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How I found my birthfather

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  • How I found my birthfather

    I wanted to share with other adoptees how I was able to find my birthfather so hopefully the search will be a little easier for others. I was able to figure it out based on only 4th cousins, but after that point started paying for tests for relatives of those 4th cousins.

    To begin with, I already had the identity of my birthmother, but she was not helpful about finding my birthfather. She had a male friend claim to be the father for the purpose of paperwork, but I quickly figured out he wasn't the father based on ethnicity.

    The biggest challenge was removing the noise and false matches. I had so many matches in the beginning that made it difficult to see the actual patterns.

    The update this spring from Ancestry was incredibly helpful in reducing the Ancestry results that were severely overstated with how close those people were related. FTDNA and 23 & Me have not implemented that type of filtering, so you have to do it on your own.

    The biggest key to finding the matches was identifying two of my 4th cousins on Ancestry were 3rd cousins. One of them didn't have a family tree, so I had to piece that together myself. Then I identified another match person as their 2nd cousin. On 23 & Me, one of my closer matches ended up tying into one line that was a bit of a family mystery and that confirmed that I had to be related to that family.

    Once I figured out I must be related to several people born in the late 1800s, it was off to Salt Lake City and the Family History Center to do more genealogical research on those families. Newspapers.com and GenealogyBank.com were also essential to learn more about those families in the 1900s.

    A couple notes about trying to triangulate like this:

    - Unfortunately, not all 4th cousins will even match. I found this out with my birthmom's cousins on ancestry.

    - Most of your matches are genes that resist recombination or are common within one population. I had quite a few matches where I shared nearly identical segment size with two or three generations. More than likely, that segment is being passed unaltered generation to generation, so the typical rules don't apply.

    - Develop a system to keep track of surnames and locations of where they were born. That helps more than trying to map out family tries. Using a spreadsheet could be helpful. Online solutions like Google Docs that you can update from any computer or your phone is a good idea.

    - 99% of my matches on FTDNA are false matches. About 50% of my matches on 23 & Me are bogus. Ancestry does a much better job of getting rid of the noise and letting you see the matches that will actually get you answers within the last 5 generations.

    - On Ancestry, they are now understating many relationship. I have actual 3rd cousins through my birthmom that are listed as 5th-8th cousins. But on FTDNA and 23 & Me, relationship are frequently very overstated.


    So, it is possible to find birthparents without a close match. Ancestry really is the best place to do that type of research since their filtering and interface makes it easier to see the data that actually matters and gets rid of the irrelevant noise.

  • #2
    Have you been able to confirm your suspected bio father through his DNA or any other of his close relatives?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by keigh View Post
      Have you been able to confirm your suspected bio father through his DNA or any other of his close relatives?
      I haven't tested potential birth fathers yet. Nor approached them about "hey, did you happen to sleep this teenage girl in this year?" Both are 5+ years older than my birthmom.

      Testing close relatives is a little more complicated by half-sibling relationships which clouds things, but after finding several common relatives between 4th cousins, I did more tested and narrowed things down to specific lines. Since the parents of the potential birth fathers are deceased it's more complicated to try to get closer without testing them.

      And with their siblings/half-siblings/step-siblings, it takes a flow chart to figure out how all of them are related.

      The question is next move - whether I want to do more research and flying across the country to go through birth records to see if there's the possibility of an unknown younger sibling that isn't listed in obits or that 2nd cousins are unaware of. Or do I have another unpleasant conversation with my birthmom about my potential birthfather.

      My goal is to find out who my birthfather is and have no plans on any relationship with him, so I'm not sure I really care about contacting him.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by CuriousAdoptee View Post
        I haven't tested potential birth fathers yet. Nor approached them about "hey, did you happen to sleep this teenage girl in this year?" Both are 5+ years older than my birthmom.

        Testing close relatives is a little more complicated by half-sibling relationships which clouds things, but after finding several common relatives between 4th cousins, I did more tested and narrowed things down to specific lines. Since the parents of the potential birth fathers are deceased it's more complicated to try to get closer without testing them.

        And with their siblings/half-siblings/step-siblings, it takes a flow chart to figure out how all of them are related.

        The question is next move - whether I want to do more research and flying across the country to go through birth records to see if there's the possibility of an unknown younger sibling that isn't listed in obits or that 2nd cousins are unaware of. Or do I have another unpleasant conversation with my birthmom about my potential birthfather.

        My goal is to find out who my birthfather is and have no plans on any relationship with him, so I'm not sure I really care about contacting him.
        Why hate these people that could be your father. Someone liked you or they would of had an abortion.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by darroll View Post
          Why hate these people that could be your father. Someone liked you or they would of had an abortion.
          I'm wondering whether or not my birthmom was raped or was being sexually abused. Which is always a possibility for adoptees. At minimum, both would be statutory and likely someone older taking advantage of someone who is very naive.

          It's always been something on the back of my mind since first talking to her and her reluctance to talk about my birthdad.

          And about the abortion issue, my birthmom was Catholic and a minor when I was born. Abortion was never an option for her.

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          • #6
            I don't blame you for being bitter. If your real Mom was a minor... Was her mate also a minor? An adult is a reason that you should not have contact with him.
            Why spend money looking for a louse? Unless you have medical questions. People do have the right to know what they will face when they get old. (I guess)
            I wonder what would happen if a person knocked on my door and calling me daddy.I would hear them out. If they were negative, the meeting would end.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by CuriousAdoptee View Post
              Unfortunately, not all 4th cousins will even match.
              We have known third cousins once removed who don't match by FtDNA criteria, but their nieces don't. I have no doubt they have DNA from their gtgtgtgrandparents (from whom we are also descended), but they haven't received the same DNA from them as us.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by CuriousAdoptee View Post
                I haven't tested potential birth fathers yet. Nor approached them
                ... in that case the title of your thread is somewhat misleading.

