Searching for Grandpa

Searching for Grandpa

Trying to find Grandpa As we age we begin contemplating the how and why of our reality and start to pose the inquiries that multiple occasions are beyond any good time to inquire. The people who might be able to provide an answer to those questions have passed away, leaving behind their insights into our existence. My story begins with the genetic testing company 23&Me, when I was too busy running my own business and raising my children. It was the mid year of 2013 at the Public Metropolitan Association’s public meeting in Philadelphia where I was giving health programming. I took advantage of some downtime on Friday afternoon to wander the exhibit hall and visit the various vendor booths. One intriguing seller arrangement professed to inform you regarding from whence you came, in the event that you spit into a vial. It was free and there was no line, so why not? I spit, gave my contact information, and moved on to the next pedometer-distributing vendor! I don’t remember what amount of time it required for the outcomes to be messaged to me from this organization called 23&Me, and had really disregarded the spitting. Before I let you know the outcomes you want to comprehend what I had some awareness of my family line. The most knowledgeable person was my mother, who was orphaned at the age of 18 and traced her paternal lineage back to the underground railroad. Her great-grandfather went down to fight in the Civil War from Canada, the land of freedom for passengers of the underground railroad. He then moved to Pennsylvania, where he established one of the first churches in Chester, Pennsylvania. The Swiggetts, her mother’s family, were of Delaware descent, according to the earliest information in the 1870 census. I even found a 1850 slave plan posting a 10 year old male slave beloinging to a Chief William H. Swiggett of Delaware’s New Castle. This matches with the age of my extraordinary, incredible granddad Charles Swiggett, which could conceivably be an incident. Because he was the youngest of eight siblings in his family, my father was orphaned at the age of nine and basically raised himself. As a result, I knew less about my father’s upbringing in Newport News, Virginia. I was told that his father (OK, my grandfather), who died when my father was two in a longshoreman’s accident, was so light that during segregation, he was first taken to a white funeral home before my brown cocoa grandmother came to claim the body. I was 28 percent Ashkenazi Jewish, which was completely unexpected, and the 23&ME results confirmed the expected African continent DNA information. Due to my grandfather’s light complexion, I also expected to hear mention of Irish and English. My most memorable considerations changed, maybe it was my lipstick that caused this insane outcome, or perhaps the refreshment I was drinking? In any case, I came to the conclusion that this company’s outcomes were unreliable and unlikely to last long. But 23&Me stayed, and over the next two years, it got more press. When my daughter took the test in 2016 and came back 13% Ashkenazi Jewish on her mother’s side (23&me immediately paired us as mother and daughter because it already had my DNA in its database), I finally had to accept that the results might be accurate. I then asked my brother via text, “So who is the Jew, mom or dad?” Because we knew so little about my father’s upbringing, I was betting on him dying 12 years earlier. But before I took the DNA test, I looked to my mom. These tests now carry a disclaimer that reads something along the lines of, “…the information you learn can have profound implications for both you and your family… 23andMe results can reveal new information that has the potential to shift how we think about ourselves and our families.” My mom’s 2017 outcome was absolutely surprising. She is Ashkenazi Jewish at 50.3%, so her biological father must be Jewish because she is so similar to her mother. Thus, she discovers the truth after 87 years of proudly claiming her paternal African American heritage. In any case, will it set you free? A friend of mine opposes the commercialization of DNA testing due to the loosening of a bag of worms. Do we truly have to know data that is currently unsettled? Given that my mother and her father, who raised her, were extremely close, is this information even relevant? Well for reasons unknown it kind’ve matters to me… … . Also, there’s nobody around to pose the consuming inquiries, why and how? It has been a long time since anyone who was even remotely aware of this sequence of events existed. As a result, I began looking for his bio. I compare it to searching for an extremely elusive little thing, and I was equipped for the situation. My mom and I both took the contender Ancestry.com DNA test and it affirmed 23&Me’s discoveries. We started by sending out requests to DNA relatives with more than 1% matches. In the event that you give 23&Me and Ancestry.com consent, they permit you and DNA family members to see one another. Most didn’t answer. One person who did respond advised me to use Gedmatch, a non-profit organization that uses a lot of scientific jargon to match your DNA results with those of others. None of it made sense to me. However, in late 2017 we got a hit. I was just as thrilled when I made contact with Jennifer, who is a 1.46 percent match to my mother. A relationship that continues to this day was started there. She shared information about her family and sent an image of her great-grandfather that looked like my mother. Additionally, his narrative made sense. He moved from Poland to New York City in the last part of the 1800’s and was in a miserable marriage. He made a trip a great deal to Virginia which would take him through Chester, Dad, where my grandma resided. It would make sense for him to meet my grandmother because of his unhappy marriage, but it appears that it didn’t last long because when my mother was born, her “father” truly believed he was her biological father. Also, who knows, perhaps my grandma did as well. Jennifer gave my mother and I wonderful insight into her family’s journey from Poland to New York during a meeting in the summer of 2018. She has a 90-year-old relative named Rose, living in California, who might be my mom’s most memorable cousin on the off chance that the relationship held. Rose agreed to take the 23&Me test to prove their relationship at the beginning of 2021. Frustration was putting it mildly when her outcomes returned not a match to my mom. We were back where we started, except that I realized Jennifer must be related to both my mother and me through her great-grandmother. My following stage was to join the Jewish Lineage Facebook bunch and request genealogist ideas. I can’t express how grateful I am for Steve’s response to my request to assist, even though I offered to do so. He is on top of DNA science and when I shared my data, he associated me with different family members who were ready to help. Until I received a notice from MyHeritage.com, a third, less well-known DNA service, in July 2021, it remained a needle in a haystack. The strongest relationship we had ever seen was between a young woman and my mother, who was found to be a 3 percent match, or second to third cousin. I was excited to send Steve the information because there was no way to get in touch with her. Within a day, Steve was able to provide me with information about her parents, grandparents, siblings, and extended family, as well as a phone number and the location of her home. (Inside me, I think he must be connected to the secret service.) I tried calling the number that was available, but I didn’t hear back. I gave up, depressed. However, when my detective reappeared three months later, I decided to give it a shot because I had the FaceBook information for the woman’s mother. Because Facebook Messenger is thought to be full of con artists, contacting them there almost always leads to failure. Nonetheless, I gave it a shot, citing a possible family relationship as my reason for messaging. Because I mentioned her daughter’s name in the message, the woman responded. The fun started when she introduced me to her 85-year-old aunt Ruby. When Ruby called me, she said that she was not at all surprised that my mother could be related to her because her father and grandfather were known for frequenting brothels. Excuse me? I later discovered that her dad and granddad ran numbers and were engaged with other detestable exercises in West Philadelphia, which had a significant Jewish populace in the 30’s and 40’s.