My Ancestry Jerry Lee Banister family tree has now exceeded 18,000 people, as I continue to find connections with each DNA match. It isn’t getting me any closer to a conversation with my birth mother, but it continues to support my unique relationship as her first son. She called me Jerry Lee, a name she also gave to her next son. Perhaps, she knew that I would get a different name once the adoption was finalized. I cannot not find a any evidence on my tree that it was a family name, and the most popular owner of this identity, Jerry Lee Lewis, didn’t even start recording until five years after my birth. It’s one of many mysteries that will probably never be solved without her acknowledgement of my existence. 

I’m just grateful this holiday season to be alive, as I continue to quietly support right-to-life and adoption. In my case, it’s been a blessing after 68 years of enjoying life. All I would really want to say to her is thank you, but I still have questions. Considering the times, I’m sure she had little choice in keeping me. Abortions were dangerous and illegal, not to mention murder. There are circumstances when it may be justifiable, especially when the mother’s life is in danger, but adoption is always the best option. As I think about it, so far four other lives would also not exist if I had not been born. My son, three grandchildren and their potential offspring would have been tragically lost. 

I would never have known my adoptive parents, their parents, and families. I would not know their friends, neighbors, or siblings. Instead, I would have had different brothers and sisters, grandparents, cousins, and acquaintances. These are the strangers that occupy most of my ancestral tree. It’s odd to realize that I’m researching people that I will probably never know. However, there have been a few that I’m now in touch with, trying to figure out if they are as interested in me, as I am with them?

I would still like to know how the relationship between my birth parents came about, and why it ended? It doesn’t matter to me if it was love or passion. I will make no judgments or question any decisions. I’d like them to know how I turned out, and that they should proud of what they created. I know that sounds a bit like Frankenstein, but I’m the successful product of many generations of Ban(n)isters, who descend from LaBorn (1801-1885) and beyond, once someone much smarter than me figures that out. This much we all have in common. In the meantime, the tree will continue to grow as I continue to find my place in the Ban(n)ister family, even if it’s just on paper and because we share genetic matter that none of us totally understands.