Do you have a family tree you could share?

Do you have a family tree you could share?

Do you have a tree? Hmm... well the short answer is no. And the long answer is: I’m too scared to start a tree because:

  • I don’t want to find out how Ancestry differentiates between adopted children and ‘real’ children (dotted lines? Parenthesis?)

  • I don’t want to break the website trying to fit my complicated family into their (probably) simplistic framework.

  • I don’t want to have to choose between my adoptive family and my biological family when it comes to inputting my mother or father, and I’m guessing it won’t accept two of each.

  • I’m frightened to see just how much everyday people are obsessed with their ‘blood’ going back centuries (when “it’s not thicker than water you know, it’s really not: we make our own families, etc etc”)

  • I’m worried an alarm will sound in my parents’ house if I type my birth name onto a website “traitor alert!” “Sound the ungrateful klaxon!” “Stop press: snotty-nosed foundling snubs selfless couple who ‘took her in’!”

  • I’m worried biological relatives I have never met will politely ask me to ‘untag’ myself from ‘their’ family trees, despite DNA ‘evidence’ I’m related.

  • I haven’t been given explicit permission by my birth parents to announce my existence to extended bio family and it may seem as though I’m ‘making waves’.

  • A bio relative may express interest initially then ‘ghost’ me once they discover I am a black sheep/rotten apple/etc.

However I have been helping a friend with his tree and it has felt very empowering to see his mother’s name there in black and white. There’s a cool feature where Ancestry automatically populates any known siblings, parents, grandparents etc so we literally watched his family tree grow before our very eyes - and you can’t argue with the DNA!

So I will be creating my tree soon, and I’ll keep you posted on how it feels, if any bios contact me, and whether or not I’m struck by lightning for publicly stating information that a court decided should be kept secret.

I’d love to know how you’ve navigated the world of Ancestry.

To my biological father’s wife

To my biological father’s wife

A letter to... my little sister who has been missing for a year

A letter to... my little sister who has been missing for a year