My adventures in genetic genealogy began as a birthday present. My mother never knew the identify of her biological father, and as she’s aged, the lack of knowledge regarding her family medical history became more concerning. So for her 60th birthday, I ordered her a DNA kit from Ancestry.com.
Once the results were in, it took me about a day to narrow her father down to two of five brothers. Both are deceased now, but I was able to communicate with several cousins that gave me a rundown of the known medical history. I found pictures and newspapers articles, and birth and death certificates. I created as big and detailed a tree as I could. By the end of it, even though we didn’t confirm which brother was her father, we felt like we had really become a part of that family. Their history was transformed into our history.
A few weeks after that, one of my good friends who was adopted asked me to take a look at her DNA results. After that, another friend asked me to look at his; then someone else asked me to look into the results for a friend. In passing, I mentioned my new hobby to someone using genetic genealogy for a family name study; he asked if I would help someone that sent him a message on Gedmatch; she then asked if I could help one of her friends, etc. It’s really taken on a life of its own!
I’m not always successful in finding the exact parent–most people understand it’s dependent on the right matches and the right records: they’re just happy to have something: family names, locations, maybe even pictures of extended family.
I hope someone may benefit from the techniques and tricks I use to track down birth parents. I really do believe everyone has the right to know where he or she comes from and the right to fill in the missing pages of their book.