The joy of researching family history can definitely be a bitter-sweet journey. You build up a picture in you mind of what you believe your Ancestors were like, especially their characters, and sometimes even what they look liked. They warm your heart, you begin to love them and hold a special bond, a one-sided bond but still a very powerful one.
Then smack, bang, you find something out, that not so much shocks you but it makes your heart ache just a little.
The ache quickly turns into excitement as it opens new possibilities of research. It opens hours, weeks even months of fun, researching new family members.
All the while, you feel a little stressed that the new-found information could upset, living relatives, who hold their own special memories, their own illusions of that person.
You battle with yourself, should you risk upsetting them by telling them the truth, risk changing their opinions of the relationship they hold tightly in their hearts or do you keep it to yourself.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been beyond stressing over some information I found on a Ancestry.
This information came to light due to a DNA match that is shared, with my mum and I.
DNA can’t lie, so we definitely have a family connection.
Had I researched an ancestor wrongly?
Did he have a secret life, we knew nothing about?
How on earth was I going to tell my Nan what I had discovered?
I decided to keep my mouth shut until, I knew a little more. I sent our DNA match an email, and waited with fingers tightly crossed for a reply.
The reply came a few weeks later, which confirmed what I already knew in my heart to be true.
My ancestor had another family, we knew nothing about.
If I’m honest at first my stomach sank. I had build up a picture in my head of him being lovingly devoted to his wife, a bond so strong, nothing or no one could break them.
His wife, definitely in my top 5 favourite ancestors, if not my favourite. She has a hold over me I just can’t explain, she fascinates me and I can’t stand to think of her going through any more heartache and pain. I wonder if she know, if she was ok with it or if she was broken?
I really didn’t know how on earth am I going to tell me Nan about her grandfathers other family.
After a very restless nights sleep, it dawned on me that, my Nan had mentioned that she thought he had children with another women.
All tension vanished, a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I called her up and explained all about my findings.
She wasn’t surprised in the slightest and went on to inform me, that her mum, my great-grandmother had visited them on many occasions.
What a sigh of relief.
Excitement quickly replaced the anxiety and I started to research all about them.
How exciting it is to know that my Nan has lots of aunts and uncles, cousins out there, ready to be discovered.
I can’t wait to tell you all about my findings and about the relatives who I would have never known about, if Mum and I, hadn’t tested our DNA.
DNA can be risky that’s for sure, I’ve heard some horror stories but it’s also a god send in its own little way. e
Even though it can weigh you down with stress and anxiety, it can always bring family’s back together but more so it can give you hope.
Hope that in time those brick walls in your research can actually get broken down.
We can all handle a bit of stress in hopes of getting to the finally goal of discovering who we really are.