowskis, the Wisniskis and other Poles in her circle of family and friends. Three good friends from Chicago, Cara from high school, Laura from work, and Debbie from college were all Polish. I thought I was Polish, too, at least on my mother’s side.

Secretly, though, I liked having Miller for a surname. It’s easy to say and spell and it’s all-American. Polish names can be hard for the average Joe to pronounce let alone spell correctly.

Though my adoptive father Bob, a German-American, gave me his surname, he didn’t have nearly as much influence over my sense of ethnic identity. Claire was the proud Pole. She passed that sense of ethnicity on to me and my sister, Melissa.

Even after I found out I was adopted 11 years ago, I continued to identify with the Poles. “You look Polish.” How many times have I heard that from relatives on my mother’s side. My (non-Polish) husband, Tom, friends and even people I didn’t know have told me I look like a Pole. I’ll never forget the time an elderly woman wearing an old-fashioned floral dress glommed on to me on a city bus in New York. She had that Eastern European look and saw a fellow Pole, or so she thought.

Hey, I own a copy of Marianna Olszewska Heberle’s “Polish Cooking” (The zupa pieczarkowa – fresh mushroom soup -is excellent.) I own several cookbooks by Martha Stewart, one of our better-known Polish Americans. Bring on the kielbasa, pierogis and kapusta (sauerkraut).

kielbasa and kraut from flickr
Courtesy of I Believe I Can Fry/Flickr

Now it seems my Polish roots were a myth. My test results from Family Tree DNA show no Polish connections. Scrolling through pages and pages of results, I see the names of more than 600 men and women, identified as cousins. They are strangers to me and their surnames, Bennett, McDaniel, Johnson, Henderson, Nolen and Mahoney, leave me cold. Where are the “-skis”?

Good bye Poland. Hello Ireland. My ancestors came from Ireland and England with some Viking connections, according to the DNA results.

irish sweater smaller size
Me and my Irish sweater

In the 21st century, does it mean anything to be an Anglo Saxon? That’s what I am, a born again Anglo Saxon. I’m still getting used to this identity. It feels weird. I suppose it goes with the territory of being adopted and not finding out about it until you’re grown up, which is what happened to me. It’s one more revelation.

46 thoughts on “When DNA Blows Your Ethnic Identity Apart

  1. I can relate very well to your ethnic identity crisis. I grew up accepting the Norwegian ethnicicity of my adoptive mom as my own. Turns out my birth mothers family are Russian Mennonites. The interesting thing is that since I learned about my anabaptist origins when I was in my early twenties I have embraced all things Mennonite/Amish. It fits somehow. For what it’s worth, I can certainly see Irish in you. I hope this begins to fit for you in time as well.

  2. Oh can I relate to this!

    Grew up Ashkenazi Jewish. Mother’s family from Belarus, father’s family from Slovakia. Adoption discovery at age 31 – but even then I was told “both your parents were Jewish”.

    Age 45 – non-ID from the adoption agency says “Mother: Russian Jewish, Father: Irish” Ah HAH! People had told me that I looked Irish.

    Age 55 – Found Momma. Her family was from Belarus and her husband’s family was from Slovakia. (talk about alternate realities!) Doesn’t remember who my father was.

    Now – age 60 and doing DNA testing. It’s apparently a bit more complicated.

    Current estimates are 50% Ashkenazi Jewish, 37.5% British Isles and 12.5% German. The British Isles is coming up decidedly Welsh with some Scottish.

    But where are my IRISH ROOTS? I’ve been to Ireland four times already. I have my sweater from the Aran Islands. I WANT to be Irish – even if just a little bit.

  3. Hi Linda. Your story is very interesting. I can see Norwegian in you even though it’s not really there! I have friends who are Irish so I have positive impressions of Irish people and I’m ready to embrace my new identity. It’s intriguing how adopted adults who explore their roots go through this identity “exploration.” People who are not adopted will never understand. 🙂 Thanks for reading my blog. Lynne

  4. Hi Gaye. Wow, you’ve been through this ethnic identity exploration many times. I’ve never been to Ireland but now I want to go. Actually, I was hoping DNA would show some Native American or Jewish ancestry. Isn’t it funny how we all want to be associated with certain groups of people? Thanks for reading my blog. Lynne

  5. Hi, Lynne! Another fascinating chapter in your journey. There’s been a resurgence in interest about our biological histories. Henry Louis Gates has had some interesting programming on PBS, “Faces of America,” while Lisa Kudrow is the exec producer of the NBC program “Who Do You Think You Are?”

