So this is my father with his mother. This is a picture my mother gave to me after she told me that my step father wasn’t my real father when I turned 15 years old. Well, she didn’t give me the picture right away because we lived in a trailer and all our things were in storage. When we moved to Sepulveda in an actual apartment building when I was 16 and got all our things out of storage, she gave me this and another picture.
So here’s the story my mother gave me when I was 15. She told me that they were together in 1969 and he was there until a month after I was born in 1970, and then he went to West Germany because he was in the Army and he never returned. She thinks he may have been trapped over there because of the Berlin wall being up at the time. She told me his name was Ronald Shurtleff, but I had all these thoughts going through my head and was barely able to process anything, and the name is not a typical name, or at least I’d never heard it before in my life until she told me, so I had forgotten what it was. When I turned 19 I asked her for the name again so I could start my search to find my paternal father, and her response to me was “No, I’m not going to tell you because I’m afraid you WILL find him, and if you do I will want to leave your father (she was referring to my step father) was be with him (meaning my paternal father).”
I got back in touch with my Aunt Betty in 2001 and I asked her if she knew my father’s name and she told me it was Ronald Shirtliff. She didn’t remember how it was spelled, so I had to go with that. She also told me that it is possible that he didn’t even know that my mother was pregnant because he was married at the time to another woman. If I had the ability to add sounds, I would add soap opera music. She told me that he was not there when I was born, he was not there a month after I was born and that he left before she even told him she was pregnant.
This is what I have found from Ancestry.com. I’ve been searching for military records for 1969-1970 and I just could not find that name for his age. I did find a couple of people, but the birth dates were too far off to be my father. I mean, the guy in the picture does not look like a middle aged man, he would be if he were the man I found in the military records named Ronald Gilbert Shurtleff who was born in 1926. I searched for variations of his last name and even considered that perhaps his middle name was Ronald, and he went by Ronald to my mother, but I just couldn’t find him.
So someone told me that the guy in the picture above is not wearing an Army uniform, he’s wearing a ROTC uniform. He was 18 years old in 1965 and so this picture could possibly be taken when he was still in high school after a school event. I couldn’t find any military records of him. Speculation.
So… I did discover a man named Ronald Leland Shurtleff who was born in 1947, and that would have been the right time frame. Ancestry suggested to me that his parents were Stanley Shurtleff and Delores “Dee” McKenzee. I contacted someone who had added Stanley to her tree, and she told me there is actually a book on Google Books with names of descendants of William Shurtleff, and this book shows that Ronald Leland Shurtleff has a different set of parents. His actual parents are Howard Leland Shurtleff and Virginia Ilene Shuler.
It shows he was married to a woman named Heidemarie Margarete Capellmann in Germany and they had a son named Jeffrey in 1968. Ancestry doesn’t give me any information about Howard Leland Shurtleff having a son named Ronald Leland Shurtleff. There is a record of Heidenmarie Shurtleff having a P.O. Box in NH in 1993, but that’s all I’m getting from her, and it wasn’t a leaf, I clicked her name in my tree and hit the search button and that was the only thing they had. So if she lived in New Hampshire, perhaps they moved from Germany to the U.S. when his deployment was over and my brother could possibly be in the U.S. now. I found 4 Jeffry Shurtleff’s on Facebook (Jeff and Jeffrey) and I sent them all messages asking if they are the person I’m looking for. One responded within an hour and he wasn’t the one, so it’s a waiting game now.
Look, I don’t know if I have the right people or not. I did the 23andMe test and it did come back with 1016 3rd to distant cousins, no siblings and no parents. It has now grown to 1021 cousins, but no concrete proof of who my father is or was. I decided that since I am doing all this stuff on Ancestry that I would find out if my DNA will work with them as well, so I did Ancestry DNA and they literally just got my DNA sample today, so I can look forward to a long 6-8 week wait according to them, but I’m sure it won’t take that long. So until I get the results back, all I can really do is speculate on everything.
I am hopeful that I will get answers and find someone, whether it be my paternal father or just my paternal brother. If any of these people see this blog post, please know I mean no ill intent, I am not looking for anything, I just want to know who my father is/was and if he or my brother are alive, I just want to know them. If you don’t want a relationship that’s fine, but I just need some closure. But I would like to have a relationship because I feel so lost and alone and I just need someone.
Thank you for reading.