JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Cold-Calling a Distant Relative Who Doesn't Know the Family Was Jewish #general


MERYL RIZZOTTI
 

Another thing to keep in mind is that sometimes children who are adopted are not
told that they were adopted. I have a relative who adopted two children and never
told them they were adopted. The son suddenly passed away in his forties >from a
heart attack. However, his younger sister suspected she was adopted and became
concerned that she would suffer the same unfortunate fate but was afraid/reluctant
to ask her mother. It was an open secret but no one talked about it and many years
later, as an adult, I was warned by another cousin, closer in age to the adoptive
mother, that anyone who brought the subject of adoption up to that relative would
be cut out of her life. About a year or so ago the cousin called me asked me if
she was adopted. She had found her brother's original birth certificate in her
father's belongings after he (the father) passed away (her parents had divorced)
but there were no records for her. The adoptive brother's birth parents had no
Jewish ancestry. After some hemming and hawing and without admitting that I knew
I claimed that I couldn't say for sure but offered to help her try to find the
information as she has health issues and felt she should know the truth. I
suggested she take a DNA test and I researched all baby girls born on her
birthday in LA. I found 3 matches. One was her adoptive name, The adoptive mother
had told her that originally she was going to name her a name that had an unusual
spelling but the grandfather was not pleased with that name so she gave her a
different name. One of the other record matches was that unusual first name. Her
birth mother had given her a first name and an initial. The third record was a
different record number. I then found a woman with the surname on that birth
record and there was also a family tree on Ancestry. Unfortunately, the owner of
the tree did not want to confront the woman we suspected was her birth mother
even though I pointed out the birth mother had named her and most likely she
might want to reconnect to the baby she gave up for adoption. The DNA test did
not provide any answers and the owner of the tree claimed that she was not a
DNA match to a known child of that possible birth mother and thus refused to
approach the woman we suspected was her birth mother nor give us the name of the
child she had later given birth to. The woman we had suspected to be the birth
mother was not Jewish and my cousin's DNA test indicated she was not as Jewish
as she thought she was. Obviously, her birth father was Jewish. I now feel that
the reason the owner of the tree did not want to help with the connection was
due to the fact that my cousin was raised Jewish and has a very strong Jewish
identity. The potential birth mother had subsequently married a couple of times
but not to Jewish men. I feel the owner of the tree was not comfortable with the
possibility that there might be a Jew in the family tree. So, at this point it
is doubtful that she will ever know who her birth parents were which is very sad.

Meryl Rizzotti
Los Angeles,Ca

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