In 2003, my first grandfather died and I grew up in a very close family. But after he died, I realized that I really did not know much about his parents and his family other than his siblings. And I was very curious to find out that information. That’s actually when I joined The Ancestry for the first time and started doing research. You know, I had heard stories that my grandfather’s parents died when he was young. I found out that his parents and his older siblings all died of tuberculosis each four years apart. That’s really when I started digging into my own family history. I grew up very close to my grandparents and hearing stories about their lives and how they struggled at times, and it made me who I was.
Listening to my grandparents speak French, I wanted to know where that came from. You know, how far does that go back? Unfortunately, it hasn’t been carried down in the generations, but it’s such an important part of our heritage. And in 2015, I wanted to know more about being French, and saw an ancestry commercial and ordered DNA kits for myself and my husband. And that $99 is the best $99 I think I’ve ever spent in my life because it changed my life. It gave me a tool to be able to help others to find my purpose in life. I do this because it’s the most rewarding thing that I’ve ever done in my life. And to be able to tell a cousin that “Yes, your daddy is your dad” when he didn’t know for sure if it was. Or a friend of mine finds out who her daddy is and that he’s a friend of mine and we actually share a grandchild.
Those things mean a lot to me and it just made me want to learn more about this amazing thing called DNA—how it works, what do these numbers mean. I joined Facebook groups, I read every book that I could on the subject, tried to educate myself. Until one day, I got an email from an adoptee looking for help, and I realized I had a family tree that possibly could help this gentleman, and I offered my help. I said I am NOT an expert, but I will do what I can. And in five days, we found his mother and his brother had looked for him for over 20 years. He told me and he said “You have changed my life. I thought he was dead. I heard he died at childbirth.” I heard all these stories about him, but I never knew who he was until today. And it just was the most rewarding thing I had done to them.