Search goal: find Melissa’s biological father.
*All names have been changed
In November 2020, I happened to check my Ancestry matches as I do from time to time, and I saw I had a new match! It was a young woman only a year older than me, living about an hour away. We weren’t a very close match, but I could immediately tell she was from my paternal side of my family. I decided to message her, and to my luck, she replied within minutes.
She told me that a few years ago, her mother had revealed to her that she used a sperm donor to conceive. My match, who I will call Melissa, took an Ancestry test in hopes of learning more about her paternal side. She had a few non identifying pieces of information such as where her biological father had gone to university.
I told Melissa that we were related through my paternal side somehow, so I started exploring my paternal side and seeing who could be possibilities based on age and location. There were a few possibilities, but my biological father told me he was sure it couldn’t be who we thought it was (and he was right. It was someone else).
During my research, I learned about the Leeds method, which is an easy way to sort matches into groups based on grandparent lines. Now I use the Leeds method before anything else when I start a case. So Melissa and I sorted her matches, and that helped us realize we were related though her maternal grandfather- so her paternal side was completely a mystery.
However, her top match was from one of her paternal groups. Melissa reached out to this match, who was an older lady living in Europe. Her match shared that all of her family was in Europe except for one cousin that had moved to Canada. Another match of Melissa’s shared the name of the cousin that had moved to Canada, and then our research became very fast from there. The cousin that had moved to Canada had one son who went to the same university that Melissa’s biological father had attended. When we found pictures of the son, there was no denying the resemblance between him and Melissa. Later, I took a look at Melissa’s matches and she had matches to all four grandparent lines of the biological father. Since he has no brothers, it had to be him.
Melissa is happy to know the identity of her biological father and plans to reach out to him when the time is right. Melissa and I have since met in person and plan to meet again soon.