Search goal: Find Kurt’s biological parents
*All names have been changed.
Kurt reached out last week for help with his search for his biological parents. He had done an Ancestry DNA test and had some non identifying information, which ended up helping out a lot. I took a look at his DNA matches first and got to work.
Right away I noticed he had a close match, who was a young girl named Cassie around my age. Her cm indicated she was either a great niece, a half niece, or a first cousin. After doing the Leeds method on Kurt’s matches, I noticed all of Kurt’s Italian matches matched Cassie. She had no tree, but a very unique name. So I looked her up and found her paternal family very easily. Her father only had one sister, who was born after Kurt had been born, so I knew that Cassie was not Kurt’s first cousin. All of the matches were from Cassie’s paternal grandfather’s side, as well. Cassie’s grandfather and his siblings are a generation older than Kurt, so I knew Kurt could not be a great uncle of Cassie’s leaving the option of Cassie being a half niece of Kurt as the only possibility.
The next day, Kurt sent me his non identifying information and it said Kurt’s biological father was Italian, which confirmed my theory that Cassie was indeed Kurt’s half niece. I also found records of Cassie’s grandfather living in the same county around the time Kurt was born.
The non identifying information also included more information about the birthmother’s side. She had left her name as Martha Jones and the non id stated that she had had a son born in 1949 and another in 1951. She had been married but was separated from her husband and living with her parents at the time Kurt was born, so I was not sure if Jones was her married name or maiden name. It also said the birthmother had four siblings, that her father was from England, and that the mother had died in an accident.
There were very few matches on Ancestry, but Kurt said that one of these matches, Donna, had been in contact with him, and she even knew what side of her family Kurt was from. Kurt told me to connect with Donna and she would be happy to help further.
The relation was through one of Donna’s great grandfathers who had been born in England. Three of his siblings had moved to Ontario, so I figured that one of the siblings was a grandparent of Kurt. However, none of the siblings that had moved to Ontario fit the non id- the sisters had died before Kurt was born, and the brother was not born in the approximate year Martha’s father was born in. Plus, they all lived in a county far away from the one that Cassie’s grandfather was from.
I was puzzled.
Then, I noticed that the brother of Donna’s great grandfather had a daughter who died as a baby, in the county that Cassie’s grandfather lived in. I thought, perhaps they had moved. counties. I started looking into that branch some more and found that he had had another daughter named Jackie, and Jackie had married someone with the last name Jones in 1948. There was a son born before 1950, and by the 1960s or even earlier, Jackie had separated from her husband, who was actually sentenced to prison for a few years for marrying another woman while still legally married to Jackie.
I was growing increasingly positive that the non identifying information had some errors or falsified information. Even as I was typing this out, I realized that it mentions how Martha was living with her parents when Kurt was born, but then in the next section says that her mother had passed away. Confusing! As I worked on this case, I also recalled Kennedy’s search, where Kennedy’s mother’s birthmother had provided a false name and birth location on the birth certificate. I wondered if something similar was happening here. I also found a picture of Jackie in the paper, and Kurt looked a LOT like her.
Donna agreed with my theory that Jackie was likely Martha Jones and that some of the non identifying information was simply wrong or had been falsified. She said she would get in touch with Canadian family members to see if they had any further details about that branch of their family. Kurt added to his linked tree, and the next day I could see that Thrulines was connecting him with matches with common ancestors from Jackie’s maternal side. Jackie passed away in the early 1970s.
In the meantime, Kurt is planning to reach out to his birthfather, who is in his 90s and still living in the county where Kurt was born, to see if he can confirm that Kurt’s birthmother’s name is really Jackie.
Thank you to Donna for her assistance and being so prompt with correspondence in this search!