You can search anywhere on the internet and you will find advertisements for Ancestry.com. I was a fan long before the advertisements filled the timelines of my social media. In twenty-twelve I was seduced by the idea that Ancestry could help me locate the family that I never knew. I am an adoptee that has always felt a desperate need to fill in the family gaps of my life. I didn’t need to search for my mother because I have always known who she is and that she threw her kids away. Instead I wanted to search for the rest of my family because I hoped that once they knew of me they would accept me.
We all have that innate feeling of wanting to belong to something or someone no matter what our upbringing is. I am no different and I wanted to feel a part of something larger, so I jumped at the opportunity to find any answers. For the first few years I took advantage of the free tree building option because it gave me the information I was searching for. I thought what I discovered was enough for me but then I started to want more. I had pieced together much of my family history and had even been in contact with some family members. Many of my efforts went unnoticed and there were rejections after rejections. These rejections prompted me to do a DNA test because somehow, I believed it would render these rejections void.
When my DNA results came in I wasn’t shocked by what I read because I already knew most of what it revealed. There was a small amount of satisfaction in the fact that I could now prove the link to my biological father. They might want to deny my existence, but I have the proof and that is something they can never take from me. Unfortunately having the proof still didn’t make me a part of them and I had to accept that there would be no family reunions in my future. I wouldn’t let the rejections stop me and I continued to build my tree with the new DNA results.
What ancestry did for me was so much more than I ever expected. It helped me discover a confidence level that I didn’t know I had. Ancestry.com painted a picture of my family for me and I appreciate that. Once I saw all the people from whom I descended I knew where I got my strength from. Thanks to my DNA results I now know that I am a descendant of Kings, Queens, Presidents and Chiefs. It no longer mattered who my parents were because I moved past that chapter. With the help of other genealogical sites, I also learned that I am separated by mere degrees from other prominent people throughout history.
Six degrees of separation is the theory that any person on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. My time spent searching for answers and family has sent me on an emotional roller-coaster, but I also learned a lot. One thing I try to instill in others is when they embark on this journey don’t chase the fantasy because the reality is harsh. Meaning, if you believe that ancestry results will make you whole again, you will only be disappointed. Ancestry will fill in the gaps of your family tree, but it cannot fill the gaps in your life.