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Found my birth mother!

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  • Found my birth mother!

    The last installment in my quest to find my birth parents.

    Last year I developed a pretty good idea who my biological father was, combining yDNA and atDNA results, but since he had passed away and no close relatives could be found to test, I could not have good confirmation from DNA that he was in fact my father. He had several brothers who could theoretically have been my father also, but he was the only one who lived in the city where I was born.

    Most of my atDNA matches in the three companies seemed to be related on my paternal side. I struggled to identify maternal matches by checking overlapping DNA segments with known paternal matches who were not also in common with them. These maternal matches were few and far between, and distant.

    Last week I found a new match at AncestryDNA in the 3rd cousin range. He had no tree, but claimed he recognized nothing in my tree (all paternal). He gave me some surnames and I was able to build a tree for him. Because of his mother's Eastern European ethnicity (which I don't share) I ruled out her side. I asked to transfer his raw data to FTDNA which he agreed to.

    In FF I could see we shared 83 total cM with 4 main segments, indicating a good match. One of these segments overlapped, and was in common with, a couple of people. The common ancestral location of all these matches seemed to be Quebec (but not French). So in building my new match's tree, I focused on his ancestors from Quebec, although I found no surnames the same among these three people.

    After building up to my new match's 3rd great-grandparents, I started building down into the families of the descendants. After a week I seemed to be getting nowhere, until suddenly I found my birth surname of KING marrying into one of the lines, which I assumed to be my birth mother's name. A very common name which had not helped me at all until now.

    Looking at the children of this King, I saw one that was female and the right age to be my birth mother. With further investigation, I found that her education level and career matched the non-ID I received from the state.

    I started putting her ancestors into my tree at Ancestry and found several more leaf hints to my matches. This was looking good! I was shaking in my boots by now.

    A search angel helped me locate her. She was living in the state where I was born, but at the opposite end of the state. After sleeping on it one night, thinking about whether I should call, I couldn't resist--I called her the following day.

    And I was right! We got off to a shaky start, with my dropping hints but not asking direct questions about adoption, and I thought she might hang up on me. She wanted to know where I got my information. I tried to explain DNA testing for genealogy briefly, that it gave me clues and helped me narrow down to her family. She asked if I knew who my father was. That clinched it--when I told her the name of the man I suspected was my father, she said "Yes, I dated him for five years. Then you must be my son." WOW!!

    It came out later that she had another child she also gave up for adoption, from a different partner. Then I understood why she asked me who the father was--she wanted to know which one!

    My birth mother's father is 100% German, and her mother was born in Quebec, which may explain the lack of matches on my maternal side. My biological father's family is Southern Colonial.

    Anyway, I'm so thrilled that through DNA I was able to piece together both sides of my "first family", and am encouraged that as more people are tested, it will get easier for adoptees to discover their origins. If I had tested now instead of two years ago I could have saved a lot of time and effort trying to fit the pieces together.

    For those who are still searching, I wish you the best of luck!


  • #2
    I am so happy for you!


    • #3
      Congratulations Todd!! Great work, and I am doing a happy dance for you!


      • #4
        Beautiful story, gave me chill bumps and tears. Thank you for sharing.


        • #5

          Happy for you.


          • #6

            Have you inquired about your half brother that she also gave up for adoption?

            Just curious.


            • #7
              Wow! That is an amazing story! Congratulations on finding your birth mother and confirming your birth father! Your relentless efforts certainly paid off. I am so happy for you and your mother! Good luck finding your maternal sibling. You can now confidently claim your ancestral family tree. Best wishes!


              • #8
                Congratulations Todd. Well done.


                • #9
                  Amazing story with a fantastic outcome!

                  It's wonderful that your birth mother didn't hang up on you and continued the conversation. I hope you can take that further, but softly, softly ...


                  • #10

                    DNA testing, a bit of luck and a lot of hard work is making it possible to solve so many of these mysteries. We are very lucky to live in this time.



                    • #11
                      A Great Pair

                      DNA and Search Angels make a good pair!

                      Thanks for sharing your story.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mollyblum View Post

                        Have you inquired about your half brother that she also gave up for adoption?

                        Just curious.
                        I asked her if she would like to locate that one, but that was an uncomfortable question for her. Her initial reaction was that she didn't want to find that one because of the circumstances of that pregnancy. If I could find out from her the DOB of that child I could look in registries to see if he is searching. But I will respect her wishes for now. However, he is my relative too.

                        My birth mother told me she was "thrilled" I found her, and that was so great to hear. She said she was very close to my father. Apparently that was not the case with the father of her other child. Nobody in her family knew about either pregnancy. So my existence is still a secret. I have cousins but no other half siblings.
                        Last edited by ToddH; 18 May 2014, 09:02 AM.


                        • #13
                          Very happy for you, Todd. Your story is very inspiring. DNA was a definite help, but it sounds like you really did a lot of work to tie the pieces together. Congratulations!


                          • #14
                            This is such great news, not only finding your birth mother, but also confirming the right person, versus his brothers, as your birth father. Well done!!


                            • #15
                              Amazing news! Congratulations!