I was counting down the days to half term. For me, that’s a week off work where I can concentrate on being creative. I had two quilts lined up for finishing as well as a crochet blanket to design and make. I couldn’t wait.
Saturday morning dawned and a friend said that Ancestry.com was having free access to records for two weeks so I thought I’d pop on for a quick look. Back sometime last year, I had taken a DNA test to see where my mum’s family had come from geographically. She had been adopted at birth, so we had never known, although mum had had a few suspicions. There were some DNA matches, but although I knew how we were linked, I didn’t know the how. I wouldn’t have known where to start fitting it all together and anyway, I’d had no intention of upsetting any apple carts. It was enough to know the estimated location.
So going back to this Saturday, I logged on and there was a message from a man now living in Canada, born in London. We’d come up as matches for first/second cousin but he couldn’t work out the connection. I knew the why, but not the how so I gave him a quick explanation about the circumstances of my mum’s birth and adoption as we knew it. He took the information I had about other matches and compared it to his own tree. Emails were flying backwards and forwards and very soon we knew it was definitely mum’s birth family.
He sent me a old photo and for the very first time, I was looking at pictures of people that looked like me, I could see where my nose came from, my son’s chin and my brother’s mouth. My emotions were in a tizz and yes, my world had been rocked. I’d gone from having no maternal relations to hundreds with centuries of history. There was so much to take in. My poor quilt laid neglected on my table.
Lots of emails were exchanged and, after just fifteen days, the man in Canada had traced my mum’s birth registration. He discovered we weren’t cousins, he had found a niece, my mum was his half sister! As I write this, I am waiting for her birth certificate to arrive for the final confirmation. I am sure it wasn’t at all what he was expecting when he first contacted me.
Through all of this, one question keeps popping into my head, are any of them creative? I know it doesn’t come from my paternal side. I am hopeful, I got sent a photo of my maternal grandmother wearing the first dress she ever made. Surely, there had to have been more.
My quilts are still there and they will wait for me. For now, I’m getting to know the story my mum never got to know.