Surnames and Family Research Forum Archive
Re: Afraid to continue research - need advice
In Response To: Afraid to continue research - need advice ()
There was an experience similar to Denise in my family. When I joined the last church I attended while living in Tennessee, several cousins informed me that I had a cousin who also attended this rather large church. She was the "secret" daughter of my great-uncle. I say "secret" because not everyone knew of her existence, but some family members had carried this "secret" for years. Well, they told me who she was, and I looked for her after asking around.
Personally, I was afraid at how she was going to "accept" me, but I did not care about the circumstances that made her my family, just that she was family, and that's all that was important to me. When a church member pointed her out, I was flabbergasted. She looked a LOT like my great-uncle. There was no doubt that she was family. I introduced myself, explaining who I was, and we immediately hit it off. She was VERY happy that I found her.
We talked more and more, and she openly shared with me her story. The man she thought was her father (her mother's husband) was not her father. In fact, she turned out looking so much like her biological father's side of the family, that she said that when she was growing up, people would often ask her, "You must be kin to those ----- because you look just like them folks." After questioning her mother many times as to why people were always telling her that, her mother finally decided to "drop the bomb". Of course the father who raised her was heart-broken that his only child was really not his. From what I hear, he left.
Well, my great-uncle was married and had 11 children with his wife. My cousin speculated that her biological father likely had other children, but she never met them. She even said, "They probably do not have any idea that I exist.". Needless to say, I had a close relationship with several of my great-uncle's children. Hesistantly, I decided to tell one of my great-uncle's sons about her existence, just to get a feel of his reaction. Well, he immediately told me, "I want to meet her!" So, we agreed that the next time he came to Tennessee, I would arrange it, if all parties were comfortable.
Well, several months later, he came to town to visit his daughter. I then called my cousin to tell her that her brother wanted to meet her, and I asked her if she was comfortable with it. She was. A meeting place was agreed upon, and when my great-uncle's son first laid eyes on her, he said, "Oh my God. You look just like Daddy! You are sho nuff my sister", and he gave her a big hug. They sat and talked for hours! After growing up as an only child all of her life, my cousin was thrilled that she had siblings. I personally believe that she was thrilled that her existence was not a secret anymore. Although I've moved from Tennessee, I still keep in contact with her and one of her daughters.
You may not only be surprised that some family members may welcome you with open arms, you might be surprised that some other members of your father's family may already know of your existence and are just wondering where you are.
Continue to pray about it. God will certainly direct you in the right direction. Keep the faith!
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