Reader asks, "Who am I?"

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Using several online search engines and genetic testing, Margo Heck digs into her past and discovers her extended family. Above, Margo with her husband, Vernon. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

Margo Heck, who currently resides at the Guttenberg Care Center, was born on June 14, 1948 in a Catholic home for unwed mothers in Sioux City. She was baptized Catholic two weeks later at St. Monica's Chapel.

"My grandmother forced my mother, Loralee, to give me up for adoption," she began.  "She was only 16 at the time. She was impregnated by her older sister, Winifred's, husband, who had impregnated my mother's younger sister at the same time as my mother." 

Sammy and Babe Meyers of Guttenberg adopted the young girl when she was six months old through a private adoption. "My mother was staying in a trailer over by Colesburg and she knew she needed to give me up, so the adoption was arranged by a local judge," said Margo. 

Her parents told her she was part Blackfoot Indian and Cherokee. "I researched through and found out I am 28 percent Irish, which I am very proud of. Although my parents always told me I was Native American, none of that showed up on any of the tests."

Other relatives told Margo she was related to Queen Alliquippa, who was a leader of the Seneca tribe of American Indians during the early part of the 18th century. "I do know from another relative that Queen Alliquippa was a very far back grandmother," explained Margo. "Her daughter, Summers Eve, was married to my father's way back great- grandfather somewhere along the line. She was reputed to be a princess and a good friend of George Washington." 

Margo also learned about a connection to Samuel Sewell, who was a judge, businessman, and printer in the Province of Massachusetts Bay. He was best known for his involvement in the Salem witch trials, and his essay, The Selling of Joseph (1700), which criticized slavery. "I found evidence that he was one of my many, great-grandfathers," she said. Margo was also told her uncle, Dominic Cortina, who lived in Chicago was a member of the Chicago Mob. "This stands to reason because my (biologic) father drove beer truck for Al Capone," she said. "My dad had a restaurant in Waterloo."

Margo has a half-sister, Sandy, who lives in Hammond, Ind.; two half-sisters, Lynda and Tammy, who live in Texas; half-brothers, Jerry, Richard and Wally; a brother, Mike; and sisters, Donna, Diane and Deb, who are all deceased. "I thought I was an only child, but found out I have a dozen brothers and sisters," Margo shared. "I didn't know about Donna until about three years ago. She looks exactly like me – just identical. She died of diabetes. We shared the same father, but a different mother." 

"When I married Vernon Heck I wore a yellow wedding gown and a yellow, wide-brim hat," she described, "My niece that I didn't even know did the exact same thing. I guess we both had good taste," she said with a smile. 

"My Uncle Mike, who was my mother's brother, and his wife Ruby were the nicest people I ever met. Uncle Mike passed away a couple of months go, but Aunt Ruby still calls me," she concluded with a smile.

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