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!

Uncharted Waters

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Yes, this blog is about my search – but my search started when my adoptive mother was on her death bed 24 years ago. My sister; also adopted, and I found our adoption paperwork. It was, I thought at the time, the key leading to all my answers.

It was not my key I held; but my sisters. It held her name and from there her truths would unfold. Almost 22 years ago, I was able to give her the gift of her biological family. I had connected some info on an adoption bulletin board on AOL. That first contact find was made in the middle of the night and I had to wait until at least 7:30 AM before I could share this my sister, JA. I don’t remember if I even slept. I remember she wasn’t as keen on finding her family as I seemed to be; but she wanted her truth. She found out her truth and so much more. She learned of a family that had always been searching for her. 

The post on AOL was a maternal aunt searching for her and a full brother that had always been looking. Hours passed in the day before I was able to catch up with JA and find out what had transpired when she had spoken to her aunt. 

JA had another large family. There were several  siblings, the paternal side practically tripling the maternal side. I think 7 or 8 paternal siblings, one full brother and 2 maternal siblings. 

Well, there’s a brief history; but why am I sharing this. I am in ‘Unchartered Waters.’ You see, one of JA’s paternal siblings, a sister younger by about 16 months, Trish, is leaving this world momentarily. She has fought the good fight against pancreatic cancer and some other complications. Trish will be leaving this earth a loving and brave soul with cherished memories of her left behind. I really didn’t know her at all; but I am plagued with these thoughts and emotions.

  • This isn’t my sibling, but I am so truly saddened.
  • How do I help my sister, JA?
  • How can I be there for her?
  • What can I do to save her from this pain when I cannot share it the same way?
  • No matter what had transpired with us, drifting apart and coming back together nothing would / will ever stop me from protecting her.

Memories from childhood and memories from adulthood creep into my mind . Memories of me stepping up to be there, support and even protect JA. Memories of JA always being there for me. Memories of experiencing the sadness of death of family members when we were young and so were they.

We were there, as much as children can be there, for the rest of the survivors. We were bereft because we too had lost them forever.  We were much younger than those that had fallen from this place of the living. Maybe too young to be able to really express ourselves. We were mourning our cousins, aunt, uncle and grandparents. They were more than family; they were our lifeline after our parents, sometimes our protectors, our confidants, our friends & playmates; they were our beloved.  

Final thoughts

  • Appreciate the here and the now!
  • Reach out and let those important to you know, they make a difference to you!
  • Let those you care about know they are important!
  • Take a moment for yourself, take a deep breath and enjoy a moment just for you! 

To you, my dear reader, I say thank you for letting me share this slightly off topic post.

 JA always my #1 sister, my friend, my go-to, and so many more things that  are too long to list; but if you are a sibling, then you know the list! And thank you for being you; you mean the world to me and make my world better!!!!

♥♥♥♥

 

More Stories of Mi Primos

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Unsure of even what the title for this should be; ‘more adoption stories’, ‘what an interesting DNA family we have’,

The bottom line is that I have found I am not so unique, not so alone. Our ‘DNA’ family seems to have a few more stories in the proverbial closet.

As I have delved into the world of DNA testing and been given a slew of ‘matches’ I have been privy to their stories as well.

There are several; these are the ones I know of:
AO – looking for her bio-dad. AS a an adult with an adult son; she finally heard the truth from her mom. She won’t believe anything until science, DNA test confirms it.

SO – Korean born, adopted West Coast, USA

BA – lives in the Carolina area, never had any identifying info

SM – really has no info, is looking

KA – figured it all out, denied by birth mother

MB – looking for immediate family info, parents perished at an early age; they were both 25. They left behind 5 small children to become orphans. Why are she & her siblings so fair with blond hair? What are there roots?

LF – born here on the East Coast, relocated to Europe where she has been for decades. Enlisted the assistance of a genealogical PI and found her mom & brother. After meeting & engaging with her bio-brother that has some serious emotional issues, she agrees with her mom; her being adopted out was the best thing the mom could have done.

SR – adopted out twice and then finally left home as a teenager. Out on her own, she is a success story. finally able to piece together her story because of another shared match that shed light. She knows her grandfather on his deathbed let her siblings know they had a sister out there and this regret could not go with him to the next plane.

DM & TB – sisters, they also have at least one other brother who I have noticed as a match for me in the DNA sites. They are looking for their dad.

SM – looking for her dad; was never in the picture growing up. Had no idea who he was. finally did DNA testing and a 3rd cousin to me matched her very closely.Turned out it was her dad’s first cousin. There was a brief reunion after he was ‘informed’ he had a daughter. Then it hit the rocks. Hoping that things work themselves out soon for them.

LV – very little info on her dad’s side of the family. One of many children spread far and wide … was he even ‘legit’?

