Rats Ass and a Family Tree

Human
beings look separate because you see them walking about separately. But
then we are so made that we can see only the present moment. If we
could see the past, then of course it would look different. For there
was a time when every man was part of his mother, and (earlier still)
part of his father as well, and when they were part of his
grandparents. If you could see humanity spread out in time, as God sees
it, it would look like one single growing thing–rather like a very
complicated tree. Every individual would appear connected with every
other.

– C. S. Lewis

One of my cousins has gotten into ancestry and has traced my mothers side of the family back to the 1600's in Ireland and Scotland. It is interesting and amusing to review cuz I am, well, kinda into that stuff. It will get even more interesting soon.

She has given me and my siblings edit access to add ourselves and our families.

You know where this is going right?

My daughter.

Of course I am going to list her there. She is my child. She is, to me, my family. I realize she says otherwise and members of my own family may say otherwise but there is no refuting it – legally or morally – in my opinion. She is my child.

I will eventually add her and my sons and such to my our family tree. For now, I am stuck on one point.

How do I list my daughter? Do I put her original name? Her amended name? Do I not put a name and just put daughter? How does ancestry handle adoption? What is appropriate from her perspective?

I expect some sort of commentary from the family (that has never ever openly discussed my daughter with me) when they see her listed there. Even if they comment to me, I am quite sure they will gossip behind my back.

You know what?

I don't give a rats ass.

She can deny me. They can deny her.

I will not play that game.

15 Thoughts.

  1. i listed my daughter by her adopted name and noted that she was adopted by A____ & R_____ R______ . then continued with the family tree listing her marriage and her children. my reason for using the adopted name is that in the future anyone else researching would find more references to that name. besides which, it is the only name she has ever known and will always identify with that name.
    there were also other adoptions in my family that were noted . . . one was a kinship (read that as kidnap) adoption, another was adopted from outside our family. and since i was the one doing all the editing after my aunt compiled everything . . . screw ’em if they can’t take the truth. (the kinship/kidnap adoptee was very glad that the truth was there.)
    in your case, you could list her given name, and make a note about her adoption and subsequent name change. and let the chips fall where they may. DNA don’t lie! she’s your daughter, from conception onward.
    adoption complicates everything . . . and to think it was supposed to “solve problems” rather than create them.

  2. Good for you. Screw what other people think. I think you should list your daughter in whatever way you feel the most comfortable with. She is your offspring, bottom line.
    I did this also with the online ancestry tree – using my biological parents. Even though bdad rejected me, I was able to obtain grandparents names, etc. I’ve taken it all the way back to the Plymouth Rock. I bet I know more about the family than any of them do.
    It is an obsession.

  3. almost all family tree software does a shitty job of handling how to list an adopted person with both of their families… Ancestry software isn’t really any better…
    I made myself a twin on the genogram software on my program. Then it allowed me to put one twin connected to one family and the other connected to the other family. I used both names… this whole deal frustrates me to no end.

  4. A family tree is just that, a tree that shows you who was born to whom, not who was raised by whom, your daughter is your daughter, she is raised by others yes, but still only because you gave birth to her. Include her on your tree the way you see fit, whether it is with the name you gave her or the name others did is your choice, regardless she was your daughter when she was born, she is your daughter now and will be forever more. Whether she accepts that or not does not change the facts or the tree.
    Be Well,
    Denise

  5. I love the quotation at the top. Good for you, put your adopted child on there! You gave birth to her, you created her, you cannot deny what C.S. Lewis has made obvious, it is Divinity’s view of the world that makes this so.
    good luck with it x

  6. Good on you for not giving a rats ass.
    not long before I contacted my bfamily for the first time, a distant relative was creating a family tree there too. As my bmother listed my sister as her youngest and my brother as her oldest, my brother was the one to say “I am NOT the oldest. Natalie is”- so K had to explain. Not sure if I ended up on the tree or not.
    Love to you xo.

  7. I think your attitude and your actions are dead on correct.
    When my daughter was orn and I filled out the long form birth certificate there was a place to enter how many children had been born to this mother – it made me feel good to write 2 and take back a little of the obliteration.

  8. Think about the challenge on the other side. For me to leave my adopted daughters off my own family tree would be absurd. Likewise they would be rightly recorded on the family tree in their original family. Although, realistically the alcohol, abuse and poverty in that Russian family means that there’s probably no time or attention to give to such an esoteric matter.
    That said, a family tree can record more than just the movement if generic material. I think it should contain all the cutting and grafting that is part of life. If any researcher has ever been frustrated with trying to sort out inaccurate or revisionistic records from centuries past, then she should resolve not to do the same today.
    Suz, your daughter belongs on two family trees, with clear marginal notes.

