Oct 23, 2018
by Chuck Ramsey, Russian River Alliance
What if you were able to have two sets of families? I have had the most incredible experience recently. I was adopted at birth in NYC and I’m 61 years old. A family friend told me when I was a teenager that all she knew was that a young teenager from a well-to-do family became pregnant and her name was Edith Costello. She had to give me up for adoption. I had great adoptive parents and was loved and well provided for. My adoptive parents are now deceased. I always wanted to know who my biological parents were. All I had to go on was a very common name, Costello, either Irish or Italian, in NYC. A needle in a haystack.
It came back with some cousins and we have been connecting mostly via email and Facebook. Can you imagine strangers who are now related to you asking you, do you mind if I send you aFacebook friend request? I don’t know about you, but my Facebook page is more personally revealing than my DNA is.
heir family lives in Cape Cod with some relatives in PA and FL. They are liberal and welcomed me to the family. DNA testing is somewhat infectious, so they all took tests, and got the old folks to take tests too. A hit came back as a half-sister. I then was warned about “that” side of the family being too good to have fun and associate with the rest of the family, being strong Trump supporters, being anti-gay, etc. OMG. I heard my half-sister might be OK with my being gay, but she was sure her brothers wouldn’t be and didn’t think her mother would be either. She was also questioning the DNA results. With millions of people taking the tests what was the likelihood of her having a liberal Democrat gay half-brother living in CA of all places?
She broke the news to her mother while crying. Her mother stopped her and said, “I’m sure I already know who his mother is, Edie Costello”. My father was dating both and she gave him an ultimatum, it’s me or Edie. I presume that was the end of questioning the science of DNA. Her mother also told her she didn’t care if I was gay. What bothered her was that I didn’t know my family for all these years. She was also sure my dad didn’t know about me or he would have done the right thing being the man he was.
She wanted my mailing address to send me a note along with family photographs. Apparently, some of my half-brothers also said they don’t have an issue with it either, although the vote is still out on one. I, of course, am thinking, this is a voting matter? My half-sister messaged me a long note, and then a few days later I called her. We talked for over an hour. She and her husband are retired military. She serves on the Republican committee in her county. She has never had gay friends or relatives. I really appreciated her openness. She said it is something she is going to have to work through and isn’t my problem. She and the rest of the family want to meet me in person. The worst part of the story is that my biological dad died so recently, only in April.
Still I had no luck finding Edie.I kept researching. I researched my father. He went to Colby College in Maine. This is where Ancestry starts getting amazing. Ancestry started with the LDS Church but is no longer owned by them. It imports records instantly that you have no idea are out there. Birth, death, marriage, ship registries, military service, government civil service jobs, etc. His yearbook came up. I’m thinking, people do hitch up in college, don’t they? I put his name in and it instantly took me to the pages where he was mentioned such as his photograph on the freshman basketball team. I then put in Edie Costello. Bingo, after 61 years! I then googled her and searched her on Ancestry. I got to read about her in her high school newspaper.
She grew up in Long Island. She died a few years ago. She was a career officer with the CIA in DC. She was married only two years, then lived with a guy for 43 years. He was an official high up with the Air Force in DC and also recently died. Reading her obituary at 2:30am, I read that as she was childless, she left a million dollars to St Lawrence University in NY where her parents attended.
What? Edie say it ain’t so! Anyway, impressive for a woman in the 1950s. But of course, her biggest contribution to society was, and continues to be…. sorry. Ancestry is amazing. I found a relative born in 1779 in Peekskill NY where I attended middle and high schools. I also had a relative that died of starvation in captivity in the French/Indian War. I didn’t know there was such a war. I have relatives that lived in New England well before the Revolutionary War. I have one relative, my 8th great granddad, that died in 1677. He was a minister to the Indians, one of the assistants who translated the Bible into the native Indian language.
Thanks also to the miracle of ancestry.com I was instantly reading his last Will and Testament which clearly spells out "my will is to Give Andrew Dewin my Eldest son and to his heiress for Ever (yes that is capitalized!) all my houses and lands" The Will lists everything, and I mean everything, from each article of clothing to pots, pans, and "wheat, Rye, hey, cowbells". "The tax records charged against him over various years show from which it is evident he was in comfortable circumstances." I see a pilgrimage to Boston in my future and when I come to reclaim what is rightfully mine, they will think their little tea party was a skate in the park!
I added my spouse Patrick to my family tree. In the name of convenience, it pre-populates "Female". You then get to enter First, Middle, and Maiden names! I was able to change it to Male, but I still only got to enter Patrick's Maiden name!
Seriously though, technology has come such a long way. Information is instantly populated for you. I’m learning history I never knew anything about. Next time a doctor asks me, does this disease run in your family, I can answer no, my dad wasn’t sick a day in his life, and he lived to 87 years old.
Have you had any relatives that have worked for the Federal government? Well, yes, actually I have.
Ballots will be mailed out in early November with a caucus andballots due on November 17th. The winning representative for Monte Rio will be announced November 21st. Let’s just say if you are looking for representation that has intelligence, a fighting spirit, perseverance, along with a smidgen of modesty and humility, it’s all in the genes. I would be honored to serve you and appreciate your vote.
Let’s hope for great results in all elections this month. From sea to shining sea. From the NY island to the Redwood forest.
Vote, and then get your DNA tested and find out your family ancestry. When Irish eyes are smiling all the world seems bright…
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