Alex’s (and Shannon’s!) search

Search goals: find Alex’s biological parents, and Shannon’s biological father

*All names have been changed. 

Alex’s search was one that took over 2 months to solve, and also had a mystery within the search that ended up being solved too!

Alex was curious about their heritage and did not know anything about their biological relatives, besides having an older half brother. Fortunately they had a lot of matches which sorted nicely into four groups. 

Their top two matches I estimated would be first cousins of Alex’s birth mother (I was later correct). So this helped sort the groups into “Side A” (birth mother side) and “Side B” (birth father side). Of course, at this point I still did not know which side were maternal and which was paternal and simply labeled them as side A and side B. 

I was able to use these top two matches to figure out what side of their family Alex was from, and then started looking at the maternal aunts and uncles of the top two matches (they were siblings). 

For side A, there were many siblings that were a potential grandparent of Alex. Luckily, there was a decent family tree and it had information about spouses of the maternal aunts uncles. I was looking for the spouse set that Alex matched both side of their family of- and I eventually found it. This led me to three sisters and a brother from the “Yates family” who were a potential birth parent of Alex- at this point I was still not sure which side was which. One of the top matches also sent me a very helpful spreadsheet of the family when I messaged them explaining what I was researching. 

I decided to switch tracks and focus on side B to see if that would get me anywhere. I was able to find the common ancestral couple of one of the groups “the Butler Family” within side B. Then, I found the other common ancestral couple of “the Walker family”. I had a feeling that a child of each of these couples would be the other set of Alex’s grandparents (I was later also correct about this). However, I could not find any obits of the Walker parents to find their children’s names. 

Then I got stuck. 

The top two matches from the Walker group seemingly had no links to the Walker family in either of their very filled out trees. So I took my chances and messaged Jillian (one of the matches)- and Jillian’s mother Shannon was an even higher match, only slightly below the two siblings from the Yates family group. 

I was dumbfounded when Jillian messaged me back and said that she hadn’t even HEARD of the Walker family. We were puzzled. I could tell through shared matches that her mother was descended from the male side of the Walker common ancestral couple. I had a theory but wanted Jillian to understand my thought process first before springing it on her. 

I showed Jillian how to sort her mother’s matches using the Leeds method to determine what side of HER family the Walkers were from. To her surprise, the sorting indicated that Shannon’s paternal side was where the Walker connection was from. By sorting the matches, Jillian also realized that they had no connection to the “Wilson” family- Shannon’s dad wasn’t biologically related. 

Though this would be a shock to anyone, Jillian and Shannon handled it very well! I shared my theory that “Joseph Walker” was likely Shannon’s birth father. However, in another interesting twist, Shannon was born only half an hour from where Alex was raised, yet Alex was born in the same town Joseph had died in. It was about a four hour flight between locations. 

So how did Joseph end up where Shannon was born? We were puzzled. Jillian and I decided to reach out to the next highest Walker match “Jessica” in hopes that she would help. And she did! She said that Joseph (who was her grandfather) had been living there briefly during the Second World War- where Shannon’s mother had been living with her husband. Then, Joseph came back home and settled (where Alex was born) and had one child “Herman” with a brief marriage to a lady whose family members Alex matched. Then Joseph had four more children with another lady (Alex was not a match to this lady’s relatives). We figured Joseph was the biological father of Shannon. Jessica was intrigued and said she would ask her father to take a test. 

I was so excited with this information. I asked Jessica about Herman, born during the brief marriage and how many children he had. She said two- one was adopted, and one was biological. I knew this had to be Alex’s birthfather (I was wrong)! Finally, I was able to tell which sides of the family were maternal, and which were paternal. It was now between the sisters from the Yates family of which one was the birth mom. However, I did not know who the birth father’s mother was. I assumed it was a woman from the Butler family but could not make any connections even using several obituaries. 

Two months went by. Jillian and I kept in touch. Then a few days ago, I happened to check Alex’s matches and saw that Jessica’s father was a new match- he was slightly higher than Shannon and in the perfect range for great half uncle. Jillian logged in to her mother’s account and indeed, Shannon was a perfect half sibling match to Jessica’s father. We shared this news with Jessica, and at the same time, I asked her if anyone in the family knew who the mother of Alex’s presumed birth father was. 

She took a few days to get back to me, but Jessica replied and said that there was actually a third son of Herman that she had not known about until she asked. The third son’s mother was from the Butler family and was raised by his mother, and once I read that, things instantly fell into place. It wasn’t the son that I thought it was- it was his rather unknown half brother. The third son was married to one of the sisters from the Yates family, and I knew the search had finally been solved. The third son had even been in my research tree- and he had an older son who I now know is Alex’s half brother. 

If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading!! This was a very interesting 2 in 1 search. 

One thought on “Alex’s (and Shannon’s!) search

  1. Very interesting story/results. I really enjoy how in-depth your research is and how much effort you put into solving these cases. Can’t wait till the next post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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