    It’s funny how we see the things we think we’re seeing. When you told me you discovered you’re adopted, I remember you said that you’ve gone a lifetime assuming Polish heritage. And it made sense — perhaps the adoption agency connected you, the baby, with parents of similar origins.

    Now, learning that you’re mainly of Irish heritage, I think, “yeah, Lynne looks Irish.” Funny. I wonder if the Irish heritage is mostly from Lillian. You bear a striking resemblance to her.

  6. Hi Allison. Actually, I think there’s Irish and perhaps Scottish on my father’s side as well. I have the names of more than 600 biological cousins and they are rather similar on both sides, which makes it challenging for me to isolate the “Hatfields” from the “McCoys” (i.e., cousins on Lillian’s side vs. cousins on Dad’s side). I have a lot of data to sort out. Yeah, I think I look Irish, too. We see what we want to see when we look at people. 🙂 Lynne

  7. Lynne, don’t forget that you are who you want to be, bloodlines or not. I identify quite strongly with a Norwegian/Scandinavian heritage — even though I’m not of their tribe (and one of the few in Minnesota who is not!). I blame it on a high school exchange year in Norway. I think I’ve been to Norway/Scandinavia 20 times, and have never been to the place of my heritage (England/Scotland).

    I guess I’m telling you not to throw out your Polish-heritage identity — it takes skill to pronounce and spell the -ski names! It’s as much you as my Norwegian identity is me — bloodlines or not. (And plenty of people “see” Norwegian in me. I’ve also been assumed to be German in Germany and Dutch in the Netherlands. I’ve come to determine that there’s a generic Northern European look (which I must have), and people see what they want to see in terms of ethnicity.)

  8. Hi Lynn. It’s true. People look at one another and see what they want to see. People my mother thought or knew were Polish always got her “seal of approval.” No matter what the DNA says, I won’t give up my Polish cultural ties. I will have to check my DNA results to see if there are any Keillors among my new cousins.

  9. My wife and I adopted Joy at her birth. I am third generation German on my father’s side with no real cultural ties. My wife is Polish, (also third generation) but was raised in rural Wisconsin. Her parents spoke Polish until going to grade school. We incorporated Joy’s adoption story into everyday conversation, so she was aware of it all her life. She spent a great deal of time with my wife’s parents. Even though she knows her birth parents had Germanic origins, she considers herself Polish.

    Blood lines may tell us where we came from, but our heart tells us who we are.

  10. Very well put, Harold. Blood ties only go so far. The environment in which we are raised and the cultures we’re exposed to have great influence. I commend you and your wife for being straight with Joy about her adoption.

  11. Same story, Lynne. My friends would always look at me, squint their eyes, and pronounce that I was…whatever they were. If they were Armenian, so was I, it’s certain, they said. In high school many of my friends were Jewish except for my very Irish-American buddy who wrote in my yearbook, “‘Tis a shame you’re a Scot,” as was my adoptive surname.

    So while I waited for my FTDNA results (a wild ride, isn’t it?) I wrote down every nationality reasonably possible and assigned an offhand character conclusion to each — usually rotten prejudiced but with a wink. Were I Irish, I wrote, my destiny would be to write something horribly brilliant and eternally memorable and then die penniless, face-down drunk in the gutter. (Clearly the possibility seemed remote to my mind.) Were I Jewish, I was doomed to debate with myself forever without conclusion. I forget the others, but there was something similar for everyone — equal opportunity tastelessness.

    Well wouldn’t you know it, my birth father was as Irish as you can get, of which an Anglo-Irish friend said, “this is physically IMPOSSIBLE — you don’t drink.” My birth mother was Swiss (I’m polite but sadly not punctual), Danish, Norwegian, and — rarest of the rare in the 18th Century, Jewish-Norwegian.

