Maya’s search

Search goal: Find Maya’s biological parents

*All names have been changed

Maya reached out last week for help looking for her biological family. She knew her birth mother’s name and birthdate and had some helpful non identifying info to accompany the Ancestry DNA results.

As always, I got started by sorting all the matches in the 90cm-400cm range. There were 6 distinct groups, and nobody overlapped with anyone, which surprised me. 6 groups also meant it was possibly going to be a challenge, either due to not enough testers, only children, or multiple relationships and children several generations back.

 I got to work finding the six common last names of each group, and was able to find 5 of the 6 names pretty easily. Two of the groups were Ukrainian, so I figured those were likely the paternal side based on the non id. Two of the groups also seemed to have the same common last name -Murphy- but were completely different families from different parts of Canada. There was no DNA overlap. Murphy was also Maya’s birth last name.

I then started to put together mirror trees of some of the groups and started to look for marriages between the groups. Not long after, I was able to connect group 4 and group 6 through a marriage. From there, I started to look at obituaries, and found one of their daughter’s obituaries. In here was the birthmother’s name, and the siblings were listed in age order which matched the non id. With the help of fellow search angel Jessica, she found the birth mother’s older sister on Facebook. Despite an exhaustive search we did not find the birth mother on Facebook, so Maya decided to reach out to her aunt.

With 2 of the 6 groups sorted and belonging to Maya’s maternal grandmother’s side, I started to work on one of the Murphy groups. I narrowed it down to two of siblings who had married two siblings. Now one set only had a daughter, but the other set had several sons. I wasn’t sure which son was Maya’s paternal grandfather. Then I spotted a name on Maya’s maternal grandmother’s father’s death certificate- it was a Lawrence Miller, who was noted as the son in law who signed as a witness. I knew this had to be our guy. By chance, I thought to search him on the BC archives site, and his death certificate appeared. His parents were indeed the Murphy couple I had been focusing on.

With Maya’s maternal side complete, I knew that the 3 remaining groups would be her paternal side. I made a mirror tree of the larger Ukrainian group, and found that one of the children had moved to the town where Maya’s maternal side was from. The smaller Ukrainian group was the husband of a woman from the larger Ukrainian group. Further research found that the Ukrainian couple only had one child, a daughter, and the daughter had briefly married an R Murphy. This marriage had produced one son, Brent, born right around the year that lined up with Maya’s non id.

However, I could not find an R Murphy in the paternal Murphy group. I had thought it was between four brothers, but none of their names started with an R. I was puzzled. Then, in the oldest brother’s obituary, he had a son whose name started with an R. I looked into R Murphy’s mother’s side, who had the maiden name Carter and then started to look for a match group with the Carter name in Maya’s matches. Sure enough, there was a small group that started below 90cm who were connected by the last name Carter. I now had very solid DNA proof that R Murphy was the father of Brent, and Brent was Maya’s birthfather. This was further backed up by R Murphy having passed away in the USA, and Maya’s top match was someone that was very likely a half aunt, located rather close to where R Murphy had passed away. This person shared all the paternal Murphy matches as well as the Carter matches.

Although initially a very puzzling and confusing search, Maya is very happy to have her answers and hopes to connect with her biological family soon.

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