FOUND!!!!!

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Happened that quickly; in the blink of an eye – I went from not knowing anything to having full siblings, and 200 people on my ancestry tree.
Well, I don’t even know where to begin. But I will start with a bit of backtracking.
Last Monday, after returning from a family vacation, I found I had a ‘close family’ match on Ancestry.
Well, cutting to the chase, after a day of phone calls back and forth to my new close family match, Nikki, sharing 1602 cMs and 62 segments, as well as calls to some other DNA cousins – we determined this was my niece – my FULL niece. Nicki had lots of info and we got from point A to point B pretty quickly with her knowledge combined with the Urdaz research tree I had on Ancestry.
Why is this so AMAZING? 50+ years ago I was found in a car at 12 to 24 hours old with no identifying information. The ensuing police investigation came up empty and I was soon released by Family Services to be adopted. [Who would ever think I would have FULL anything!!]
I have always known I was adopted, and have always wondered about my birth family. Years and years of questioning, wondering and frustration followed by empty leads and not much more information.
Finally, I DNA tested three years ago. I followed the recommendations and tested across the board, aka, ‘fishing in all ponds’; it paid off. Honestly, I am still floored/confused by the science. Many times I didn’t fully understand what I was looking at. I was fortunate to have the assistance of the brilliant mind and amazing heart of a DNA cousin, George P. George correctly determined who my original tribe would be months ago! Without the information George pieced together; it wouldn’t have been so easy to ascertain the relationship with my new found niece!
It turns out I have one surviving full biological brother and 2 that have passed along with my biological father. My birth mother is still alive. She has a vague memory of her pregnancy with me, so I am still trying to determine the true story of my very very humble beginnings. However, she did name me Elizabeth. [My biological brother will be DNA testing soon.]
Now, I am complete – I am relieved to have finally found my truth!
I am still a woman of two tribes, but now I know the origins of my original tribe – so, my quest will be changing.
My breakdown:
I am half Puerto Rican – and if you are Puerto Rican you know this to be a melting pot of several cultures and nationalities combing European, Indigenous and African roots.  The other half is mostly German.  My Jewish / Ashkenazi heritage is still questionable and seems to possibly come from both sides.
My paternal history is Puerto Rican.
My dad was Israel Joseph Rivera y Juarbe, 1935 – 2011. He relocated to Florida.
On his paternal side; he is the great grandson of Hipolito Rivera and Francisca Correa y Urdaz [circa 1866 – 1925] both from Arecibo and Eulogio Rios y Medina & Beatriz Ortega y Viruet [circa 1864 – 1915] both from Utado. He is the grandson of Emilio Rivera y Urdaz & Trinidad Rios y Ortega [circa 1887 – 1937.]
On his maternal side  he is the great grandson of Utado residents Juan Batista Serrano Gonzalez & Cruz Roldan [circa 1842 – 1898] and Antonio M. Juarbe y Gonzalez of Utado & Fidela Gonzalez y Lopez from Lares  [circa 1844 – 1927]. He is the grandson of Jose Juarbe y Gonzalez & Carmen Serrano y Roldan [circa 1842 – 1942]. Both from Utado, eventually Carmen would find herself in Arecibo.
He was the only surviving son of Efrain Rivera y Rios & Rosa Juarbe y Serrano [circa 1912 – 2000]. His mother Rosa, passed just months after his entrance to this world. That is probably what sparked my grandfather, Efrain to pull up roots from Puerto Rico and head to the mainland; to New York. Eventually he would retire with my step-grandmother Marta Davis Centano in Florida. Efrain & Marta would have two children together; my father’s half-siblings, Beatrix and David.
My paternal birth family hails from mostly Arecibo and Utado, Puerto Rico. My paternal surnames are Rivera, Juarbe, Serrano, Gonzalez, Lopez, Correa, Rios, Roldan, Ortega, Urdaz, Medina, Viruet and Miranda.
My maternal history is basically German, along with some Irish.  My mother Linda Elizabeth Reyalt, 1935 – present was born in New York.  At present, she is in a facility in Florida.
On her paternal side, she is the granddaughter of Henry Reyalt & Augusta Ohrich [circa 1878]. They hailed from Germany and show up on the 1910 US Census. Here they both give their immigrations years as 1894 for Henry & 1900 for Augusta ‘Gussie’ as well as claiming ‘Naturalized’ status. They made their home in Brooklyn.
On her  maternal side; she is the great granddaughter of Patrick Sylvester Durkin & Katherine Sweeney [circa 1852 – 1914] both of Mayo Ireland and Philip Ochsenreiter & Katherine Liesenbein [circa 1848 – 1904]. Patrick & Katherine S reported their arrival from Mayo, Ireland to New York city in 1861. At some point after she was widowed, Katherine S relocated to Chicago, Illinois.  Philip & Katherine L originally hailed from a small town, Freinsheim in the district of Bad Dürkheim in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. They migrated to the New York City area arriving on June 24, 1853 on the ship, The Mary Annah. The ship last departed Le Havre, France before it ended its journey on our eastern shore here in New York. She is the the granddaughter of John Ochsenreiter of New York & Katherine E. Durkin of Pennsylvania [born approx 1875, showing up last on the 1930 US census]. They too resided in Brooklyn, NY.
Finally she is the daughter of Walter Reyelt & Isabel Ochsenreiter [circa 1911 –  2003]. Practically her last 8 years she would spend as a widow relocating to Florida.
My My maternal surnames are Reyelt, Ochsenreiter, Durkin, Ohrich, Liesenbein, Sweeney, Dyra, Hofmann, Armbruster, Neyland, and Neiland.
My parents had a total of five children together, in birth order;  Debra Rivera 1957 -2102, Israel Rivera 1958 [stillborn], Joseph Rivera 1960 – present, this author 1963 – present, David Rivera 1966 – 2009.
My tree continues to  populate because of the dedication of another DNA cousin who has even collaborated with George P and she has become more than just a DNA cousin; Yasmin M. is always there as sounding board, a friend and trusted confident.
There are MANY other DNA cousins along the way that have added in great information, shared their family trees, outlined relationships, shared family folklore, gave me roots. Too many to mention here a few off the top of my head …. Karen, Tracie, Roberto, Yolanda, Sylvia, Eric & Emilio, Daniel, Cesar, Martin, Patrick, Teresa, Chastity, Ana, Sofia, Cyndia, Becky, Heriberto, Annette, Peter, Joe, etc. too many to mention!!
From the depths of my heart THANK YOU ALL!!
More details to come – this is the general post so far!!
For those  still looking; DON’T GIVE UP!!!
5.9.17 – Update – I have updated / altered this post to reflect a genealogy spin to it. I cannot honestly say this is a hobby and leave things the way they were. I added in names, dates and places of those that came before me.  Those that have given me a history I can call my own. They gave wings to my tree and it is soaring.
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What’s in a Name?

