Thursday, June 24, 2021

Nurture vs Nature

... or something like that is the phrase in which people debate whether we are who we are because of what we inherit in our blood or due to how we are raised. I think most people either lean towards nurture or favor it exclusively. My self I don't know and can't decide which but researching my natural line vs the adopted one certainly gives nature more strength than ever.

I need to back up a little to explain that. Back around 1972 or 1973, my grandfather sent me (and both of my sisters) a copy of his family tree that his father had worked on, mostly in the earlier years of the 20th century. There were some gaps and unfinished sections and I innocently started trying to fill it all in and thus began a decades long obsession with genealogy some of which I blogged about for a while at genmusings.

The tree was the lines for Arthur S. Adams, possibly begun when he was born in 1896. The photo above was taken about 1950 in Durham New Hampshire. Left to right. Arthur S Adams, my father, Dorothy Anderson Adams, my great-uncle George Stanton Adams, Grace Newhall Adams and Charles Stanton Adams (Arthur's parents) in the back row and the three little girls are my sister Carol on the left, myself in the middle, and my sister Dory on the right. 

I soon added work on my grandmother Dorothy Frances Anderson's lines and when opportunity arose worked on my mother's lines: grandmother Lois Dorothy Kellogg (shown to the right as a bride) and grandfather Edward Howard Hutchison Roth. Lois and EHHR married in 1930, had three children, and divorced in 1929. Lois got custody of the younger two: my mother and her baby brother Howard Kellogg Roth, known to me as my Uncle Kell. EHHR got custody of the oldest child, Edward aka my Uncle Ted.

There were errors I ended up correcting in a little of the tree I'd been sent and much learned about both sides of the family but through it all I wondered ... my father was adopted by Arthur and Dorothy, something we had always known ... actually pretty much grown up with. What might I find there? Off and on over the years I tried breaking through the adoption wall but my father died in 1974 and without him to give permission possibilities to find out more about his adoption were closed.

Then in 2013 into early 2014 I broke through that wall! At some point rules had changed or regulations had eased. I'm not sure what changed but I was finally allowed access to his original birth certificate which revealed his name at birth, Claude Dewey Crippen Jr, and the names of his birth parents: Claude Dewey Crippen (left) and Wilma Haggerty (right). Additional research indicates Claude Dewey never knew he had a son. 

Wilma had been married once and had a daughter, Lee from that marriage and later, after my father's birth, had another daughter, Christie. Both of these daughters had children and Wilma's mother Edith although she divorced Edward Haggerty in 1903 after only two years of marriage, married again in 1913 to Claude's much older brother Samuel. Samuel's granddaughter has written a book about him and his family with Edith: Sam's Own Words.

 My entire life I felt as though I didn't quite fit. This didn't change as I learned about the Adams/Anderson and the Kellogg/Roth lines. My sisters both seemed to fit, I felt out on my own by myself. How much was just imagination and such from a young girl and how much reality I have no idea, nothing was overt and I think it was unintentional. But then I researched my father's natural family and it was like I came home!

In  case you are wondering, dna results confirmed the parentage. The only possible doubt is if the father was one of Claude Sr's brothers, both older than he was but they are unlikely possibilities. A more subjective confirmation is comparing the photos of Claude and of my father shown with me at the left. The photo of Claude is from about 1945 when he would have been in his late forties. The photo of me and my dad is from about 1950 when he would have been about 27 so allow for the age difference. What is fascinating here is that both Claude and my father were marines in World War II, Claude served as a guard at the Naval prison in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, while my dad was in the Pacific.

There are multiple parallels in their lives and in mine for which there is neither the space here nor the possibility of upsetting some current family members but these things also confirm the relationships. There is some more about it in a much earlier blog, Family Matters, which tells some of the search and the results when I met some cousins on these lines with whom I immediately felt like I belonged, a feeling missing from much of my life.

They do say that the oldest child takes after the father's side, the second child after the mother's side and the third child after both. Whether this is generally true or not I have no clue but I have to admit that it seems quite correct with myself and my sisters!