I have a very dear friend who was adopted at birth. She learned who her biological mother was many years ago and her biological mother told her her fathers name but that he was not interested in having a relationship. Last year my friend decided to take an ancestry DNA test. We talked about her results but I never personally looked at them.
After taking a DNA class, trying to learn how to prove unknown ancestors using DNA. I asked her if I could see her results so I group them and learn which side as her bio dad’s side and her bio mom’s side. I had no idea that shock I would receive as I viewed her results.
I immediately called her and informed her that she had two half brother matches. My friend knew that her biological mother had also given up two other children for adoption. As I started to work to group her matches it showed that one half brother matched on her mothers side and one her fathers. It also became very clear to me that the fathers name she was given was not her biological father’s name.
The first thing I did was to rule out the other possible relationships with the amount of DNA shared. According to ancestry, it could be a grandparent/grandchild or aunt/uncle/niece/nephew relationship. Since they would be half-siblings it is very unlikely that they could be anything but half-siblings.
I started with half brother 1 and color-coded him blue. This helped me see which matches were on dad’s side. I started with side a & b to see if we could figure which side was mom and dad. My friend quickly recognized a name from her bio mom’s side of the family. Then I was able to change headings to mom and dad. The first thing I noticed was that her two half brothers did not match each other. One was on bio dad’s side and one was on bio mom’s side. Then I added all the matches to half brother 2 in purple. The spreadsheet made it so easy to see which side the matches were on.
The next thing we did was reach out the half-brother 1 and explain that my friend was adopted at birth and was looking to learn more about her bio dad. He replied with information about his dad and siblings. After a couple messages, we informed him we believed he was the half-brother to my friend. I am sure this was a shock to him and we have not heard back from him again. We are still hopeful that he will reach out again after the shock of learning he has a half-sister wears off.
Then my friend reached out to half-brother 2 and had a totally different experience. He was also adopted at birth and has had a great life. I am sure he was shocked to learn that he was one of ten siblings born to there bio mom. They quickly exchanged phone numbers and even spoke on the phone. It was amazing how much they really have in common. I am looking forward to see how this all turn out with her brother.
This was a great learning experiment for me, even though it was easy to figure out since she had two half brother matches. I know that using DNA will help me with my genealogical research, I just need more practice. For me this is a great visual to see the different sides of the family, especially where one or both parents have not tested. My next project is going to see if I can group my DNA matches by grandparent. Both of my parents have tested so hopefully I create this spread sheet with four columns, one for each grandparent. I am especially interested in seeing how many matches I have for my German grandmothers family.