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What is the name of my Original Tribe?

So, here we are another day unfolding and a bit more info. The latest count on Ancestry.com are over 19,000 DNA matches. Overwhelming on what to do with them. I am so fortunate to have such great DNA matches / cousins that continually assist me. They volunteer their time to help me find my truth; part of it is also theirs. But they have most of their answers; this they do out of their own generosity and for that I am truly grateful!!

My current tree on Ancestry Research Tree: Urdaz Family. all thanks to my cousin George who has uncovered / researched so much information.

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So, what has been uncovered.

My maternal great great grandparents; Pedro [Roman] Urdaz & Juliana Correa; also from Arecibo, PR. There’s a story circulating that Juliana’s dad was from Spain. My my great grandparents; Hipolito Rivera and Francisca Urdaz y Correa, circa 1860’s from Arecibo, PR.  One of their eight children should be my grandparent. From the way the DNA matches are revealing themselves it seems most likely that one of these three Rivera y Urdaz children should turn out to be it: Jose, Angel or Francisco.

Presently I am leaning towards Francisco 1891-? & his wife Guadalupe Soto y Serrano  1896-1984. Angel 1887-1958 was married to Trinidad Ocasio y Cebollero 1889-1925, Jose 1856-1934 was married to Susana Borras y Menendez 1882-1922 and Carmen Santana y Diaz 1894?

Finally,  I can now firmly state that my surnames are:  Rivera, Urdaz, Correa, Roman?, Miranda, and Pollaci – from my life sustaining tribe!

Geni and DNA

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Exciting but now what …

So the newest company to join the DNA revolution is Geni.com. You can ‘connect’ your DNA to their database and build your tree for free. I  am sure the upgrade to Geni Pro fro the $119 a year would be worth it – but is it worth it if I cannot put my parents in my tree?

I connected my Family Tree DNA account to  Geni.com and that was pretty simple to do and very very quick. I guess I should have read up more ion it than starting to write this blog entry. I have some matches that I do not recognize the surnames on. It isn’t showing me to much more than a name and surnames; so I am unable to see any connection. I don’t know how far off the connection is. I am hoping that these user names show up in FTDNA and Ancestry.

Stay Tuned!! I will let you know what I find.

Elated!! Ecstatic!!

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Wonderful fabulous week and it’s only Tuesday!!!

I spend so much time on the DNA sites; checking for new matches; looking at names, looking for hints of information. Calculating how can I be related to this person? How can I connect the dots of their life & world to mine. Where do they live now?  Where has their family lived?

Over thinking until I am exhausted and still empty. My cup runneth over with information; but it is too distant for me to make sense of it – YET!!!!

But yesterday …. YESTERDAY I found out I finally have a surname I can call my own … Miranda!!! It’s official! thank good news for MY COUSIN TRACIE, who figured this all out. Her acumen in Gedmatch is to be admired!! I am still pretty green on doing this.

Finally!!  Finally!!!    Finally!!!!   HUGE sigh of relief!!!

Late last night with the last bit of energy I had to stay awake; I exuberantly entered my newly confirmed surname into my profile on Ancestry, FTDNA & 23andme.

It gets better though … I have been in contact via the DNA sites ‘in-mail’, email, phone calls, Facebook, texts and also working on Skype calls.

I have been fortunate to have so many new cousins. These new additions are under the special grouping of primas & family in my contacts. I know each day how increasingly important they have become because each time I see an email or a call or even a FB entry that they have made; I cannot wait to get to it, to answer that call. And when I do, I am smiling from ear to ear! Truly, I consider them friends as well because they are lovely wonderful warm open hearted people.

Well, this Friday I meet my cousin Karen IN THE FLESH.

This is the VERY FIRST COUSINS I WILL MEET IN PERSON!! [squeal squeal squeal].  I cannot wait!