*All names have been changed.
Search goal: Find Katherine’s biological parents
Katherine reached out to me around the end of October for help finding her biological parents. She had been adopted in the 1960s and was looking to see if her biological parents were still alive and if she had any siblings. She only had her birthmom’s name and age to go on (both of these were later proven to be incorrect). So I took a look at her Ancestry matches and got to work.
Katherine’s matches split into four distinct groups- two were from the Maritimes, one was Jewish, and the other was of English descent. I figured that the Maritimes groups were probably one side of her family, and the other two groups were from the other. As there were more matches with trees from the Maritimes groups, I started to build trees and placing the matches, and quickly arrived at a couple that I suspected was one set of Katherine’s grandparents. They were all from Nova Scotia, and Katherine had been born in Ontario, so I started looking for children of this couple that had been living in Ontario when Katherine was born. There were only two sons that had moved to Ontario, and after confirming with one of their sisters that no other siblings were living in Ontario around the time Katherine was born, I figured that one of these two brothers was Katherine’s biological father. Unfortunately, they were both deceased, and one did not have any biological children, so I decided to put them to the side for now and focus on Katherine’s probable maternal groups.
Fortunately, Katherine had been in touch with many of her matches from her presumed maternal sides, and one of her matches from the English group, the “Derkson” family, had even suggested that her cousin Lorraine was Katherine’s biological mother (she was later right!). However the cousin did not know Lorraine’s whereabouts, but mentioned she had a daughter Darlene who was working in a specific profession in the city where Katherine lived, but did not have her contact info either.
Around this point in the search, I ended up finding the other obituary of one of the presumed biological fathers- and it mentioned that he had a daughter Darlene. Thinking that this was perhaps more than a coincidence, I started to look for obituaries of Lorraine Derkson’s parents to see if Darlene was mentioned. A library sent them to me, which confirmed my theories and revealed Lorraine had been married to one of the brothers I had suspected was Katherine’s biological father! I knew I was on the right track.
Next, I looked for Darlene, thinking that she was very likely a full sister of Katherine. I searched Darlene’s name along with her profession and was able to find her pretty easily. She looked exactly like Katherine, I was amazed! Katherine and I chatted about what to do from here, and then she asked if I could call Darlene and explain my theories. She was very surprised when I called her and explained our findings carefully and thoroughly. Darlene also got in contact with Katherine, and told her that she had done a 23andMe test! She mentioned she was about a quarter Jewish, which Katherine’s Ancestry ethnicity estimate also suggested.
This was amazing news. I had already helped Katherine upload her DNA to MyHeritage (another DNA site that takes uploads from Ancestry and 23andMe) and told Darlene she could do this too, and it would confirm their relationship.
Darlene uploaded her DNA to MyHeritage and eventually it was confirmed that Katherine and Darlene are full sisters! They are very excited to meet.