Thursday, January 26, 2017

I Finally Found My Father's Family - Thanks To A DNA Test

Years ago, after a family spat that spanned a couple of states, my grandmother finally got fed up and showed me the photo above. She wanted me to know the truth, which is ironic as it was meant to in part get back at someone who was bad mouthing her and her husband. Mom had passed away by the time I was shown this photo, but as soon as grandma showed it to me I said, "That's my father, isn't it?" She filled me in on the story, and the whole time I was feeling such a sense of relief. That may sound strange regarding just finding out that the man you grew up thinking was your father, wasn't. For me though it answered a lot of questions about how I was treated growing up. 

 Even as a child I had a sense that something wasn't quite right. I always thought it was because I was chubby, and plain, not something you could accuse my two adorable sisters of. There were some obvious times that one person in particular was especially cruel, and I didn't understand that. There were also times I thought I was adopted, especially since I didn't look anything like the parents I was with, or my siblings. Here's this chubby frizzy headed white girl, with two darker and beautiful parents, along with everyone else in the family who were all good looking and trim. It was frustrating at times to figure out where I fit in. Was it because I was fat and homely, or what? Families should never keep secrets, but that's another topic for another time.
So I've looked for my father over the years off and on, but with little to go on it was like searching for a needle in a haystack. I had what I though was his name, but that brought up nothing either although my first internet search for him gave me 54 men with the same name. Who knew there were that many French men in the US named Maurice?!  Fast forward to 2016, when I got a DNA test done through Talk about intriguing! Not only did I discover that I had nationalities in my genetic makeup I wasn't aware of, I all of a sudden had cousins everywhere, well okay, mostly down south, but there are quite a few! And most of them have French surnames, wow!

I contacted one person because she was at the top of my list of DNA matches, which is one of the great aspects of getting your DNA test done through They have the biggest data bank around, and so many people utilize their services that it's the best source I've found for genealogy resources. Couple that with their partnership with the LDS church, and Family Search, and I can search for free. They connect you with anyone who has had a DNA test done through them, and you get a ranking regarding relationship. Some people don't have family trees there, but you can see the surnames you all have in common, that's so cool!

So this person contacts me off and on, and then another member of her family asks for a photo of my father. The next thing you know she is sending me photos, and I'm sitting there crying like a baby, looking at photos of my father and some of his family. She then contacted the son that she knew, and sent him the photo above and he verified that it was his dad, and the rest of the family story regarding siblings. I was up until midnight last night crying and rejoicing and worrying.

 Meet Elmo Anthony Prejean, my father, who has passed on now, but left behind a good wife and three children by that union, as well as three children by a previous marriage. I'm tearing up again thinking about all of this. I frankly thought this day would probably never come. I now have six more siblings, all younger than me, and I was able to talk to one of them today. He is such a nice person, honest and open, and I look forward to getting to know him and his family better. I'm sorry I missed my father, but the good Lord knows what we need, and what's best. I will see him on the other side, and we can get to know each other there.

I'm still a bit befuddled, not quite sure what to say from here except wow! I have a whole new family to get to know, and learn about. My children have another grandparent to learn about. We have Cajun roots, which is awesome, and there's a lot more to learn. Oh the tender mercies of God, and the blessings of believing! I'm grateful for the services offers and encourage everyone to start building their tree, who knows what fruit that will bear!

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