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How would you go about locating NPE in adoption case?

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  • How would you go about locating NPE in adoption case?

    Hello all,

    I have a bit of a genetic and family tree quandary. My father is adopted but I discovered who his birth mother was before she died. However, she was not conscious or able to give any info on his birth father and he was not named on the original birth certificate. We did have a very good idea who he was and my father met the man and he pretty much said there was a very good chance he was his father before he died several years ago. My father resembles his half siblings immensely and also this man's deceased younger brother (who would have been my father's uncle). I met my father's potential half-sister and the resemblance is quite startling so I am fairly convinced that this man is my father's father (aside from the same build, height, eye color, hair color, etc). The strange thing is that we lived in the country on a small lake about an hour and a half from where my father was born and this man lived on the same road on the same side of the lake as we did and I went to school with, and rode the bus with my "potential" cousins and Uncles and Aunts (weird!).

    Sorry for the digression. Anyway, I had my brother Y-DNA tested to see what kind of ancestry his father had as when I asked his half-sister she was clueless. The results were kind of startling in that straight down the line about 20 different men with the same last name came back related to my brother in varying degrees of generations. There were two within 3 generations, about 7 within six generations and nine within 9 generations and down the line, etc. There were actually about a total of 30 men with the same last name-some even listed as far as 15 or more generations back. Unfortunately, when I contacted the ones within 3 generations there was only one response and it was a cousin saying the man was deceased and she didn't know much about him and she had no knowledge of the other name that I mentioned. I went online to research the name and found a family website and it seems I was lucky enough to be related to an entire clan of people that all tested their DNA for generations to try and see if they could link three different lines (since 1920 they have been collecting data!). My father is directly descended from the Vicar of Cranbrook Eddye Line.

    My issue is that this is NOT the last name of his birth father and there is no Eddye/Eddy /Eady in his father's direct paternal line. They are both English as his father's 3rd ggrandfather came over from England to Canada and then onto NY State. The Vicar of Cranbrook Eddye was in England as well. I have looked from the beginning of his father's line for neighbors on the census named Eddy to try and go backwards and see if there was an NPE in the States (within the past 2 generations) and cannot find anything. I do not have all of the English census records or info to check to do this in England as we are talking about the 1700s and early 1800s.

    How would you go about trying to find this NPE? I feel like I cannot do a proper family tree without knowing where the Eddy's begin and where the Chaffer's stop. I don't know which female's I am related to and which ones are a generation past the NPE. I have looked at FF and tried using surnames to match but with colonial ancestry it is next to impossible. Besides which the Eddy's are related to nearly everyone so it seems.

    Any suggestions?

    Sorry for the long winded post

  • #2
    First off the bat, congratulations. Sounds like you have real data to work with. It may not seem so to you because it happened all at once, but many, if not the vast majority of YDNA testers will never find a single statistically significant match. Ever. So finding 30 is a real coup.

    That said, you've still got a real problem. STRs are kind of a blunt instrument. You can feel totally confident that you are on the right track, but beware that there are thousands of different destinations between you and your goal.

    STR is 'predictably random' in the sense that, out of a pool of 200 father/son marker comparisons, you can be relatively confident that about 1 pair will show an obvious mutation. The problem comes in if YOU are that one in two hundred. That will be 100 % of your experience, and yet completely unrepresentative of the individual experiences of the others. At the same time it is totally normal and freakishly weird.

    I know of at least one case where an American named Jewett was a 100 % perfect 67/67 match with an Englishman of the same name and could not have shared a common ancestor for over 300 years. Yet an American cousin with a MRCA at 200 years back was GD of 5 @ 67 from that first American.

    The odds of that sort of thing happening would probably be in the range of winning the Lotto--if the universe only contained one family of three people.

    So what I'd recommend is to study ALL pedigrees containing that surname for a clue. Go to Ancestry, Rootsweb, Familysearch, whatever, and look for pedigrees with that surname and any place within 100 miles of here your ancestors lived for the last 400 years. By all means, start by going through the pedigrees of your matches with a fine tooth comb and pusue even the faintest shadow of a clue, but prepared to be disappointed. Be prepared to do more.

    You have to be best judge as to the amount of effort you're willing to put in it, but don't let your initial success delude you into thinking it's going to be easy. Every tiny bit of corroborating/contradictory information available may be necessary.

    In fact, if at all possible, I'd conduct a coordinated campaign of complementary autosomal testing as a contextual supplement. If you can convince any of the likelier Y guys (and this is a judgment call for which you must be responsible), to autosomal test, do so. I wouldn't expect any meaningful result for any Y test predicted to be more than 3 gen back, but you could get extemely lucky, as the Jewett example shows.

    I know this may not provide as clear a path as you'd like, but your instincts seem good. Sounds like you've done an incredible amount of very sensible work already. You've been lucky, but the odds are still against you.


    • #3
      First id want to make sure the putative half sister really is your fathers bio half sister. If so she and u should overlap about 12.5% of dna.

      Next since only about 50 percent of men have the correct surname not sure youll find an eddy in the census nearby. Perhaps the vicar was very friendly with his parishiners...