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The Western Star
Rachel Dorsey was feeling a little overwhelmed on Friday, July 26, after learning of and meeting more relatives than she ever knew she had.
Sitting in the living room of the home of her cousin Cora (Whitehorne) Butt in Stephenville Crossing, the 41-year-old said it was about a year and a half ago that she learned of family existing in Canada.
Dorsey lives in Lakewood, Washington State.
Her dad, Robert Edwin Ingram, was adopted by Capt. Paul Ingram and his wife Edwina while stationed at the Ernest Harmon Air Force Base in Stephenville around the early 1950s. Robert was brought to the US and grew up in Tacoma, Washington State.
Having knowledge her dad was adopted, Dorsey became curious about her history and got a DNA test done. When it came back showing more than half her family were from Canada, she got excited.
The next step was to put her DNA on gedmatch.com.
That's where she connected with Cora Butt, who had also used the site to find potential matches for her DNA.
Dorsey, who works in the health field, quickly learned that Butt’s aunt Audrey White of Corner Brook was her grandmother.
She learned White had been forced by her mother to give her son Robert up for adoption.
This was back in about 1950.
Cora says her mother, Annie Whitehorne, went to the adoption agency and tried to get Robert back but was told she couldn’t because she had too many kids of her own.
Annie eventually moved to Toronto but would come home every summer and try to find Robert. She eventually wrote a letter to St. John’s attempting to get information.
The most she ever got back was that he had been adopted by an American couple, got his first and middle name Robert Edwin, but never his last name.
Before she passed away, one of Annie's last requests was for her daughters to keep looking for Robert.
Dorsey said her dad was an alcoholic and estranged from the family.
She only saw him twice while growing up, once when she was 13 and again when she was 16. The last time was during a visit to his adopted mother and her grandmother’s.
“Both those visits were awkward. I didn’t know him growing up, so he was like a stranger,” she said.
Where she didn’t have him growing up.
He's died since and his adoptive parents have also passed away.
She only has two cousins left on that side of the family and they’re not biological.
It’s a different story with her new-found family in Newfoundland, which stretches from the Bay St. George area to Corner Brook to Ontario with the Whitehornes and the Campbells.
“I have so many cousins, I can’t count them all. It’s been kind of a rollercoaster meeting them. I think my relatives are awesome,” she said.
She appreciates the Whitehornes having searched for her dad for so long and is thankful the connection that was finally made.
Relatives that Rachel Dorsey has met:
• Cousin – Cora (Whitehorne) Butt – Stephenville Crossing
• Cousin – Stella (Whitehorne) Stone and Husband William – Hamilton, ON
• Grand-Aunt – Marion Lyver – Corner Brook
• Cousin – Dale (Whitehorne) Woodman – Corner Brook
• Cousin – Charlie Whitehorne – Corner Brook
• Cousin – Audrey (Whitehorne) Payne and husband Warrick – Corner Brook
• Cousin – Diane Campbell – Stephenville Crossing
• Grant-Aunt – Shirley Anstey Gosse – Corner Brook
• Cousin – Melvina Gillam Stacey – Pasadena