    So here’s the fun part of the nature versus nurture conundrum…nearly all of my ancestors were seagoing peoples: My Irish were Dalcassian Type III clustered around the Shannon River and of Orcadian derivation; the Scandinavians were from cities that have been shipbuilding centers since the Viking era; and even the Swiss lived on Lake Constance from time immemorial. Me? I grew up in Tucson, Arizona — then the largest inland city in North America with no surface water. Nonetheless I became Merchant Marine Master (Captain) decades before learning of my ancestry. Go figure. You’ll hear more than a few such stories from people in FTDNA’s Adoption Project. Nature is as powerful as nurture. Of course we’re free to identify as we choose, as in the case of the White Supremacist outed in the media this week for having 16 percent Sub-Saharan African heritage. For what it’s worth, I made you for Celtic from your photo. Here’s another clue for you — the Celtic Toe, described on this page: http://www.irishtype3dna.org/irisheyes8.php

    I’ve yet to identify my birth father, but I’m having a ball sleuthing him out and have corresponded with many near relatives online — wonderful folks. Fortunately for us, the Irish were demonic genealogical record keepers even if they were given to…um, “non-paternal events.” Maybe we’re related — I’ll look for you on FTDNA, where I just upgraded to Y-111 to narrow possibilities. Best of luck to you. 🙂

  12. Hi, Lynne. I read your blog with great interest because, I too, have a very specific ethnic identity crisis. It has been the incentive of my genealogical quest for the last 24 years.

    We have always know where my roots lie on my mother’s side. She passed away 2 years ago and, although she never did write too much down about her family, we do have many people that have researched the proud Volga-German heritage to which we belong. She was second generation born in the United States of Volga-German ancestry. She knew all four of her grandparents who were born near the Volga River in Russia, but all were of German ancestry. Her maiden name was Pfannenstiel, which has been traced back as far as the early 1520’s in Nuremberg, Germany.

    The unknown comes on my father’s side. We do know a lot about my grandmother on my father’s side, but we do have some hurdles to overcome because of the family name, Smith. We do know a lot about the line from my great grandmother with her family names of Noch/Nochs/Knox and Hall, which have been traced back to the middle 1500’s in the English countryside. We only have definitive information on the Smith family back to the middle 1850’s where it becomes very confusing.

    The biggest unknown comes from my dad’s natural father. I am a Barnes by name only, and I didn’t find out about this for sure until the day of my dad’s funeral in March, 1989. And, to top this all off, on the same day I found out that I had a half-sister and 2 half-brothers that I didn’t know about. How’s that for a shock at age 38? They were from my dad’s first marriage which ended in 1942 or 1943. It turns out that I knew they existed, phone calls and letters once or twice a year and Christmas cards from my half-sister, home movies from the middle 1950’s, but always thought they were close family friends of my dad’s. My half-sister’s married name was Edwards and my dad would never talk about them. When I asked my mom why she never said anything she told me she thought it wasn’t her place to talk about them, if my dad wanted to he would.

    The biggest mystery though is my dad’s natural father, we simply don’t know who he was. My dad was born in October, 1911, but my grandmother didn’t marry into the Barnes family until September, 1914. We have a few possible clues, even a photo of a man I think is my dad’s natural father, but no answers. To give you an idea of why I think the photo is my grandfather, I believe the photo was taken around 1910 by the style of clothing the man was wearing. There aren’t any identifying marks on the photo, no date, not even a name written on the back. However, my grandmother had this photo, a 5×7 print, and the same man, same pose in a small gold locket in her personal things, that were given to my half-sister in 1994. I have seen all these items, firsthand. The man looks to be in his mid-30’s (my grandmother was 34 when my dad was born). I have held this photo next to a photo of my younger brother, taken when he was 37, and they could pass as brothers if they were standing side by side at the same age, even down to the sweep of their bangs in the way they combed their hair for the photos. It is so uncanny, it’s ridiculous. There is some resemblance to my dad, also. These similarities and the fact that my grandmother had saved the photo and locket in her family treasures, has to mean this man meant something to her in a very big way.

    That’s my identity crisis. Now, at 63 years old, one of my biggest wishes is to solve this puzzle and be able to pass on to my family the real heritage that got us here.

  13. I see the Celt in you!

    I found out I was adopted at 10, and always felt I was lying with my name being so German. But as it turns out I do have a bit of German ancestry, so now I don’t feel so much like an imposter.

  14. Hi Heidi. I’m glad you learned of your adoption at a young age. How did you find out about your German ancestry? Did you do DNA testing?

