What’s in a Name?


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.

ggp n maternal gggp.png

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


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!!!!



My Own Great Wall Still Standing


May 2016 So many things to update here ...

There is a breakthrough on my search, for my original tribe – it seems a unique surname; Urdaz, has come up on three separate Ancestry trees where I  have a DNA match. I have reached out to several descendants of Emilio Rivera Urdaz, 1891 – 1957 Arecibo, PR. There’s probably a good chance one of his 9 children could offer some insight to my vague beginnings. However, two have since passed. The one living in NY when I was born is one of those two. Emilio Rivera y Fuentes 1937 – 2001 Queens, NY. He might have held the key. Right now I am waiting to hear back from his daughter, YS, that wonders if we are related. We are; she hasn’t DNA tested yet. We are biologically related! We are family! She is part of my first tribe. How close are we I wonder? A closer relative to Emilio Rivera Urdaz. If I wasn’t adopted; would we have even grown up together? She grew up not more than 40 minutes from me. So close, logistically and biologically!

urdaz post

Then there are few other cousins I reached out – one is very cold when I speak to him on the phone. It didn’t start out that way. In fact the first time we spoke; this second cousin of mine Reynaldo, he seemed genuinely interested in my story and helping me out. Then he went to visit family in PR and has since been very distant the times I have tried to reach out o him on the phone. Another cousin remains in the shadow, Emilio – I have tried to reach out to him via social media and through Ancestry – both so far a bust. Lastly, the the grandson of one of Emilio Rivera Urdaz’ daughter, Daniel has reached out with more of an open hand. We are working to build up that relationship. Although Ancestry recently reconfigured the way they measure SNP’s and we are now a bit further apart on the DNA tree. I don’t think his grandmother ever ventured from PR; so that would make sense.

The most frustrating is a match on ancestry that is just a basic member – with a vague name, no family tree, no identifying information except – female, probably in the NY area and a 1st cousin match. Several attempts at reaching her go answered in the ancestry in-mail system. FIRST COUSIN Match – OH MY!! and I cannot get any information from her. [Big sigh of disappointment as I shake my head]

These walls seem pretty unsurmountable at this point – but eventually something  has to break. Patience is not one of my better traits; but what choice do I have.

Waiting for My Bulldozer …. to answer my lifelong question; Who Am I?


Elated!! Ecstatic!!


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!

Bridging the Gap Between My Two Tribes!


I reached out Irene – a cousin of a 1st cousin by marriage, her paternal 1st cousin; from my Life sustaining tribe – and also she is also a cousin from my original tribe. There is definite genetic & paper trails to her maternal grandmother.

I gave Irene the outline of my adoption; how we are connected through both my tribes and a little of the travels on this path.

I received a very positive uplifting response from Irene and value it more than I can actually convey at this time. No matter our connection; she considers me a cousin!

My world has always been about less than the predicted 6 degrees of separation – and so that trend continues.

What’s in a name? What’s mine?


A way we define ourselves
Our nationalities
Our culture
Our traditions
Our family

Whenever my sister and I found ourselves under the scrutiny of our parents, because we had done something they felt was wrong, the statement – “I gave them my name” was held over over our heads. In retrospect; I never really paid it much attention. More recently, though, I wonder, what was my name before my adoption?

Does a name really define us? It is the one of the primary ways others define us?

If we look to conception; we start out simple and then grow into so many other roles. But that singular word; our first name defines us to our immediate family and friends later on; our surname will define us to many others throughout our life time.

We start first as

  • Baby
  • Gender defined
  • child
  • sibling
  • grandchild
  • niece / nephew
  • cousin
  • etc.

then we change into the age related categories

  • infant
  • toddler
  • preschooler
  • elementary school aged
  • pre-teen / prepubescent
  • teenager
  • HS senior
  • HS graduate
  • new driver
  • college student
  • college graduate
  • worker bee
  • spouse / SO
  • parent
  • middle aged
  • retired
  • senior
  • referred to in the past

and the cycle starts again

Still, I may be all of those things whether here in my life sustaining tribe or with my original tribe. The fact is that I was adopted, and welcomed into someone else’s tribe; that I appreciate. But the question still lingers – what is my original name. Like that age old Zen Koan; ‘what was your face before you were born?’

What are the names of my biological tribe?

  • my parents
  • my sibling/s
  • my grandparents
  • my cousins
  • my aunts
  • my uncles

Where would I be today if I had remained with my original tribe?

The Universe is working OT!!


And Gloriously I might add – not a word I use to often, but here, today I FEEL the weight of that particular word!!

More ‘Cousins’ coming out of the woodwork!

If there was a DNA jackpot for responses from new found matches – then this would be the week I hit that pot’o’gold!!!

It as if there is a cosmic connection.

At the beginning of this week, my amazing & very talented [and self-less] an original tribe cousin, Melissa Ulto, released the first installment of her documentary series – COUSINS – RACE, IDENTITY & FAMILY – Trailer 1 or as I would also like to refer to it … ‘Cousin Reunification Project’ – enjoy!! I am proud to say that the participants in this trailer are also all my cousins!  

So, the cosmic ball is rolling and stones are turning over and people are responding from a variety of sources. I have received responses from my 23andme, Ancestry and Gedmatch accounts!!  WOW!!

The secret FaceBook page of Prima y Primo’s … is adding in new ‘family’ on almost a daily basis!

This is so exciting. People coming together.

I can only attribute it to the Universe being included in this quest, request, hope for finding out our truths, finding out our original story and unifying and connecting us even more to our original tribe.

Thank you dear cousins Melissa, and the other stars in our quest to our roots: Teresa, Carmen, Luis, Maddy [brother & husband] & Iris.