Mervin’s search

*All names have been changed.

Search goal: Find Mervin’s biological parents

*All names have been changed.

Mervin is a Canadian adoptee whose wife Liz reached out at the start of 2022 for help with his search. At this point, they had the maiden name of his birthmother, and knew that she had also been adopted, which of course complicated the search and made it a real puzzle to figure out.

Mervin’s AncestryDNA matches split into 6 groups:

  • His top match Greg tied together two of the groups which were of English ancestry.
  • Another match Anna tied together two other English ancestry groups.
  • There was also a very small Italian group with only a few distant matches.
  • The last group was of Germanic ancestry.

I started building out trees for all of the match groups except the Italian group as that group had too few matches to work with. Liz and I were able to find the common ancestors for each group, but none of the groups seemed to connect at all, though this was kind of to be expected as Mervin’s birthmother Pamela was also adopted.

After Liz uploaded Mervin’s DNA to Gedmatch, we were able to see that one of the matches from the Germanic group matched Mervin on the X chromosome, meaning that group was maternal. However, there were no other X DNA matches there. So we went to 23andMe and looked at the matches.

23andMe helped confirm that Anna’s match groups were also from Mervin’s maternal side as he had an X DNA match from one of Anna’s groups on there.

In the summer of 2022, Ancestry’s new feature that split ethnicity helped show that Mervin was a quarter Italian on his paternal side, which was something we had been stumped on as Anna’s great aunt had married an Italian man, but one of their descendants was an X DNA match to Mervin. Now we knew that the Italian side was not from the maternal side, we were even more confused. It also helped us reason that Greg’s match groups were paternal, since both of Mervin’s biological parents were half English. 

Time went by and Liz and I theorized that Anna’s maternal grandmother was likely the birthmother of Mervin’s birthmother. This was finally confirmed when a close match appeared on 23andMe that turned out to be a maternal half-sister of Pamela, who was also looking for her. She confirmed that Anna’s grandmother was indeed Pamela’s birthmother.

Just after this, Liz received Mervin’s non identifying information, which had enough information about Mervin’s biological father’s family to point us to one of Greg’s first cousins as being Mervin’s birthfather. The birthfather’s father’s line was the small Italian group, and Mervin’s non-identifying info supported this as well.

Lastly, the final DNA mystery was who Mervin’s maternal grandfather was, from the Germanic group. Mervin’s second highest match was a man who only had the display initials RP, managed by someone else and his tree was called the Grantham Family Tree and had no viewable people in it. So it wasn’t much to work with, and though we knew he was from the Germanic group, I had no idea what the relation could be, with so little to go of off. What was his age? Sometimes initials are used for minors, and there was no indication in his profile of his age.

We had built out this group and had narrowed it to a large set of siblings, one of which was the parent of Pamela’s biological father. After building out a huge tree by going through every sibling and finding their spouses, children, and obituaries, I found a sister that had had four daughters and one son. One of the daughters had married a man with the last name P, and their son had married a lady with the last name Grantham! We knew this match had to be this man, who was a first cousin of Pamela. With only one son, we knew that RP’s maternal uncle was Pamela’s biological father.

Though we had finally completed Mervin’s biological family tree, we still had not found Pamela. However, eventually Liz found a family in voters lists that fit the description of Pamela’s adoptive family in the non identifying information. I found contact information for Pamela’s brother, so Liz called him and chatted with him. He knew about Mervin, and gave Pamela’s contact information to Liz and Mervin.

After over a year of searching, Mervin and Liz are happy to have found some answers. 

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