*All names have been changed
Search goal: Find Peter’s biological parents
Peter is a young man from Toronto who reached out for help last Monday with finding his biological family. He had done an Ancestry DNA test and a MyHeritage DNA test, knew his birthmom’s name, and had some word of mouth information from his adoptive parents.
I got to work looking at his Ancestry matches which had split into five groups. Three were Nova Scotian based, one was Newfoundland based with ties to Ontario, and the final group had very recent ties to Scotland but was also Ontario based. I figured that the three Nova Scotian groups were probably one side of Peter’s family, and the other two groups were the other side. On MyHeritage, he had a match that was at the first cousin match level, and matched the Scottish and Newfoundland groups, but unfortunately was using a screen name and had not replied to Peter’s messages.
I started making trees for the Nova Scotian families and was able to tie two of the groups together. One of these groups had the last name Randall, which was Peter’s birthmother’s last name, so I managed to narrow it down to a family branch that had moved to Toronto- the rest of the family had stayed in Nova Scotia. We reached out to a few more distant members of the Randall family to see if anyone remembered a Tina Randall. A day later, I even managed to connect the third Nova Scotian group to Randall branch that had moved to Toronto, and felt confident I had narrowed it down to a set of siblings that Peter’s birthmom was from. But none of the family could recall a Tina. We were puzzled. Could ‘Tina’ have been a fake name?
Peter had also uploaded to Gedmatch to see if there were any additional DNA matches there. There weren’t, but interestingly, he matched with one of the Newfoundland matches on Ancestry there, and Gedmatch showed that they shared X DNA. Males only receive X DNA from their maternal side, so I knew that the Newfoundland group had to be on Peter’s maternal side. I was confused briefly, but then started to think… What if Tina’s last name at the time of Peter’s birth was the last name of a former husband? And the Randall parent was actually Peter’s birth father?
This all came to me on Christmas morning, and I messaged our Randall family member who had been helping us and asking around. A few hours later, he messaged saying we had solved the search! Tina had indeed been previously married to a man from the Randall family, and Peter also had a full older sister. It was Peter’s birthfather that was from the set of siblings I had narrowed it down to. And at the same time this was unfolding, Peter’s high match from MyHeritage had messaged him back, saying her aunt was Tina [last name from the Scottish group]! She quickly messaged her aunt, and moments later, Peter and his birthmom were chatting on Facebook and were very happy to have reconnected. How’s that for a Hallmark Christmas moment! I am so happy for Peter and his family. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all.