A family researching the 1940 United States Census has discovered that the daughter they adopted in 2003 is already a part of their family tree.
In August 2003 Steve and Janine Hamilton adopted 11 year-old Sarah, who was born in Texas, from the foster care system in Kansas City where she had been since the age of 8, and gave her a home with their 3 biological children. The family then moved to Rapid City, South Dakota, a couple of months later, giving all of them a fresh start.
Steve and Janine immediately felt deeply connected to their new daughter, but had no clue at the time that she could actually be related to them. It wasn’t until the April 2012 release of the 1940 United States Census that a family member started to research Sarah’s genealogy and discovered that she was Steve’s 4th cousin once removed. That means Sarah’s brothers and sisters in the Hamilton family are her 5th cousins and they share a set of 4x-great-grandparents.
It may sound like a distant connection, but it was close enough for the Hamiltons.
Steve said: “Years ago, we joked that we might be related. Everybody’s been having fun with it. The whole family’s kind of excited.”
Sarah, who is now 19 and recently married, said: “I thought it was very cool. I love history. The chances of our paths crossing like they did are very small. It all happened for a reason.”
Janine said that Sarah faced many of the emotional challenges common to children in foster care and craved stability.
Steve said: “The kids always long for a connection, and often that connection has to be made in the way of support, love and time. That’s how it was done with Sarah, and this is just icing on the cake.”
While Sarah is pleased with the news about their genealogical link, it doesn’t really change the way she sees her adopted family. She said: “I’ve already grown to be close to them. I’ve always belonged to them.”
Source: Rapid City Journal