Patricia – born in Spain, unsure of even her birth year, had surgery as an infant or toddler, scar to prove it. Her parents are probably from Puerto Rico. She has recently done DNA testing and is using social media and every other type of communication to get her story out. I am in awe of her perseverance, dedication, and all to well understand her obsession with finding out her truth. Her story  We are in connected through social media, email back and forth, but there is a caveat for me and this new found cousin is that we are separated not just by the ocean; but by language.                                                  Her story is pasted below!

HA – half siblings out there; they didn’t grow up together and so they shun their blood.

MN – adopted, found his mom; looking for his dad.
Has a good relationship with his half sisters.

AR – grew up with very abusive, abandoning and inattentive mom. Finally met his father. After meeting him, mother divulged he was a product of rape.

HO – a 2nd to 4th cousin that might hold a key, a false hope; his mom was adopted; no information there either.

Reached out – waiting to hear back:
H – adopted out as infant; looking for her birth family & roots.
A – adopted, knows birth name
I – grew up in an orphanage in the Bronx

MV – a cousin of a cousin. We actually share many cousins; we are thinking probably we are cousins – but have been unconnected through random recombination. We have connected through social media and she is actually the translating go between for Patricia & I. She too is looking for her dad.

 

Patricia’s Story!!!  Please feel free to share / re-post, talk about it / get the word out however you can!!!

New Information – Maternal surname – Adela / Paternal Surname – Thomas

Weighed in 2 lbs appox in the February 1976 – due to congenital heart condition? or low birth weight – unknown still at this time.

Mi busqueda realizada por Annette

IMPORTANTE
Esta es una historia real y tu oportunidad de ayudar a alguien- por favor léelo y compártelo. Patricia Perez Saes fue adoptada y criada en España y se acaba de realizar pruebas de ADN con las cuales descubrió que su madre es PUERTORRIQUEÑA. Su madre pudo estar estudiando en alguna universidad o residiendo en España entre 1974 y 1977. Pudo haber dado a su bebé en adopción voluntariamente, como pudo haber sido presionada o víctima de un esquema de robo de niños que hubo en el mismo hogar de adopción de Madrid en el cual estuvo Patricia, situado justo al lado de un hospital en el cual muchas veces le decían a las madres que sus bebé había fallecido, para darlo en adopción. Patricia es una prima lejana mía, según revelan las pruebas de ADN, pero tan lejana que hace imposible identificar por quién exactamente estamos emparentadas. La quiero ayudar a encontrar a su mamá y necesita la ayuda de puertorriqueños que compartan esto, para regar la voz, con la esperanza de que su madre vea esto. Quizás es alguien que ha vivido con el dolor de pensar a una hija muerta, o quizás apretar ese botón le da la oportunidad de una vida, de conocer a esa bebé que, por razones que desconocemos, entregó hace 4 décadas.
IMPORTANT
This is a true story and your chance to help someone-please read it and share it. Patricia Perez Saes was adopted and raised in Spain and just DNA testing with which he discovered that his mother is PUERTO RICAN. His mother could be studying at a university or residing in Spain between 1974 and 1977 could have given her baby up for adoption voluntarily, as might have been pressed or the victim of a theft scheme of children in the household were making Madrid in which Patricia was located right next to a hospital in which often were telling mothers their babies had died, to give it up for adoption. Patricia is a distant cousin of mine, as revealed by DNA testing, but so far it impossible to identify exactly who we’re related. I want to help find his mom and need help Puerto Ricans share this, to spread the word, hoping that her mother sees this. Maybe someone who has lived with the pain of thinking to a dead child, or perhaps push that button gives you the opportunity of a lifetime, to meet the baby, for reasons unknown, gave 4 decades.

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Ewoks! Their Adoption Story!

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Our puppies, lovingly referred to as Ewoks, because they resemble the cartoon / Star Wars characters if the same name.
Eight years ago this upcoming Thanksgiving we became the proud owners of brother & sister, Java & Kona.

I wonder sometimes, is it fair that we took them from their mom, their siblings, their pack. That not only have we separated them from their biological family, but have tried to ‘re-wire’ their thinking, their actions; essentially their innate nature!

Is it right that we consider them property? After all they are living breathing beings that require food, water and some kind of relationship. Who is to say they need to be complex or be able to do what we do. They are beings filled with emotion; with their own minds, their own likes & dislikes, their own personalities.

Well, they are ours because of a fondness, a bit understated, we have for them and they for us. They aren’t objects or possessions; they are our furry children. We care for them, look out for them, consider their best interests, take them on vacations with us because we love them they are part of our family.

But, we are not there biological parents. Do they miss their family? Did we have the right to separate them?
It’s too late now for these two; but I am sooo happy we have them in our lives!