It’s a GIRL!!! Nil J. Guillet just turned 75 in July. Imagine his surprise to find out he has a daughter that he never knew about.
Back up a bit to December 2016. I received my Ancestry.com research journal from Michael Miller. He’s a top notch researcher who worked with me to build my family tree backward. When you are adopted and your records are sealed, well you don’t know what name is on your original birth certificate, so you haven no starting point to build a tree using Ancestry.com. All I had to work with was my DNA. Michael’s report provided me with all of the data including the names of my grandparents and a comprehensive list of their children noting one of these is mother on Marchand side and one is Father on Guillet side. I’ve had this information for 7 months but had no idea what to do with it. I had an indication from my Aunt that my Mother (Linda Bresnock) had dated Nil Guillet. In fact, they all grew up around the corner from each other in the same town. My Aunt Martha on my Mother’s side and his sister, Aunt Gloria are still friends today. More calls, questions and answers and the puzzle pieces fit right into place. I was sad to learn that my Mother, Linda, passed away in 2010. I would never have the chance to meet her.
Nil was ecstatic to find out he had a daughter. On my original birth certificate the only thing listed for Father was “Unknown”. Nil did not know about me or remember much about Linda, but was open to hearing the story. The research journal was so thorough that there was no question he or one of his brothers was my Father. His brother, Eric was ruled out because Eric Jr. was already a 1st cousin match on Ancestry. I thank Eric Jr., my newly found half brother, Ryan and Aunt Gloria for their help in breaking the news to Nil in a way that didn’t give him a coronary!
His other brothers were out of the area during the time frame or too old to fit the puzzle. A parent/child DNA test confirmed we are 99.9995% match.
50 years have gone by – this is was a birthday surprise for sure!
This past weekend, Nil made the trip to Virginia to meet me and to visit with Steve and I. We took him to meet my Mom, Don, Deena and Ed and today, he met Steve’s parents too! Nil brought photos of the family that now help me put faces to the names on the two dimensional family tree. My grandparents are pictured below. George Guillet and Olivet Roy Guillet.
Nil Guillet was one of 10 children. He was born in Vermont where he learned as a child to tap maple trees and make syrup by a local farmer. His “sugar” hobby really started about 15 years ago in earnest and he now produces enough to sell at the local farmer’s market and keep his friends and family in syrup for life. The official title is a “Sugar Maker”. This is becoming a lost art form. Of course, he brought us some and now we are hooked.
His interest and passions span from syrup to cars. Nil enjoys NASCAR racing and actually driving race cars when he gets the opportunity. He is a car enthusiast and has quite a collection including two Thunderbirds; one of the first and one the last ones made. Nil drove the newer one down here for his visit. Nil also restores antique John Deere Tractors. He was a tool maker by trade which is helpful in his work with cars and tractors. He is also a builder which is sort of funny since I am a Realtor.
Nil is a beloved Grandfather to his 5 grandchildren. His sons, my half brothers, Corey and Ryan, live near their Dad. They are a tight knit group. They all work together in the family business started by Nil many years ago. Ryan and I have connected by phone, email and text and we chat regularly. Ryan’s wife, Kristen, has already reached out and “hugged” me into the family by phone, text and FB. I can’t wait to meet them all. Corey and I have just started trading texts and photos. I look forward to meeting him and his wife Brittany and all of those new Nieces and Nephews, and Aunts and Uncles.
This weekend was time spent with someone I never knew I had. He’s part of my DNA but we have had very different paths. I can see some resemblance (thank you for the eyebrows) for sure. There are also funny things like vertigo and claustrophobia I am going to credit Nil with passing along to me. All in good fun. He’s a happy fellow with a quick laugh and tons of great stories. We shared some of ours too. It’s easy to make him laugh.
One thing Nil and I have in common is golf. Playing golf with a Dad you never knew you had is a very special thing. We went out yesterday and had the time of our lives. Most of our friends at LGCC know the story. Steve could not help himself he told everyone the first weekend we found out and our friends are amazing and very supportive.
Yesterday, Nil might have been a bit overwhelmed at the amount of friends stopping over to say “hi”, but we had to show him off and introduce him all around. He took it all in with good humor. We enjoyed our time on the patio afterward with our hard earned drinks!
A weekend is not much time to catch up 50 years. I know there will be more time to connect and enjoy. More trips are planned – lots more family to see and meet. Life is good. Ancestry is great. It’s allowed me to finally find and tell my story.
For now, I’m humming along to one of my favorite songs that I always associated with my Father, Don Lynn. The only father I ever knew- he was my idol and my inspiration. “Silver Thunderbird” by Jo Dee Messina. This song still makes me think of him.
Now, I have a new appreciation for the lyrics and somehow it also links my connection to Nil. https://itun.es/us/KeVge?i=68874150
More updates on the adventures as we have them.