  15. Hi Michael. I cannot imagine dealing with the pain of my father’s death and the shock of meeting new siblings on the same day. You must have been in shock for a while. I hope you’re able to figure out the real identity of your grandfather. I completely understand your desire to have all the missing pieces fit. I’m in a similar situation now as I attempt to figure out who my bio father was. Good luck to you.

  16. Hi John. Wow, your head must have been spinning after you got your DNA results. It’s fun isn’t it? Very interesting how you discovered your ancestors on all sides were the seafaring type. So far I’ve learned much about my recent ancestors’ fondness for alcohol. It’s pretty sobering actually. Do you think your birth father is still alive? Do you know anything about him? I would love to learn a few facts about my dad and see a few photos. If you don’t mind my asking, how much did you spend on the Y-111 upgrade? Is that only for men? Best of luck to you. 🙂

  17. Hi Lynne,
    Thanks for your reply. Yes, unfortunately the Y-DNA tests work only for men and that’s too bad because it’s the one straight-shot back to the beginning. The common refrain is, “have your brother or father test for your paternal Y-DNA,” but that doesn’t do much for adoptees, does it? Your best bet is to use Autosomnal DNA in Family Finder to find the closest male relative on your birth father’s side and appropriate his Y-DNA results.

    You’re certain to find much to be admired as you research Celtic culture, notably the role of women which was astonishingly egalitarian for an ancient culture. Celtic women were kings, high-priestesses, and generals. Women could unilaterally divorce their husbands on a number of grounds while keeping his property for the maintenance of herself and his children. Women could also name the paternity of their children in cases of serial monogamy. Celtic law, politics, religion, and arts all resonate with me, and might with you, too. Best to you.

  18. Hi John. Thanks for the tip on how to use autosomal DNA results. I’ve emailed my closest male relative on my (presumed) father’s side not once but twice. No response. I wonder if it would be appropriate to call him? I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. This guy is close to my age and he is a cousin (2nd to 4th) so we certainly are not that close. I probably should email the other men (all somewhat distant cousins) on my dad’s side and ask about their YDNA results. I had a great father. I’m not looking for another father figure in my life, just a few facts and photos would be nice. I just want to fill in the blanks.
    That’s very interesting information about Celtic culture. I had no idea the ancient Celtics were so progressive with respect to women. Makes me happy to know I am connected to a forward-thinking culture. Take care, John.

    Lynne

  19. I found out my heritage when I received my non identifying information at 22 years of age. Though I knew I was adopted since I can remember, my adopted parents didn’t know my heritage. With blond hair, blue/green eyes and fair skin, I looked enough like their French, German, Scottish heritage to blend in. Turns out I am half Dutch on my father’s side, English, Irish, French and Native American (Choctaw) on my mother’s side. I met my mom 30 years ago and my dad 27 years ago. My adopted parents supported me in my search, especially so I could have a medical history for myself and my children. And now for my grandchildren. My mom gave me family information from her grandmother’s bible. I’m still trying to trace my Choctaw heritage. Those who are not adopted cannot understand what it is to not know their genetic heritage or what it is to find this out. The information doesn’t diminish our connection to our adopted families, IMHO. It does however, give us a more complete view of who we are. Like knowing the entire story, rather than “most of the story”.

  20. Hi Robin. It’s wonderful that your adoptive parents supported your decision to pursue your roots. Not all parents would react that way. It is a strange situation to be in, not knowing your ethnic identity or for that matter the identities of your biological relatives. Though these searches take time and energy, it’s worth it when we find out the truth about our origins. I hope I can track down someone who knew or knows my father. Thanks for reading my blog!

  21. Hi Harold: Thanks for posting such an interesting story. I was also adopted. I came from Poland at the age of 11. I was in an open adoption and I’ve visited my sisters in Poland and one in Germany many times, sometimes staying there up to 3 months at a time. Wish you and your family all the best. M. Adela Bak

  22. Where do you live now, Adela? I’ll bet you speak more than one language. You certainly have an interesting background. How nice that you have friendly relationships with your sisters in Poland and Germany.

  23. I grew up with “Irish, English, and French” in my non-ID info, so I never got too chuffed over my Polish/Italian/German/Norwegian adoptive ethnicity. Then I found my birthparents.

