Darlene’s search

Search goal: Find Darlene’s biological parents

*All names have been changed.

Darlene reached out in June for help finding her biological parents. She knew her birthname, approximately how old her birthmom was when she was born, and that her birthmom was from Ontario.

With this information in mind, I started sorting her Ancestry matches as I always do. Her groups split into four groups, and though Darlene’s top match was only 306cm, these matches had some good trees and I was able to get a mirror tree going pretty quick. Her top match also had the same last name “Hobart” that Darlene was born with, so I kept in mind that his group was likely one of Darlene’s maternal sides. Often, adoptees are given their birthmother’s last name when they are born.

I was able to find a marriage between the Hobart group and the other two groups (one group was actually a great grandparent group, which can happen if there’s not quite enough matches from below the grandparent generation). This marriage produced four children, three daughters and a son. I figured one of the daughters was Darlene’s birthmother. The son had unfortunately passed away, but from his obituary I was able to track his sisters down on social media. Interestingly, Darlene’s birth first and middle names were the names of two of the sisters! Naturally, I started to look into the third sister, and was able to find her age easily online since she was now living in the USA. This sister’s age lined up with how old Darlene’s birthmom was when she was born, so we knew it had to be her.

With the maternal side confirmed, I turned my attention to the last group of matches. Again, I was quickly able to make a mirror tree, as the family name was distinctly Ukrainian and the matches had good trees.

Darlene also had about 25% Southern Chinese heritage in her ethnicity estimate. Two of the Ukrainian sisters had married two Chinese brothers, so I figured Darlene was a grandchild of one of the couples. Darlene only had one match from the Ukrainian side that was a descendent of either of the couples- and he was the key. Because he was significantly lower than a first cousin match with Darlene, I knew she had to be descended from the other couple (he was an average second cousin match level).

This other couple had me stumped for a while. I knew when exactly they had died in a certain region of Ontario, where the Hobart family had lived also, but I was only able to find them indexed in a region record. I decided to email the library a month later, after still not finding anything about the couple, asking for them to scan both of their obituaries to me. To my surprise, they scanned them back to me in under an hour, and then I had the info I needed. The couple only had one son, so I knew he had to be the biological father of Darlene.

This was a really interesting case and an example that people do not always need to have close matches- sometimes a little non id info and your ethnicity estimate can go a long way.

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