I feel both grateful and guilty – at the same time. Grateful to my friends who encouraged me to dig and helped me analyze data but guilty that I found him so quickly when others have searched for years.
How I found my biological father in 10 easy steps:
- First, tested with AncestryDNA. Results = 40% Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. Whaaatttt? Not what I expected. Nah, not possible.
- Next, tested with FamilyTreeDNA. Results = 43% Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. Umm...there are no Jews in my ancestry. What’s going on here?
- Then, tested with 23andMe. Results = 47.7% Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. Uh Oh. Oh gosh. No. Could it be? Oh goodness.
- The unthinkable hit me: one or both of my parents may not be a biological parent. Seriously?!? I stared at my results in disbelief. Went to that night bed dazed and confused. The obsession set in.
- Attended DNA workshops, joined a DNA Special Interest Group, read DNA how-to books at night until I couldn’t hold my eyes open, bugged my knowledgeable friends endlessly. Saints they are, my friends.
- Sent many many many emails to my matches; most total strangers. Got 1 or 2 responses.
- Discovered one 1st cousin match and one 2nd cousin match online. Focused on those. Like a laser, I did.
- Couldn’t make contact with either until I found the 2nd cousin’s address via a Google search (i.e. Internet Stalking). Mailed him an old-fashioned letter. The kind you put in an envelope and drop in a metal box.
- A week later, he called and gave me names to research. The entire family were German and Russian Jews. My 2nd cousin handed me the key to the truth. God bless him.
- Created a family tree based on those names. Lo and behold…staring at the 1940 census for Lenoir County, NC…I knew I’d found my man. A family friend from my childhood. I knew him well. Apparently, so did my mother.