I’ve often heard it said that the dangerous thing about researching your family history is that you might not like what you find out!
As many of you know, I’ve got a bit of a convoluted background – having been adopted by my maternal grandparents. So I do know a lot of the family history on that side, and it is a mixed bag of some rather odd characters, along with an amazing history that traces back to the very founders of the Protestant Reformation.
However, I never met my biological father (who passed away in 1979), even though he lived very near to where I was for the first 22 years of my life. About 1977, I called him on the phone one day and asked to meet, but he said he did not want to. And that was my only conversation ever with him … took about 3 minutes. Though he was a leading personality in the community, I guess he had a boatload of personal problems and ghosts.
I have many times in the pursuit of my Civil War research and writing dug up original source material on various people, so I put some sleuthing skills to work recently on tracing my biological past. I’ve only made it back to 1855 and have already hit a dead end – not able to explain why my great-grandfather in 1860 was a five-year old who was living with people of a different last name.
It is all very weird to not know your father or where you’ve come from. Maybe that is why the concept of a “spiritual, heavenly family” means much to me and is such a part of my dialogue about the church family. We are related through our father God and our brother Christ – who has paid the price that we may be adopted into the Family – that organic body of faith which we get to begin to experience on earth, and will experience perfectly in the beyond. God does not hang up on our calls to him!
Concerning our adoption into God’s family, it says in Romans 8:14,15: “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’”
Anyhow, in my research I found the following picture from a 1934 yearbook. See if any of you can ID which one is my natural father (I’ll give the answer under the picture). Haha – it sure is a happy looking group isn’t it? It is a picture of the local chapter of the “Thesbian Society.” My father was very involved in musical theatre over his whole life, and was often the leading actor in productions. The organization was very similar to our local Potomac Playmakers. If my mother had lived to see me play “Herr Victor Schwab” or one of my other Christmas Show roles, I know what she would have been thinking about my heritage.
OK… he is the guy in the front row. For this school year, he was the president of the society or the leading person or some such thing – I forget what the caption said. This was in a school in Easton, PA called Wilson High School.