Veterans Day: Birth family thoughts

On Veterans Day I tend to write something about my bio and adoptive cousins who fought and sometimes died in World War I. This year I don’t have any new information on them and don’t want to re-write what I already published.

This got me thinking further into my bio family past and the dozens of men (don’t see any women) who served in the Continental and the later US military.

As an adoptee knowing who I am related to is supposed to upset somebody’s applecart. It’s considered perfectly normal for the Not Adopted to research family history, but when adopted people delve into their own pasts they are considered by much of the public to be ungrateful, intrusive, snoopy. Be happy you weren’t aborted. It can get worse. This NAAM I have seen a couple of instances of ADOPTIVE PARENTS telling adult adoptees who publically speak truth about their own adoption experiences to go kill themselves. Seriously!

Of course, this whoohaa is silly; even dangerous, It’s a product of the ever-popular myth of the American Family. The Family Romance myth. The only thing worse than the Bio Family Romance is the Adoptive Family Romance which unlike its bio “opposite” is not built on bedroom accidents but on  God ‘s accidents of putting babies in the wrong tummies.

I have mixed feelings about family. I certainly understand the desire to belong to one, but the typical family, bio or adoptive, is just so bougie and well–frankly– boring.– built on a foundation of straw,  Not for me. I was born an ex-pat. Being tied to people by biology or law doesn’t fit me. Yet, family does mean something.

As an adoptee, I desperately wanted to know about my family of origin but was not keen on re-joining them.  I became quite adequate in snooping through desks, dressers. and closets all to no avail. Many years later it appears that all I had to do was ask and I would have been given what little information my adoptive parents possessed, but what is the fun in that?

I got my OBC in 1980 and finally was able to begin my quest for information. Not until 2000 , though. was I able to ID my bio dad. Jack Reese.  Since then I’ve gone from being related to no one and have accumulated literally a couple thousand bio ancestors/relatives.

So what does this have to do with Veteran’s Day?

Not until about five years ago did I really start digging into family history beyond three generations. Since then I’ve found in the records of the Sons of the American Revolution at least a dozen xxgreat grandparents  and collateral relatives from New England to North Carolina who fought in the American Revolution.  A few more came over with the Germans and stayed. .At least one was at Yorktown.  Another served on the USS Hector, a privateer and was captured in 1781 and spent the next year on a prison ship in London.  A couple more family members fought the War of 1812, Another dozen or more fought in the CIvil War on both sides. One was killed at Gettysburg and there is a Facebook page about his/our family. The earliest family record I have indicates that at least three lines landed in Massachusetts around 1632 and moved on to found Hartford, Norwalk, and Saybrook. One of my xxgreat uncle’s by marriage fought in the Pequot War on the side of the Mohegans and was included in Sachem Uncas; will.

More men than I can count serve in World War I and 2. Jack joined the US Army right after his 18th birthday  and the war had jut ended. He served in the Philippines, Shanghai but mostly Nanjing ,China, He was an aid to General Marshall among other duties, drank High Tea with Madame Chang kai-chek and met Mao and Chou en-lai a couple of times. He loved China and wanted to take me there but it never happened,

Jack Jennings Reese, 1927-2010


Jack’s Memorial Service,Western Reserve Memorial Cemetery, Medina County, Ohio, July 11, 2011

Working on family history no matter my conflicted beliefs of family gives context. All of those people I was never supposed to know. Those ancestors who were none of my business. I guess I really disrupted the!. The family members I have actually met are great and I certainly don’t regret finding them. I like being related.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *