For the last year, I have been obsessed with genealogy:
- I have watched every episode of the TLC show “Who Do You Think You Are?”
- I have finally invested in an Ancestry.com membership.
- I have purchased numerous birth, marriage, and death certificates that revealed more information about my ancestors than I previously knew.
- And I even did an AncestryDNA kit with my mother this past Christmas.
I love genealogy. And over the course of 2013, I grew an avid appreciation for it as it is the very thing that got us all to where we are at now. Oftentimes, when I was researching my family tree, I found myself reflecting on the thought that a lot of things had to go “right” and/or “wrong” for us all to even exist. It is exactly that thought that not only makes me appreciate genealogy, but life in general.
I love my life and I strongly believe that knowing where you come from should play an important role in your life. It is for that reason that I have pressed on a little deeper than just researching my own family tree. Eventually, I want to become established in the field. So, I have ended up exploring many genealogy blogs and thus far I have been very impressed by the level of proficiency that others seem to possess (i.e., writing their own research tips, publishing family history books, and aiding amateurs like myself).
It is to this degree of proficiency that I hope I can one day reach, which is why I have decided to participate in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge.
A little late to the party I know, but what better way to hone my genealogy skills than to write about my ancestors for all of 2014?
With that said, I must disclose in this introduction that I will not be doing this alone. Instead, I will be collaborating with my girlfriend of 6 years because I’m positive that I have not even reached the 52-Ancestor mark in my tree as of yet. Not to mention, being the genealogy enthusiast that I am, I have done the bulk of the research in her family tree and that’s okay because we have every intention to one day unite both our family trees.
So, between the two of us, we will certainly reach the 52-Ancestor mark, particularly because her tree is much more “known” than mine.
Some of you might be asking, “How is it possible that you don’t at least have 52 ancestors in your tree?”
Unlike many other people, I come from a fairly unique situation. I really only know the ancestors on my father’s side and none of them have deep American roots therefore researching them has proven to be more difficult than I would have preferred. On my mother’s side, I know absolutely nothing. So, for my first ancestor, I give you my mother.
My mother is Annmary Esposito. She was born on May 9, 1966 in Massapequa, New York and was adopted by my amazing grandparents Ralph Peter Esposito and Antoinette Rende, both who passed away when I was in middle school. Although they were not related to me by blood, they gave me all the experiences that a grandson could have hoped to experience with their grandparents and I will always remember them as such. They were two very amazing people and I know my mother was more than grateful to have been raised by such outstanding parents.
My mother though has no idea who her biological parents are and New York State has sealed the record. In addition, my grandparents didn’t really like to talk about it and over the years my mother has heard a couple of conflicting stories regarding the heritage of her biological parents. On the handful of occasions that she did get to talk about it with her parents, she was told that her biological mother was a teenager at the time of her birth of English descent and the father was a “foreigner” of Greek descent. However, about 5 years ago my Grandfather’s younger brother told my mother that her biological mother was of Swedish descent. So, we are both hoping that the DNA results will shed some light on these accounts to see if there is any truth behind any of them.
Although Italian at heart, my mother knew deep down that she could be anything, which is why we are very much looking forward to our AncestryDNA results. I know my mother would like to know at the very least her heritage and through our many conversations I know that she would be open to meeting either of her biological parents. After all, there is a good possibility that one if not both of them could still be alive today. Perhaps, one of them has even done the AncestryDNA test as well. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
In the meantime though, my mother works full-time as a Senior Data Analyst for the Data Quality and Database Marketing Solutions company DataMentors and works overtime as a full-time mother for my sister Ashley, who happens to be 17 years younger than me. She enjoys cooking, working out with her HEAT High Energy Athletic Training group, watching Lifetime Channel movies, and of course being a mother.
My mother is 50% of who I am and no matter what we find out I am proud to always know that my descendants will know exactly who my mother is – And that is an amazing, dedicated, hard-working mother who loves her kids with all of her heart.