Growing up I always remember wondering why we were always so close to my mother’s family but hardly saw my father’s family. When we did meet up with them, it would be a small group therefore moving me to believe my dad had a small family. It wasn’t until I was older that I found out the truth. My father had an interesting upbringing that left him growing up without a father.
As a child his mother left his father and moved from Philadelphia to Georgia. Never looking back they created a new life for themselves in an unfamiliar place. My dad says he can remember hearing from his dad maybe once his entire life. Hearing this story broke my heart. I couldn’t imagine growing up without my father. To know that such a wonderful human being grew up with such pain hurt me deeply.
For years my family and I have toyed with the idea of searching for my dad’s family. His father and two other siblings lived in Philadelphia so we knew where to start. But, we only knew my grandfather’s name and not my dad’s two siblings. This left us confused and would only allow us to get so far before hitting a wall. To say this was frustrating is the understatement of the year.
A few months back I found out about 23andMe and thought to myself maybe this is the answer we need to unlock my father’s history. Little did we know this one test would tell us not only our heritage but also unlock the door to a family we never knew existed.
As soon as the test arrived my family and I were overjoyed. Here in this tiny box was a chance at finding out our heritage and finding family we have always wanted to know. My dad quickly took the test and we shipped it off. Those 3-4 weeks were the longest weeks of my life. I still remember pieces of information showing up in my email. First his ancestry profile and finally over 830+ possible relatives.
When my dad arrived home I couldn’t wait to show him his ancestry profile. We all gasped and laughed in glee as we read the results. My father is 84.4% West African, 8.4% European and 2.0% Native American. Hearing this news was a shock but also exciting.
Next we looked at the over 830+ relatives and boy were we shocked. I searched through every one of the names in hopes of finding my dad’s brother and sister. Sadly, we did not find them. But, we did find two second cousins that I am currently in contact with.
My dad may have grown up without a father but he is the best father I could have ever asked for. We may not have found his family just yet, but we will never stop searching. Thank you 23andMe for helping my family unlock our history. We will continue to search online until we find his family, our family.