Richard’s search

*All names have been changed.

Search goal: Find Richard’s biological parents

Richard is an Ontarian adoptee who was curious about his biological origins. He reached out for help and I took a look at his AncestryDNA and 23andMe matches. Richard also had some non-identifying information that he sent me a few days after I had started my research.

Richard’s Ancestry matches split into many, many groups, about 9 or 10, indicating that there weren’t a lot of close matches that had tested so these groups were representing great grandparents and further back. Half the groups had a rich Ontarian history, and the other groups were all from Scotland and England. However, he did have a very close match, Tanya, that I thought might be a half sibling after doing a little research. But Richard didn’t seem to be related either of Tanya’s parents.

Tanya matched all of the Ontarian match groups, and I was able to build out some trees and eventually had narrowed it down to a couple that tied together all of the Ontarian match groups. They had a son and a daughter, so I figured one of these children was a birthparent of Richard.

Around this time, Tanya replied to Richard’s message, saying her biological father was indeed one of the two children I had narrowed it down to. Richard was happy to connect with his half sister, and although his birthfather has unfortunately passed away, Richard also contacted a paternal half brother who was surprised to find he had two half siblings and in fact was not an only child!

Now that we had the paternal side sorted, I went back to the maternal matches and tried to make sense of the match groups. Two of the groups were slightly larger, and I was able to find the common last name, but the common ancestral couples from each group were from the 1800s, so I was a little stuck.

I focused on one group, the Trenton group, as I noticed a few of the children had come from England to Canada. But it didn’t lead anywhere. I then noticed that Richard had some matches who were related to one of the Trenton sisters’ spouses- one of the sisters that had not come to Canada. I reached out to a distant Trenton match named Daphne to see if she was able to provide any information on this particular Trenton sister and her children. She was the family genealogist like myself, and eager to help.

Around this time, Richard sent me the bit of non-identifying information he had. This had his birth last name “Faulkner”, the genders and number of siblings of his birthmother, his birthmother’s parent’s professions, and as well, a note that they had only been in Canada for two years.

I searched the Faulkner last name in Richard’s matches, and there was indeed a small group. Additionally, I was able to make a connection to the other large Scottish group, so I at least knew there was a true genetic connection to the Faulkner name. But I still didn’t know how the Faulkners and Trentons connected, and I wasn’t having any luck finding Faulkners in papers in Ontario that could be the people we were looking for.

Nearly a week went by without any progress on the Faulkners. Then, Daphne sent me a message saying she had asked her aunt about the particular Trenton branch we had been eyeing. Her aunt had replied, saying that a granddaughter of this Trenton branch had married a Faulkner and they had come to Canada! This was a huge lead! She provided some names, ages, and more information that helped me easily pull up the family online. There were many articles about them and I was surprised I had not found the family earlier.

Within an hour, I had found an obituary of one of the sisters of Richard’s birthmom. I used ScotlandsPeople to help confirm ages and quickly found the sister that was Richard’s birthmother. The obituary helped us find several family members on Facebook, and Richard reached out to them. Contact is pending!

A week later, Richard’s original birth certificate arrived in the mail and that also confirmed that the lady I had identified was Richard’s birthmother.

Thanks very much to Daphne and her aunt for all her help with this search, we could not have done it without you!

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