My Own Great Wall Still Standing

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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?

 

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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!

The Universe is working OT!!

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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!  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BARTCgwOxdE&feature=youtu.be 

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.

Documentary?? Too Good to be true … but THANKS Universe – I would love to!!!

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Since I found out my true story; I tried to do the search thing ‘old school detective style’. It hasn’t yielded any insight into who my birth-parents could be.

After years of disappointing efforts I was enchanted with affordable DNA testing. Here again, my hopes were raised; but not too high, my *closest public relative is about 3.8 generations* from me. There are second cousins on one of them; but for whatever reasons they have chosen to remain that way even after I had contacted them a few times.

However, DNA testing has been incredibly successful in other ways. So many things have come to light: my nationalities, a plethora of family from my ‘Original Tribe’. In addition I have been privy to many family stories – that may or may not also belong to me – yet I have a sense of ownership because even if they aren’t ‘mine’ per-see, they are the stories of my cousins!

In my quest to find my Original Tribe; I have been on adoption sites for years and more recently on Facebook Adoptee / Triad pages. I sporadically will visit the pages. One lucky day, I noticed this post – a lovely woman posted her friends email address to contact if you are interested about your story being documented. Well, it happened to be a great day for me!

I sent a quick email stating my interest to share! Recently, I was contacted by the woman who just completed this documentary – https://www.feeln.com/films/journey-of-dreams. [they are connected to Hallmark – WOW] She had been busy wrapping up a film and hadn’t forgotten about me. ‘Can I share my story with her.’ Well, I gladly did!!

I shared my story; some information that I haven’t been extremely forthcoming about for no other reason than I just wasn’t comfortable; and it seemed that it may make others uncomfortable. I included the newspapers articles from when I was first found and the one from done 35 years later, one of gratitude to my birth mother for having me.

I also am fortunate to have a copy of my foster care records, and the accompanying police report from when I was found. Attached those as well. Being found abandoned at approximately a day old with no knowledge of the birth parents did not make for a successful police investigation. Fifty plus years ago; information was not as easily shared, computers did not exist as they do today and the idea of an **unwanted child** is much more accepted.

Well, I received a response; the team is now considering my story for a documentary. This is huge!! People have been reporting incredible success with just posting their stories on Facebook. A documentary! WOW!! That can be the path to the MY TRUTH that I seek. The path to finding my ‘Original Tribe’.

Thank you Universe!

Thank you to the wonderful people at feeln.com!

Thank you to my wonderful ‘Original Tribe’ family!

Thanks to my ‘Life Sustaining Tribe’, how I got to here and now!

And most of all to my spouse & children that propel every success I achieve!

Note:

*This cousin, ‘3.8 generations’, is one of my closest original tribe family. We are in constant communication and it’s wonderful! AND, there are more cousins that I am also in VERY close contact with, 4th generation and beyond. The thing is, we are friends because we found out we are family. It is a wonderful feeling! We text, email, talk, try to Skype, share on Facebook. We hope to meet soon; for me with two toddlers and working full-time, etc., I have limited time and energy right now; but I look forward to that incredible day!

I guess I would have to call them framily!  They are supportive and informative and try to help me find out more information. I feel so fortunate.

**Now, here I would like to clarify ‘unwanted child.’ I really cannot speak of my birth mother and possibly birth father’s true intentions or feelings. I do not know what motivated her / him / an unknown helper / them. What I do now, they had some kind of spirituality / religion and they believed in the miracle of life. I can only conclude from their actions that they probably knew they were unable to care for an infant / child and hoped for the best.

Finding Our Common Ground

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My search is no closer today than it was months ago

But life is richer having met so many amazing DNA matches that I endearingly refer to as ‘cousins’. A few months back I initiated a ‘private’ Facebook page that is encompassed of my DNA matches and any one in the group is welcome to add in their DNA matches. We have gone different routes to try to pull together the information that everyone is sharing from old family photos, family trees, comparing gedmatch numbers and search tips and reference materials.

This ‘networking’ is a very un-attached type of description for it. Really, this group of 130+ has it’s own personality. It’s a place of warmth, caring, laughter and it’s evolving. Hard describe a Facebook page as that – but really has become my favorite place to catch up. It emits a positive vibe, encourages the members to come a little out of their shell and share and comment.

Today, we try a new forum – a blog / website. I initiated that too – but like the Facebook page; it’s is nothing without the members and their input. We all have different reasons for doing DNA testing and trying to piece together a past that is ours for the taking; the learning; the sharing.

Right now we are all on a path of unearthing that past. From there we will build our trees and see how that root has taken and given us our now. We will add to those branches so we can give our offspring their foundations. This new found ‘family’ is working together, learning together, growing together all due to common ground.

Secret Society Musings

Aside

Recently I started a Facebook page with just DNA matches. The criteria is that you must match a member on the page via DNA. So, everyone has either tested on one or more or all of the following DNA sites; 23andme, FTDNA, Ancestry & many have uploaded to Gedmatch.

For selfish reasons; we have made the page ‘private’. So, no one other than members know what we post, when we post it. Basically – we are all a bit geeky in the DNA world. Some of us are much more adept at understanding this amazing technology / information than others. I fall into the category ‘than others’. I am a novice at understanding it all, but I am getting there. It is fortunate that I have these wonderful primas y primos to share, compare and query with.

I look at these 1:1 comparisons on Gedmatch and I know there are answers here; but I am not a genetic Genealogist [yet – LOL] there are two cousins both related to me and to each other. They share the same surname. However, I am not related to them on the same chromosome. What does this mean? Well, a few months back I found out if we end up sharing on the same chromosome; then we share a common ancestor. Common ancestor – the theme of my search. I have been unsuccessful so far in finding a common ancestor. There is always the DNA response; Random Recombination which is, I think, the pat answer. When it lies outside the expectations, yet there is a connection.

try again

Comparing Cousins – they are related – same surnames – but not a common ancestor readily found

On a positive note; it’s a different experience connecting with people that you never knew about and share DNA with. I was thinking just the other day – these are 3rd plus cousins and I probably might have never met them had I known about them all my life / all their life. Here in the DNA world there is some strange and wonderful occurrence where we do not take each other for granted; we celebrate even the smallest shred of shared DNA. we welcome with open arms the cousins of our cousins that have also been invited to share in this ‘Secret Society’.

Grateful to experience this new world; however confusing and frustrating [because the puzzle pieces aren’t fitting yet] at times it can be.