North Carolina woman meets biological family in Newfoundland for the 1st time

·2 min read
Norma Gould, left, and her daughter Debra Braddy visiting Signal Hill during their first trip to Newfoundland. Gould discovered she has biological family in the province after completing DNA tests in 2016. (Submitted by Norma Gould - image credit)
Norma Gould, left, and her daughter Debra Braddy visiting Signal Hill during their first trip to Newfoundland. Gould discovered she has biological family in the province after completing DNA tests in 2016. (Submitted by Norma Gould - image credit)
Submitted by Norma Gould
Submitted by Norma Gould

Travelling to Newfoundland this summer means Norma Gould can finally start answering one of life's most daunting questions: "Who am I?"

Gould, who currently lives in North Carolina, discovered she has a half-sibling and cousins from Newfoundland and Labrador after completing DNA tests in 2016.

It's also the land of her late father, who's buried here, and who she'd never met.

This summer, she finally made the long-awaited journey alongside her daughter, Debra Braddy.

"I'd look in the mirror and I didn't know who I was. I didn't know who I looked like," Gould told CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning.

"Now meeting all my cousins, or many of them anyway, I feel complete. I feel like I belong."

During their trip, Gould met many of her biological cousins on her grandmother's side of the family, including Judy Chafe, who Gould connected with online in 2018.

Submitted by Norma Gould
Submitted by Norma Gould

Chafe, from Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, is first cousins with Gould's biological father, William David Moores. He died in Newfoundland in 1986.

Although their journey was one of celebration, Gould and Braddy say it was also one of reflection and remembrance. The two visited Moores's grave, where they laid seashells and rocks painted by Braddy's children.

"I made a promise I would find him, no matter how long it took, and to sit there and to tell him all about me and the grandbabies … I almost got a sense of peace that came over me," said Gould.

"It was very emotional to sit at a resting place of a man that you've never met. It's hard to put into words, but I mean, you feel this enormous sense of love and missing," added Braddy.

Submitted by Norma Gould
Submitted by Norma Gould

During their travels, Gould and Braddy visited places like St. John's, Dildo and Ferryland, where they spent time kayaking and sight-seeing. Asides from meeting loved ones, the trip came with other new experiences, such as seeing puffins for the first time.

Braddy plans on bringing her children and husband to Newfoundland next summer. For Gould, this trip to the island also won't be her last.

"I love this place, I absolutely love it," said Gould.

"I'm ready to buy a home and just live here. This place is magical."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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