                Nonetheless, I wish you success in your quest.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by darroll View Post
                  I don't blame you for being bitter. If your real Mom was a minor... Was her mate also a minor? An adult is a reason that you should not have contact with him.
                  Why spend money looking for a louse? Unless you have medical questions. People do have the right to know what they will face when they get old. (I guess)
                  I wonder what would happen if a person knocked on my door and calling me daddy.I would hear them out. If they were negative, the meeting would end.
                  My mom was a minor when i was born. The father listed in paperwork was also a minor. My actual father may have been not a minor unless there's an unknown younger brother.

                  One of the candidates I have information about where he lives because he's a registered sex offender.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Quote deleted

                    I'm a little old for Pokemon.

                    I don't want to discourage anyone from searching, since my search lead the direction it did. The message I wanted to send to everyone is it is possible even for those who don't get many matches to be able to find an unknown birthparent or ancestor. I really wasn't sure I would have gotten to this point when I first got my result and almost all of my matches were Jewish. It took filtering out so much of the noise to find the matches that mattered, but once I was able to do that, the dots connected.

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                    • #11
                      This is what I have found by many years of doing DNA genealogy. FTDNA(s)FF is only something to look into if your match is around 1500. If you have a match of 45, keep looking.
                      Our best MTDNA match is 0-0-0. (Advanced). (Best Test By Far)
                      I do this for people that are adopted and have no clue who they are. I find our matches are with someone with a fake name like I care who they are. I hope that they look at my tree and find a connection. I just test with one company as I don't want to confuse the ones that demand to be related to King Tut. I have found just one girl that was nice and she told me she was adopted and knew nothing of her history.
                      DNA will also die like Genealogy with the endless greed and want for a profit only.

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                      • #12
                        When I first got my FTDNA results, I was ecstatic because I had at least six 2nd to 4th cousin and I thought it would be easy to triangulate and find my birthfather. But almost all of these matches were either Holocaust survivors or the children of Holocaust survivors. If we are related, it either due a Jewish ancestor in the 1600s or earlier or someone I'm related to marrying into a Jewish family hundreds of years ago.

                        Comparing those matches to my 2nd cousins on Ancestry now - who really are 2nd cousins is so drastically different.

                        IMO, all the testing services really can show you is who shares these segments of DNA that resist recombination or happen to be shared by a population of highly inbred people. Or people who are very, very closely related.

                        I have actual 4th cousins on my birthmom's side on Ancestry who are moderate 5th-8th cousins on the 12th page of my matches. If their children tested, I doubt they would even show up as matches. But FTDNA will match the great-grandkids of my so called 2nd to 4th cousins as 4th cousins because those segments never go away. They just keep propagating.

                        I don't think that DNA genealogy is as reliable as people would like since only people 4-5 generations is actually going to show and after that, it's a crapshoot and only the genes that keep propagating without changing are showing up.
                        People give Ancestry grief over filtering out those matches, but believe me - it's absolutely necessary.

                        I wasted so much time with the garbage matches that FTDNA listed as 2nd to 4th and 3rd to 5th who truly aren't related to me in the last 500 years.

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                        • #13
                          Why waste your time looking for 2nd cousins?
                          Get the MTDNA test done. I found my Uncle with that test and I'm a male and so is my Uncle. My latest match is with a person that likes looking at my tree and won't show me hers which is normal. I don't care who is related to who. I just want the Adopted people a way to find their roots. She has two mutations and that puts her back many, many years.
                          Oh my Uncle did have one mutation though. I know it was him (long story)as he has a rare surname, lived in Texas, His Dad took him to Quebec. He is back in my Moms hometown in Texas now. And they have not told him his mom is not his mom. And I'm not about to tell him.
                          Note: Oh he (my Uncle) had Hvr-1 and HVR-2 tests done with no mutations.
                          Last edited by darroll; 6 August 2016, 07:42 PM. Reason: A brain melt if I can get so harsh.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by darroll View Post
                            Why waste your time looking for 2nd cousins?
                            Get the MTDNA test done. I found my Uncle with that test and I'm a male and so is my Uncle. My latest match is with a person that likes looking at my tree and won't show me hers which is normal. I don't care who is related to who. I just want the Adopted people a way to find their roots. She has two mutations and that puts her back many, many years.
                            Oh my Uncle did have one mutation though. I know it was him (long story)as he has a rare surname, lived in Texas, His Dad took him to Quebec. He is back in my Moms hometown in Texas now. And they have not told him his mom is not his mom. And I'm not about to tell him.
                            Note: Oh he (my Uncle) had Hvr-1 and HVR-2 tests done with no mutations.
                            How could your uncle match you on mtDNA and his mother is not his mother? Does that mean he is your uncle and doesn't know he is your uncle? Or was his bio mom another female relative of your grandmother?

                            The mtDNA comes from the direct female line so it won't help those looking for a biological father and usually an autosomal test will be the most helpful over mtDNA for finding close relatives.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              We discussed this before on the net.
                              My grandmother's husband took off with their son and left Texas. Never to be heard from in their lives. My Mother and her mother fought over this constantly. Mom accused her of running him off.
                              I got a e-mail for a match on this place circa 2008. I recognized the surname. He demanded to know why (I keep my mouth shut). I told him that I don't know. I tracked him to Canada and back to Texas where he now lives..
                              I'm not a home wrecker.

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