Searching for Your Roots – An Adopted Son’s Story

We all have mystery relatives and ancestors we may never know. For Edwin Curtis the desire to find his roots and meet his biological mother was an important journey to take – one he regrets he took so long to set out on. Despite the wait, Ed successfully discovered her story and made meaningful connections to his roots and family. Here is his story. 

Edwin Curtis and his wife Shelly holding a photo of his mother Lula. 

Ed  sets up for his "Show & Tell" 

My name is Ed Curtis, but when I was born in 1946 I was named Lauriston Edwin Peaselee. When I was 13 months old, Lula Brann, my biological mother, put me up for adoption. She was all alone at that time and just couldn’t care for me. So she put me in the hands of somebody that could, and I was brought up as Ed Curtis.

 One of Lula's brother's, Willy, made this woodcarving of a phonograph for his school teacher in Jefferson when he was 17 years old in 1912. His school teacher happened to be the mother of the genealogist who was helping Ed to research his family. She had treasured the carving for many years, and now Ed treasures it.

By 1973 I felt it was time to finally meet my biological mother. My adopted mother put me in touch with a woman who knew Lula. I said to her, “I have four children. I’m ready now. I had a wonderful life with the family that adopted me, but I would love to meet my mother.”

She said, “Well, she passed away two weeks ago.”

I had waited all that time to find out she had just died. It broke my heart.

My adopted father had once told me that a traveling preacher came through the town, got Lula pregnant, and moved on. Instead of having a child out of wedlock, a man by the name of Peaselee stepped up to the plate and married her. 

I guess Lula and Peaselee’s marriage didn’t last, because I did some genealogy research and learned she later married a man named Pinkham. I knew he was buried in Steuben, Maine. I still didn’t know where she was buried, but on a hunch I went to Steuben and checked out the cemetery, and sure enough, next to Pinkham’s stone, somebody had been leaving flowers on an unmarked grave. I learned it was indeed her grave. Later I had a headstone made for her.

I found out that person who left flowers on Lula’s grave was her nephew, my cousin. I went to his house and met him and talked about Lula. I learned that I was her only child. Then his girlfriend said to him, “You’ve got an album somewhere. Don’t you have a picture of her you can show him?” It was the day before my 68th birthday and the very first time I ever saw a picture of my biological mother.

Later my four children came and we held a service for her. My oldest daughter, who I can see from the photo looks just Lula, did the eulogy. I just hope that somehow my mother Lula knows we did all this, tracing my roots, and finding her grave and the service.

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