This is a tale to warn against gossip and also the importance of bringing up delicate subjects at an appropriate time.
My Grandmother was one of five children. Each sibling had two children, with a total of 10 cousins. My mother was fairly close with most of her cousins growing up, as a majority lived nearby. As the years have gone by everyone has moved away and now my grandmother and all of her siblings have passed on. It is very rare that we see or hear from these cousins for no reason other than just life has moved everyone onto different seasons in their life.
One such cousin is very interested in genealogy. He has spent years tracing our family back (he’s gotten as far back as the 1400’s at this point!). He is registered on a prominent genealogical web site and has our entire family tree listed there. I find it all fascinating and appreciate his efforts!
He was contacted recently by someone on this site, looking for her parents. She had been given up for adoption in the early 70’s and because it was a private adoption, never knew the identity of her parents. She did a DNA test provided by this site and they linked her as a direct descendant of one of the 10 cousins on the family tree.
This cousin contacted my mother to hear her thoughts about it. The child was adopted in a city that only 2 cousins ever resided in, which is several hours away from any place the other cousins lived. It is safe to narrow down the potential parents to one of these two cousins (who are siblings). The female cousin was in her late 20’s and married at the time the adoption took place, and she went on to have other children shortly after, so odds are it isn’t her. The other sibling is male and would have been 16 at the time. Odds are he is the father and, considering the time in which this took place along with the VERY conservative locale, I imagine the girl was sent off somewhere and it’s possible he never even knew she was pregnant.
The cousin and my mother felt they had solved the mystery pretty solidly, as they recalled what the other cousins were doing and where they were during this time. Most were female and since they all saw each other on a regular basis a pregnancy or large absence would have definitely been noticed.
They debated about what to do. They understood it was possible that he DID know about the child and chose not to be involved. However, if he had no knowledge would he want to know? How would his wife and children handle the news? They finally decided that ethically he had a responsibility to tell his cousin that this person had contacted him and to leave the decision in his hands how he wanted to proceed.
He sent him an email and forwarded the emails he had received. He never received a response. Not wanting to press things, he left it at that.
Fast forward 6 months later and these two siblings’ mother passed away (the last remaining). All of the cousins would be attending the funeral. On the way to the funeral my aunt, who is not blood related), asks my mom if she plans to talk to her cousin about the situation. My mother had shared with her the situation when it had come up 6 months earlier. My mother replied absolutely not! His mother’s funeral is not the appropriate place to discuss this matter.
Later on at the funeral my aunt brought up the topic to said cousin. My mother stood there with her mouth agape, embarrassed to have ever shared this detail with her. The cousin blew it off, acting like he didn’t really know what she was talking about. I’m sure he was mortified.
We still don’t know the result of that situation. 0215-18
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