Gianne’s search

*All names have been changed

Search goal: Find Gianne’s biological parents

Gianne is an adoptee who reached out for help finding her biological parents- her friend who I had helped two years ago thought I might be able to help her out. She had done an AncestryDNA test, and also had several papers of non identifying information, which ended up being essential to the search. The non identifying information had her biological parent’s first names, birthdates, birthdates of their own parents, and ethnicity descriptions as well. It was much more information than I usually see.

I took a look at Gianne’s matches and got to work sorting them out. Each parent’s side split into four groups:

Parent 1’s groups were:

  • Group 1: Ontario based group connected by the last name Simpson
  • Group 2: Scottish based group connected by the last name Paterson
  • Groups 3 and 4: Manitoba based Russian Mennonite group. There was some overlap in these groups but it was the smallest group and I was unable to confirm a last name for either group due to endogamy and the matches being very distant.

Parent 2’s groups were:

  • Group 1: Scottish based group connected by the last name McLean
  • Group 2: Scottish based group connected by the last name McPherson. There was a little bit of overlap between group 1 and 2.
  • Group 3: English based group connected by the last name Nixon.
  • Group 4: Another Scottish, and New Zealand based group, I was unable to find the last name of this group.

At first I was a little overwhelmed with the amount of groups and that so few of them seemed to have ties to Ontario where Gianne’s biological parents were from. I randomly decided to look at Parent 2’s matches first and found the common ancestor couple for the McLean and McPherson groups. They had had a daughter born in Scotland who had come to Ontario, so I traced her tree down and found that she had a granddaughter that fit the description and had the same birthdate as Gianne’s paternal grandmother. So I figured Parent 2 was paternal and Parent 1 was maternal.

Though I now knew who Gianne’s paternal grandmother was, it was harder to find information on her as she was still living, and I did not know her current married name (Gianne’s paternal grandfather had passed away) so I decided to pause on this side for now and look at Gianne’s maternal side.

Now that I knew Gianne’s top Ancestry match, Rachel, was maternal, I traced Rachel’s tree and found that her maternal grandparents connected the Simpson and Paterson group. Reading the ethnicities of Gianne’s grandparents, I figured that one of Rachel’s maternal aunts was going to be Gianne’s maternal grandmother.

I had 3 aunts to look at, so I found all their Facebook profiles and searched through them for any possible mentions of Gianne’s biological mother’s name. I saw a lady had liked one of their recent posts, and her name that she was using on Facebook was a common nickname for a longer name. So I clicked her profile and found that someone had wished her a happy birthday, and her birthdate was the same birthdate as what was on Gianne’s papers. I knew I had found Gianne’s biological mother- and the resemblance was also a definite match!

I went back and looked at Gianne’s top paternal match, who I now knew was a first cousin of her biological father. I found her on Facebook, looked through and found Gianne’s paternal grandmother, which then quickly led me to the profile of Gianne’s biological father.

Gianne is pleased with my quick findings and hopes to learn more about her biological family soon.

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