Four years ago my mom asked me if I could try to find out if her grandmother was still alive. Neither of us knew what rabbit hole that would open. I signed up for ancestry.ca and my life was never the same. I would spend hours researching my family history and discovering new things about my family. Then for my birthday two years ago my mom bought me Ancestry DNA for my birthday. The doors it opened were unimaginable.
The first major discovery in my journey into geneology with Ancestry was finding my moms other sisters and brother. My mom had been told in her early 20’s that her father was not her biological father. She had found her biologicial father but he had no interest in meeting her. She closed that painful door and went on with her life.
Through Ancestry, I found one of her half brothers. Upon contacting him we found out my mom had a total of 6 half-siblings from her biological father. Within 24 hours we were talking with one of the sisters and a few weeks later we got to visit her in her home. We met her, her husband and her 2 daughters. We later met her mom and another sister and that summer my mom attended their annual family reunion with my kids. Sadly I had to work.
Secrets From the Grave
My next major discovery was a secret my grandfather (my dad’s dad) took to his grave with him. My grandfather never talked about his time in WWII. Through genealogy and Ancestry, I found out my grandfather had married a Dutch lady during his time in the war and had two children with her. I reached out to one of my newly found uncles. He answered a few questions I had but ultimately he did not want to have further contact with myself or to have any contact with my dad or my aunt. After hearing his story I 100% understood and respected his decision. Some cans of worms don’t want to be opened.
Breaking Down Brick Walls
The one brick wall I still had was my Grandmas family (my dads mom). No one knew a single thing about her except where she was born. Due to privacy laws it is still too early for her birth records to be available to the public. Thanks to Ancestry DNA I found a second cousin. My brick wall came smashing down and I was able to learn so much more about her family.
Understanding Your Relatives
The one other discovery that sticks with me to this day and why I love genealogy so much is that it helps you understand where you came from and can help you understand why your family is how it is. I was able to discover things about my great grandmothers upbringing with helped me understand my Nana’s upbringing and how my mom was raised. Family trauma really does last for generations but with no one talking about it those skeletons stay in the closet. I like dragging them out and learning so much about my family history.
Know any genealogy Buffs?
Do you have someone in your family who is into learning about their history? Do you want to learn more about your history and maybe find some interesting skeletons? I highly recommend getting or gifting an Ancestry subscription or even their Ancestry DNA test. Just make sure you keep track of the time when you start researching?
Give the Gift of Ancestry
Disclosure: As someone who already uses and loves Ancestry I was happy to share why I think it would make a great gift. I did receive a 1-year subscription to Ancestry.ca in exchange for this post.
Give the gift of self-discovery with AncestryDNA, a consumer DNA test where you can uncover your ethnic mix, discover distant relatives, and find new details about your unique family history. More than 18 million people have uncovered something new about themselves: from their ethnic origins in more than 1000 regions to the migration journeys of their ancestors. The ‘DNA Matches’ feature offers the potential to connect with family members you never knew about or have lost touch with.
AncestryDNA continues to evolve every year with ethnicity estimates continually being updated. This year reference panels were expanded to deliver more precise results in regions in West Africa, northwestern Europe, the Americas, Oceania, and Southeast Asia. Family and friends will be ecstatic to receive a gift that gives them the opportunity to learn more about themselves while creating lasting and memorable experiences.
Ancestry.ca Subscription (starting at $14.99 per month)
Gift your family and friends a subscription to Ancestry.ca, a family history site where they can build their family tree and search through billions of historical records worldwide, to discover the stories of their ancestors’ lives: where they lived, how and when they arrived in Canada, if they served in the military, the achievements they reached and challenges they overcame. And best of all, it’s an activity that families can do together, sharing discoveries and stories along the way.
Did we find my great grandma?
Sadly I have yet to discover when my moms Grandma passed away. Through some inaccessible breadcrumbs I believe she passed between 2006 and 2008. The search is never over though.