    On my birthfather’s side I’ve got genes that disembarked from the Mayflower, but my birthmother?

    “Oh, I don’t even know, my parents” — who were both falling-down drunk socialites – “didn’t talk much about our heritage.” But what about Irish, English, French? “I don’t know, I guess that’s what I thought at the time.”

    Grand. So I actually have very little idea.

    We were going to explore that a bit more, but she died suddenly several years ago, so I may never know.

  24. That’s cool that you have ancestors who were on the Mayflower. Happy Thanksgiving to you!! Did you have a good relationship with your birth mom?

  25. I was never adopted, but did grow up in foster care, so I relate to this a lot. I grew up thinking my bio mother’s ethnicity was one thing and it turns out I was wrong.

    Don’t forget that there is more to culture than ethnicity. I would say you could still very much call yourself Polish, since you grew up Polish. If a couple moved from Ireland to Poland and had children who grew up in Poland, wouldn’t those kids be Polish? I think so. Of course, they’d also still be Irish, too.

  26. You’re right. Ethnic identity is not just about genes. Experiences and culture have a lot to do with it. I’m still getting used to the idea of being Irish-American. It’s all new to me.

  27. Have you thought about DNA testing? It’s not that expensive and it will provide information about your ethnic background. I’m surprised your birth mom couldn’t give you more concrete information about ethnic background. Did you establish a relationship with her before she died?

  28. Gaye!
    You might already have your wish !
    My ancestors are from the Northernmost county in Ireland – Donegal. It, like many counties, is within sight of Scotland.
    The people had boats and frequently traveled between Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The Celts, Vikings and the Pics settled all of these countries.
    The mythology is intertwined.
    BESIDES: On St Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish!

  29. I know how you feel!! I spent almost 50 years thinking I was an Italian girl from the Bronx. Turns out I am a mostly Irish, German, Scottish and slightly Italian girl from Long Island! IRELAND here we come….one of these days!! Top O’ the Morning to ya!!

    (BTW, I almost fell off my chair when I found out, having been raised by a SUPER-Italian family..I’m always going to feel very Italian.)

  30. I was the result of one date between two 17-year-old high school students. Six weeks later I was adopted by the doctor who delivered me.
    So, I can relate to your journey…the discovery of my maternal roots started in 1963 when I met my birth mother. She got to meet my fiance, and then my first and second sons. She lived with us for four months in 1993 and we stayed in touch until she died in 2004. I have recently made contact with paternal relatives through my tree on Ancestry.com.
    My google blog details some of my adventures in discovering my roots.
    Jackie Reiss nee Nancy Jeanette Beagle

  31. You have a fascinating story, Jackie. You have encouraged me to get back to work on my search for family on my paternal side. How wonderful that you became close to your birth mom. That’s remarkable. I will check out your blog.

  32. Hi Theresa. Maybe we will bump into each other in Ireland? 🙂 You will always have a connection to Italians the same way that I have a connection to the Poles. Thanks for reading my blog!

  33. You’re so right, Margie. Even when I thought I was Polish and German, I enjoyed corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. Now I have even more reason to wear green and celebrate.

  34. If it’s any consolation Lynne, Polish has now replaced Gaelic as the second most commonly spoken language in Ireland!

  35. This is all so interesting. Lynne, I think you’re attracting an audience who clearly wants to talk about their roots and can also support one another through the process. Good going!

  36. I was very surprised by the response I got to this post, Sheryl. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and thanks for reading. 🙂

  37. Hi Lynne,

    Great blog! Kudos to you as well for responding to all.

    I am a 23 and Me user, so I am not too familiar with FTDNA, but thinking of joining there as well. BTW don’t forget GEDmatch. They are again accepting uploads as of today. Fishing in as many pools as possible will get you maximum exposure.

    One thing about autosomal DNA is that there is no obvious way to know if your match is maternal or paternal.
    I am a bit confused on how you have sorted out which are which, unless FTDNA has more useful tools at hand.

    I am most pleased that you have discovered your roots. As a fellow Irish “rootster”, I will tap me magic shillelagh and wish you much success on the rest of your journey!

    I myself am not adopted but, simply looking for my lost siblings that were. I am hoping for the day that they show up in my relative finder, but in the mean time I am more than happy to meet lost cousins along the way.

