*All names have been changed.
Search goal: Find John’s maternal grandparents.
John’s daughter Sophie reached out recently for help finding John’s maternal grandparents. John’s mother Bonnie had been adopted, and they knew her birthday but nothing else. John had tested with AncestryDNA in hopes of finding more information.
I took a look at John’s matches and found that he had two maternal groups with fairly close matches in each group. I decided to start looking at the Templeton group first as John’s closest match was from this group.
Thankfully the matches had great trees and I was able to see that John was related to his top match Harvey through Harvey’s mother and both her parents. Harvey’s mother had lived in the province Bonnie was raised in for much of her life. She was the right age to be Bonnie’s birthmother and after looking at the tree and DNA numbers to several matches, I knew that Harvey was John’s half uncle and his mother was Bonnie’s birthmother.
The other side, the McDonald side, was also fairly easy. Several matches were descended from a couple that had immigrated from Ireland to Ontario with their children, which included two sons. One son Walter was born the same year as Harvey’s mother, and the other son was two years younger.
The family seemed to all have lived in Ontario their whole life, but I knew I was looking for a brother that had been in British Columbia around the time John’s mother was born. So I thought to search their last name (which was much more unique than McDonald!) in BC’s vital statistics record and got two results- a marriage record for Walter, who was married about a year after Bonnie was born, and a death record for Walter’s wife later that same year. Walter then moved back to Ontario and remarried.
Based on Walter being in the right location, his age relative to Bonnie’s birthmother, and DNA matches to Walter’s great grandchildren, we reasoned that Walter was the birthfather of Bonnie. John and Sophie are glad to know more about their ancestry and now know how they are related to their matches.