Digging into your past may help to find long lost relatives

Change of Career leads to Relatives

Kendall Sienon, Staff Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Stuart Watson was once known as an investigative reporter digging into the lives of others. After an unexpected career change, Watson changed course and started digging into his own past creating a documentary as he goes. He tells his story and the journey of discovery to the Charlotte Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists.

Watson was adopted at 4 months of age to his current mother and father. Because of his experience as an investigative reporter, Watson knew he could obtain a “non-identifiable information” document on his birth parents.

In 2003, he received eight-single spaced pages full of information. Watson figured out that his birth father was a white, lawyer, from Atlanta. After further investigation he figured out his birth mother was from Augusta, G.A. and her name is Helen. After more research Watson got an address for his birth mother. He decided to send her a confidential, two-page letter simply saying “thank you” and to let her know how he turned out.

Watson heard back from Helen and went down to Georgia to meet her. He learned that his father’s name was Henry Scott Schmidt. He was a World War II vet wounded in action. Henry and Helen met at a mental hospital.

She was a nurse while he was a recovering alcoholic. Helen and Henry were remarried twice again and had 2 other children. Watson himself is an alcoholic in addition to his father and in addition to his two biological siblings. Today, Watson and his biological family have a great relationship. He realized that alcoholism and mental illness is hard to deal with.

Watson continues his efforts to finish the documentary on his life. He has great information and wants the story to be less about himself and more about Helen. Watson wishes he had more information on his biological father but hopes to discover more about his experiences. Stuart Watson’s journey has a bigger message and he hopes to display it through his documentary still untitled.

Edited by: Sara Gunter



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