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Finding birth parents

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  • Finding birth parents

    I have a ggg-grandma who was supposedly adopted. The story that I've heard is that she was born to an American soldier and a New Mexican woman. The father left the mother before she had the child, and the mother gave the child up for adoption because she had been having an affair with the soldier. This ggg-grandmother was my ffmmm (39) and was born around 1854. What do you think would be the possibility of finding her birth parents through DNA testing?

  • #2
    Originally posted by AJRL View Post
    This ggg-grandmother was my ffmmm (39) and was born around 1854. What do you think would be the possibility of finding her birth parents through DNA testing?
    Wow that will not be easy, but not impossible. You have two possibilities. Get the Family Finder test and see if there is a surname match. It is possible but very unlikely since the chance of given 4th is above 50% but a 5th cousin is >10%, but you do have lots of 4th and 5th cousins hopefully many on that side of the family. See . If you can get a parent, uncle, aunt or especially a grandparent on that side to test you would be much more likely to find a match.

    The other option and this would probably be even less likely would be to test a known relative along the direct mother/daughter line to this ggg-grandmother. An MtDNA test is needed for this. No need for an older generation as they would not really be any better than a newborn.

    I really don't mean to be so pessimistic but you really should understand that either scenario is very unlikely, but possible.
    Last edited by thetick; 23 February 2012, 11:44 AM.


    • #3
      re: Finding birth parents

      Check out this site for adoptee related DNA searches. The search Angels there will I'm sure jump on this and help you out and point you in the right direction.

      Maggie Flahive
      FF & Gedmatch kit#179690


      • #4
        Thanks to both of you for the help.

        mnr, I requested to join that group. We'll see what happens.

        tick, I didn't realize till you mentioned it, but I could just get my grandpa's mtDNA tested to try to find the birth mother. The birth father will obviously be much more difficult, especially since he wasn't from New Mexico as far as I know.


        • #5
          What does ffmmm mean?

          Solid genealogy work will help as you try to find the answers that you seek. Each birth, marriage and death certificate from now, going back in time will help. You can also research fort information for a specific town in NM and try to find soldier rosters for 1853/1854. I've noticed that in the olden days, some adoptions were handled more informally and the adopted child sometimes retained the original surname (from the mother or father).


          • #6
            Father's father's mother's mother's mother (number 39 on an ahnentafel).

            I know this line was researched by my grandma, but she was never able to find the real parents. She was a pretty experienced researcher, so I doubt I'll be able to find them through records if she couldn't. Adoption records or even legit adoptions for that matter were not very common in New Mexico at the time (I don't know about other places). I wonder though if soldier rosters won't come in handy at some point.


            • #7
              I don't doubt that your grandmother was thorough but something as simple as the 1860 census could give you an important fact. Understanding which regiments were in NM and why will be enlightening. History of NM prior to statehood would be interesting.

              I had to stop relying on other people's memories or jotted notes. Once I started ordering records for myself, my error rate went way down.


              • #8
                I've seen 19th century adoptions (usually orphans) where the name was not changed.

                If the adoption was formalized, there may be a record in the county court. Look for adoption or guardianship records. That far back they may not have bothered to seal them once New Mexico's sealed records laws came into effect.

                I have a similar situation with my son's gggrandmother who was supposedly "adopted off the reservation" in New Jersey. Except there were no reservations in New Jersey in 1850.

                Yet another adoptee


                • #9
                  Okay, you were definitely right about the 1860 census. I just did a quick search and ended up finding it. Listed on it are the adoptive father, the adoptive mother under her maiden name, my ggg-grandmother under her adoptive name, someone who appears to be the mother's sister, a "markswoman" with a different surname, a servant, and either the servant's child or brother. I'll have to go look through all my grandma's research and see if there are any other surnames that show up.


                  • #10
                    I just looked at my grandma's research, and I found out that she had never found the 1860 census for that family. The rest of their census records show all kinds of different people living with them. I wonder if the names I found on the 1860 census won't end up helping. Thank you everyone for your help.