  9. I suggest you add her with the name you gave her at birth AND her adoptive name — both belong to her, and that way her descendents can trace her more easily from both her birth and adoptive lineages. Even if she never chooses to acknowledge her biological origins, her children or other relatives may appreciate your efforts now to keep her maternal geneology record intact.
    Are you in close enough contact with her father to suggest he do the same, if he maintains a geneology record? Would you both feel comfortable linking your lineage maps together through her in order to facilitate info transmission for other generations? This branch of the story starts with you three, but it’s not likely to end there. 🙂

  10. Suz,
    I would have loved it if my nmother put my name on any family tree. She didn’t until 9 months ago and we have known each other for almost 19 years. Now if you would have asked this question 19 years ago, I would have said “No way! I would not want my name on my nmother’s family tree. I don’t belong to that family.” But now, I like being on the tree. Of course, I am upset that my name was not on the tree all these years, but that is another story even though I didn’t want to be on it years ago.
    For her name, I would prefer my nmother to put my name now. Your daughter’s adopted name is her name. That is what she knows. She does not know the name you gave her and will probably never accept that name because it is not her name.
    If you put her name that you gave her, it almost says that the baby that you gave up is on the tree but she is not. It also says that you are throwing “adoption” in her face by using the name you gave her instead of the name she uses now. Most adoptees, if not all, do not care to be constantly reminded that we were adopted.
    So my opinion, put her on the family tree with her current name that she uses.

  11. TRT – I agree with you on the name thing. In fact, when I bought my daughter a monogrammed gift I used her amended name and she later expressed appreciation to me for doing that.My concern is that I dont have the “right” to use her amended name and that would upset her. She doesnt want to be known as associated with us/me and by listing her amended name I make that association. Guh. I dont know what to do.
    I hate adoption.

  12. suz . . . she’s your daughter, the name she associates with herself is her amended name. you have every “right” to refer to your daughter by name. geez, you gave birth to her . . . it seems to me that gives you the “right” to call her by name.
    look at it this way . . . any other mother who is alienated from their child, for whatever reason, would still refer to their child by name.
    if any raised daughter gets married and changes her name, the parents would then refer to their daughter by her “amended” name.
    another thought on birth name vs. amended name. . . her birth name is who she would have been had you raised her, her amended name is who she is due to actual circumstances.
    KWIM?

  13. Didda – I am in agreement that I should use her amended. Where I struggle is doing so at all. I want to list her but fear that will upset her.
    To another point, my belief, no matter what she is called, she is both my daughter that would have/could have/should have been and the woman she is. She is both nature and nurture (again my opinion. She might feel otherwise). She is my daughter just as much as she is the daughter of those who raised her.
    A rose by any other name….
    : /

  14. for years you were forced/coerced/whatever to deny your daughter. you were robbed of the normal mother – daughter relationship. i thought you had gotten past that and declared “GAME OVER!”
    you wouldn’t think of excluding your sons from the family tree even if they begged and pleaded to be excluded. why should you treat your daughter differently? she IS your daughter. whether you raised her or not. if i were to try to put myself in her shoes and discovered that i was excluded from your family tree, i would probably see it as rejection, even if i had asked you to deny me, it would still hurt to be excluded.
    about the name thing . . . i have been in reunion with my daughter for 7 years. she is not the same person she would have been had i raised her. she is herself, and her “nature” is a lot like mine. (much more than my raised daughter) but the “nurturing” she received from her aparents has influenced her in some ways that make her a different person than who she would have been had i raised her myself. just like i would have been a different person if i had not lost my father when i was 10 years old. KWIM? circumstances in our lives mold us and change us.
    and you are right . . a rose by any other name . . . but some roses are nurtured and some are let grow wild . . . and the care they receive makes a difference.

  15. I learned of an ancestory/decendants book my adopted familys’ extended family had put together when I was 18. I was not listed as their child. I hate ancestory/decendant things. My mom told me a little bit after I meet her and showed me an ancestory/decendants chart my younger sister had made in 3rd or 4th grade. Now I wonder what to go with when I do these projects with my kids. I know more about my adoptive family and seems my mom has forgotten us these past 3 years.

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