    I am most fortunate to know my own family tree very well. I am sharing and corresponding with about 650 “cousins” currently. Try as I might though, following up on each cousin, and after about 10 months of going through the data, have come to the conclusion that every cousin thus far (about 99%) is connected to me maternally. I have not found ONE paternal match. Even though I know quite well who my father was, I am starting to wonder.
    In my case my mother has Acadian ancestry and I believe this is throwing everything off. Not to say you will encounter the same difficulty, but it is an issue I still have not resolved.
    The next obvious step is a Y-DNA test for me, so you may see me on FTDNA soon.

    Despite all this, like you I couldn’t have been more exited to know even more about my ancestry that I already thought I knew.

    I have about a 30% success rate with my matches answering. I was told that FTDNA is better in that regard, but I am sure mileage will vary. Keep after them!
    Don’t you just hate it when your matches don’t answer?

  38. Hi Steve. Thanks for the reminder about GEDmatch. I’ve heard it’s a good idea to upload results onto the other DNA test sites. It is interesting that all of your matches appear to be from your mother’s side. Most of my matches seem to be from my maternal side, too. I compare matches in the chromosome browser to determine which ones are seemingly related to one another. I know this is going to be a project for me. Will write more about my progress soon. Thanks for reading my blog!

  39. Hi Michael. It sounds like you come from English stock. I am English and have just been reading the article about DNA. If it is any help http://www.Ancestry.co.uk have the 1911 Census on their website. You don’t say whereabouts your family comes from but if you have that information it may help you to narrow things down a bit.
    I got to your comment via Facebook from looking at the page “You know when you are an adult adoptee”. I am a British first mother who is reunited after a closed adoption. My son is 46 and found me very easily five years ago. We are getting to know one another and it can be difficult some times.
    Hope you will find Ancestry helpful. If I can answer any questions about British family trees let me know. Kind regards. Chris

  40. Hi Lynne,
    I’m grateful to just have come across your blog about the issue that has me in a tailspin – almost as much as finding out 1 1/2 years ago that I was adopted. I’m 60 years old and was told so by a cousin at a family wedding. A large Italian wedding.
    I was raised in a very large Italian American family that consisted of 30 first cousins, and 18 aunts and uncles, plus grandparents and friends of the family – all of Italian descent. When I received my DNA results I discovered that I am not Italian. At all. My birth mother was Danish, and I believe my burt father was Argentinian, and German, English, Irish, etc. This incredible secret was kept by my entire extended family for 59 years. Amazing, isn’t it? I was so loved and a definite part of the clan. I looked like everyone else – perhaps a few inches taller or so.

    In my mind, and for that case every fiber of my being, I’m Italian. My grown children feel that they are also of Italian descent. It’s the biggest part of me. What do I do with that now?

    I’m debating whether or not I want to pursue finding out more about my birth family. I know my b/m has passed, but she had 5 other children when I was born. I’m just curious about them, but I’m not sure if I want to open that Pandora’s box. But time is passing, and I need to make that decision soon.

    Like I said I’m happy to have found your blog. It’s right on with everything I’ve been feeling lately. Thanks so much for writing!

  41. Hi, Chris, Thank you for the information and help. However, all of my grandparents, and probably great grandparents, were in the United States prior to 1910. So, looking at 1911 English Census records won’t do me any good. What my original post in this blog was about is that my Dad’s natural father is unknown and that the man my Dad’s mother eventually married approximately 3 years after my Dad was born, is not my natural grandfather. He supposedly adopted my Dad, but we have not been able to find any official adoption record, just that my Dad was listed in the 1920 and 1930 US Censuses as living with his parents with their last name. There is other information that also points to my Dad’s natural father was not the man that my grandmother eventually married. Michael

  42. Hi, Lynne. I didn’t meet my siblings on the day of my Dad’s funeral. The first time I met any of them, knowing who they actually were, was almost 5 1/2 years later at my Uncle’s (the one who informed me) 40th anniversary in 1994. I met my half-sister for the first time, knowing who she was. It was more of a shocking surprise than pure shock. I think my initial reaction may have been a little anger at my Dad, but knowing there wasn’t anything I could do about it, my reaction turned to surprise and shock.

    An update though, I still haven’t gotten any closer to finding out who my natural grandfather is/was, but I’m still searching.

    Michael

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