Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Genealogue Exclusive: Genealogy Turns Man's Life Upside Down

A Genealogue Exclusive [What's That?]
Harold Jackson of Pomfret, Vermont, thought he knew who he was. He thought he was the son of Joseph and Miriam Jackson, born July 18, 1943, in White River Junction, Vermont.

Last week, Harold discovered that he was wrong.

It began when Harold became interested in his family's history. After doing some reading online, he decided to order his birth certificate from the Vermont Division of Public Records in Middlesex. Last Thursday, an envelope arrived in Jackson's mailbox. Inside was a document which would change his life.

"As it turns out," says Jackson, "My name is not Harold Allen Jackson. It's Harold Alan Jackson. My parents were Louis and Barbara Jackson, and I was born on May first, 1943, in Rutland. Of course, I was shocked."

Jackson at once confronted his widowed mother—now 89 and living in a Pomfret nursing home.

"She denied everything," Jackson says. "She kept saying 'It's a mistake, it's a mistake!' Even when I showed her the paper, she wouldn't admit it. Just kept begging for her heart pills."

Jackson reluctantly broke off ties with the woman he had thought was his mother, and is now seeking his true parents. One detail on the birth certificate is especially intriguing to him.

"It says both of my parents were African-American. Sixty-two years old, and I never knew I was black!

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