“Even when it isn’t possible, or desirable to contact family members directly, it can still be highly rewarding to study history, lifestyles, social influences, cultural customs, and language, and learn about the geographic places from which your ancestors originated.” Judith Land
Ancestors are much more than a name. Adoptees should be favorably encouraged by the growing popularity of DNA testing and rapidly expanding ancestry computer data bases as reliable sources of educational enlightenment and entertainment. Adoptees curious to learn about family genetics, medical history, cultural and social customs, language, country of origin, and significant historical events influencing the lives of previous generations, get ready for some excitement.
Alex Haley grew up hearing stories from his grandmother about the family history. He wrote the novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18th century African captured in Gambia, sold into slavery, and transported to North America. The story traces the life of Kunta and his descendants down to himself. The novel, combined with its hugely popular television adaptation Roots led to a cultural sensation in the United States. Haley earned a Pulitzer Prize and many awards, including nine Emmys and a Peabody. Roots is a work of the imagination rather than strict historical scholarship but it was an important event because it captured everyone’s imagination.
Thanks to DNA testing I have learned much more about my family background than I ever anticipated. Thanks to the internet, my appreciation of other cultures and knowledge of other regions of the world where many of my relatives originated from, has been significantly increased.
Don’t be discouraged by rumors and innuendo. Discovering the parts of the world where your ancestors came from can be highly exhilarating, illuminating, and compelling.