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Found farther - success story

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  • Found farther - success story

    In 2015 I learned who my father was from testing DNA. I'd been at FTDNA three or four years already and worked with a cousin whose father was my predicted 2nd-4th cousin (123 cM FTDNA 93 cM Gedmatch). The DNA belonged to his father who was around 80 years old, so I knew we were at least one generation apart. We ended up being half-2nd cousins 1x removed (his great-grandmother is my GG-grandmother).

    My cousin was amazing and helped me for five years dissect his family tree. Around late 2013 I tested with 23&Me then later that year with Ancestry.

    In 2015 I received a 2nd cousin match at Ancestry and was able to quickly piece together where my father fit in her tree. I'd researched my other cousin's tree so much in those five years that I had a pretty good idea which family I was likely from, mostly by the way they looked (like me) and by eliminating other families for various reasons.

    This 2nd cousin and I share great-grandparents on my father's paternal side (we share 312 cM).

    My father was Howard Hamilton Brownlee (1925-2008).

    About 6 months later another 2nd cousin showed up on 23&Me! This cousin and I share great-grandparents (270 cM) on my father's maternal line! Again it all fit together.

    Just two weeks ago a 2nd cousin showed up at Ancestry and another one at FTDNA.

    I find this remarkable - out of 300-million people in the US, that these people would test their DNA. The only adopted one was my first 2nd cousin, but she had two first cousins at Ancestry (her father's line, unrelated to me), and that's how I knew I was from her mother's side. She was able to figure out who her parents were within minutes of getting her results back because of her 2 first cousins that had also tested.

    When I found my mother in 1995, she'd told me the name of my father, but she was wrong. She died 1996, so I was never able to get more info or obviously ask more questions and I had very little information - only that she was probably in NY when I was conceived. That was true My father was a bartender in Mnahattan and my mother liked bars and men and apparently New York.

    My half-siblings still don't know who their fathers are (they've tested as well). One sister, though, who tested with FTDNA learned she was 57% Middle Eastern. She'd had no clue about her ethnic background before that. And she has a predicted 2nd-3rd cousin at FTDNA from Saudi Arabia who told her both his parents are from the Harbi Tribe, but he's not sure who her father would be. They share a ton of segments, but the largest one is only like 14 cM.

    So to all DNA testers waiting for that close cousin to arrive in your match list--hang in there! It was a long five years (well, sort of, because everything was new and I was constantly learning about DNA etc., so it didn't feel like time was dragging while I waited), if that makes sense.

    I really hope everyone who is looking for family find them very soon.

    And so much gratitude to Gedmatch and forums like this and all the DNA bloggers who help people understand this process.

  • #2
    Charlotte, yes the statistics here are amazing, truly amazing! Thank you for sharing your remarkable journey. Time and chance happens to us all.


    • #3
      Yes, I know! Thanks. But I keep it took five years for the first cousin, and now it's 2 years and more cousins have arrive. So seven years in all three companies. It would be interesting to have some statistics on average waits for close DNA matches.


      • #4
        There's so much you can learn from DNA it's really intriguing for me as well. I'm glad you shared your story it was refreshing.


        • #5
          incredible story! I hope i'm as successful!