Simply 6 Minutes: Long-Lost Relatives

I feel badly that I haven’t been here for a while. So many bloggy things going, you know how it is…

Anyway, you no doubt recognize the orangutan in the picture above. Many of you already know this, but the word "orangutan" means "man of the forest," which is also the meaning of the name Holton. So, I feel a particular kinship with them. Time hasn’t been especially kind to them: they’re now only found in Borneo and Sumatra, and they’re now a critically-endangered species.

On and off over the last several years, I’ve been trying to trace my genealogy, and one of the things I did was to have my DNA examined. Both Ancestry and 23 and Me will check your DNA and tell you approximately where your ancestors are from, which changes as they see more and more DNA samples. Another thing that 23 and Me does is to try and indicate if there’s anyone else in their database that might be a relative.

About a year ago, I was matched to a woman I had never met who they said was a first or second cousin. Most of the time the match is not that close, and I won’t try too hard to follow up, but this was a little too close to ignore. Turns out that she’s my paternal grandmother’s niece: her father was my grandmother’s brother. And I had never met her, even though she lived in the same neighborhood only a couple of blocks away. She knew more about me than I knew about her. I kind of lost touch with her. I think I’ll try and contact her again…

Christine Bialczak runs Simply 6 Minutes.

18 thoughts on “Simply 6 Minutes: Long-Lost Relatives

  1. I find this extremely fascinating. I love ancestry and learning about the history. I love the show, “Finding Your Roots” and wish I could get mine done…oh well. That is interesting how close they lived near you but you had no idea. There could have been a bad disagreement between the parents maybe?? No one talks about that stuff. I have that crap in my family and I don’t associate with my first cousins…with very good reasons. Anyhoo, I have my mom’s ancestry but not much about my dad. My grandfather was born in 1874 and my grandmom in 1878 who died in 1919 after childbirth. My dad said we were related to Gene Krupa and Librerace but, I have no clue. We need to save the beautiful orangutan.


    1. Mom called it “Kate’s Cloak and Dagger,” meaning my grandmother had a tendency to keep everyone separated, for whatever reason. Really kind of a shame…


  2. A few years ago I found a huge side of my family that I didn’t know about. My mother had always been the one who kept the relatives all together. She passed away when I was 23 and didn’t really know who all my relatives were. I found my cousin who I am now really close to because he has the same name as my brother and when my brother was getting out of jail I sent him a random message letting him know. It was just a shot in the dark type of thing but we have been corresponding ever since and I am close with him. Thanks for participating! I have been quite inactive since I have been busy with my dad but I should be back full swing shortly!


    1. It’s amazing who you find when you dig deep enough. I found a link to my grandmother’s oldest sister, who died long before I was born. Apparently her widowed husband remarried and I contacted one of his kids, who was able to tell me about my great-aunt, because her father talked about her. I got a picture of her, and she looks just like Grandma. Not much I can do about the relatives who died before I was born, but it would have been nice to know more of the people I could meet….

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    1. The thing that still puzzles me, though, is why, if they lived about 3 blocks away from us, didn’t we ever meet them? I know they knew about us, becaue my cousin was able to tell me things about my youngest brother that you wouldn’t think she’d know. Mom and Grandma were extremely close, even after Dad died and Mom remarried, so I’m assuming Grandma told the cousin. It’s really strange. Mom used to call it “Grandma’s cloak and dagger,” where you’d get everything second-hand through her…

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