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Discovering a sibling you never knew existed - any help getting a grip on this?

Discovering a sibling you never knew existed - any help getting a grip on this?

Posted: 10 Apr 2011 4:52AM GMT
Classification: Query
Thanks to Ancestry.com, I was contacted yesterday by a man inquiring about my aunt. To make a long story short, he is a sibling to several of my cousins. My aunt kept his very existence a secret. No one knew he'd been born, and he was adopted out in secret. That was in the 1947/1948 time frame. Now, 64 years later, he inadvertently found a family & siblings he didn't know he had, and they've learned they have a brother they never knew about.

While I am overjoyed about this discovery, and my cousins are excited and getting to know each other, obviously this is an emotional minefield. The circumstances of his secret birth & adoption were less than ideal. There are a lot of feelings & thoughts to process. Does Ancestry have any articles which can be shared, or links to websites which could help guide us down this path?

My sincere prayer is that this stunning revelation will bring nothing but good things to my family.

Re: Discovering a sibling you never knew existed - any help getting a grip on this?

Posted: 10 Apr 2011 6:00AM GMT
Classification: Query
Best wishes on your sudden turn of events! I don't know whether there are such resouces available here. My own suggestion would be to speak with a family therapist - for the price of an hour or two of consultation, you could have very personalized advice that keys specifically to the details of your situation, rather than just genearities that might have little to do with your own issues. Good luck with the process of sorting through things.

Re: Discovering a sibling you never knew existed - any help getting a grip on this?

Posted: 10 Apr 2011 1:31PM GMT
Classification: Query
My husband's family discovered something similar. An uncle who was a soldier stationed in England during WWII had an affair with an English girl. He was shipped out and did not know she was pregnant. Fifty years later she finally told her 50 year old son who his father was and had a photo of my husband's uncle. Her son and his wife were asked not to do anything about that until his mother was deceased. About 6 years ago, because I had posted my husband's family history on Ancestry, I was contacted. I then passed on the e mail I had received to my husband's cousin. Since then the unknown son and his wife have been to visit his new family in the US twice and one half-brother has been to Australia to spend time with his new half brother. Because both the parents were deceased, it did not cause a big problem in the family. The remaining uncles, aunts and cousins were delighted to discover this unknown half-brother/nephew/cousin. The first time we saw him we knew he was family because he and my husband's brother looked like twins. During the second visit, he and his wife were taken to all the places his father had grown up and what could have been bad news was turned into a happy experience for my husband's large extended family because we embraced the unknown child and welcomed him into the family.

Re: Discovering a sibling you never knew existed - any help getting a grip on this?

Posted: 10 Apr 2011 2:11PM GMT
Classification: Query
That for some people is one of the dangers of genealogy. Any time you investigate anything you will find new information, some not what you expect. While I have found nothing like that in my research, I have found several marriages between cousins, and one marriage between person and his step niece.

I have been contacted by several distant cousins and met some of them. It has always been interesting to see the similarities between them and my family. (Similarities have included looks, mannerism, beliefs, occupations, things they have done, etc. )

Recently we meet a branch of my wife's family that got lost in the Civil War, her branch went south and the brother went north. It gives you a whole new prospective of the stress that the family was under at that time.

Even if you have problem, it will turn out to be a positive for both of you, and I believe you should go a head and meet the person. Regardless of the circumstances, he is part of the family.

Re: Discovering a sibling you never knew existed - any help getting a grip on this?

Posted: 10 Apr 2011 3:03PM GMT
Classification: Query
I discovered that I had an half-uncle that no-one in the family knew existed. My grandmother had a baby that was raised by his grandparents as their own and because there was only 3 years between him and his aunt none of us, the later generations, ever suspected. My grandmother married and moved to the other side of the continent and whether she ever kept in touch we'll never know.
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