I took a DNA test in May and since then discovered my DNA matches 3 adopee 'cousins'

+12 votes
Since taking my DNA last May through Ancestry, I have found at least three adoptee "cousins" in the 1C1R to 2nd cousin range after contacting some of my matches to figure out where they were on my family tree. The first one I discovered on Ancestry. The second when I uploaded my DNA to My Heritage and the third when I was contacting some of my matches on My Heritage.  All of them thus far are some how connected to my paternal grandmother's large family. Only one I could tell her exactly how her birth mother was connected to my grandmother's family once she relayed me her birth grandfather's name (a nephew of my grandmother).  Two of adoptees are in their 70's and the last was in her 40's

I also have found two family members of adoptees who have passed in my matches which I discovered when I contacted them.

Is it so unusual to have so many adoptees in one family?
in The Tree House by L. Harrington G2G6 Mach 1 (10.1k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
I am an NPE. The daddy that raised me was not the father that caused me.  It has pretty much been the rule rather than the exception for my match list. More often than not, when I hear back from a match, it is to hear that they, or their parent, were also adoptees.  Six out of the first 25 matches in my 23andMe list are either adopted or the child of an adoptee. On Ancestry, excluding my immediate family members, there are at least 3 adoptees and at least one NPE in the first 8 matches on my match list.  They are everywhere on my various match lists.  It is very depressing to think of there being so many people searching for who they truly are. There are a tremendous number of us out there.  I found my answer back in April. So many have yet to do so. When one of us does, it seems another 10 take our place.
My 23andme list includes two adoptees in my top 25 and two descendants of adoptees.

5 Answers

+10 votes
No. I am an adoptee, and have found siblings, half-nieces and nephews, first cousins, and first cousins once removed, etc. on both maternal and paternal sides of the family. The woman who gave birth to me had four children. I have found one first cousin once removed on the maternal side whose mother was adopted. The "Removeds" on the maternal side? Their father was adopted. On the paternal side, one of my cousins was adopted.

When you go back that many generations, I think it's even more common to find adoptees. People didn't live as long, and children were placed with relatives or neighbors/good friends. It gets harder to find genealogical relatives when parents died young and children were raised by aunts, grandparents, in-laws, etc. and there were no records kept.
by D Kenney G2G6 (10.0k points)
+7 votes
I don't have a statistical answer to point you to, but I have some experience researching families for adoptees wishing to learn who their bio parents are. Personally, about 20% of the cases I work on seem to have several adoptions in the family. The same can be said for NPE, about 20% have NPEs in their direct line relatives or close relatives. Friends who are also in this line of work often state that "adoptions" and "misattributed parentage" run in families. If you do find a statistic please post!
by S Leeland G2G6 Mach 5 (59.6k points)
I don't have statistics but I was a bit taken aback that in such a short amount of time to discover so many adoptees in my paternal grandmother's family. After my grandmother divorced my dad's biological father, he and his siblings ended up in an orphanage until she remarried. It shaped he's out look on family.   It didn't make a difference to my dad if someone was either blood, step, or adopted - they were family. And he instill that attitude in us.

I started doing genealogy because my father's birth name wasn't on any "legal" document from the late 1920's until his death. When my grandmother remarried her children from her first marriage took the name of the man I knew as my grandfather "by mutual consent". My father when he was in the Army and when he retired from the railroad had to have sworn statements from his mother and then later from his "father" stating that he had never been legally adopted and that he just 'assumed' his step father's last name. Dad has a birth record under one name and a death record under another.  (His birth father's name isn't on his death certificate - Dad prepaid for his funeral and gave them the information.)  I'm sure that a century from now some genealogist is going to be scratching their head trying to unravel that mystery.
+3 votes
Adoptees (as a group) are more likely than non-adoptees (as a total group) to take DNA tests, now that it is widely known that DNA can help find bio families.
by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (229k points)
+5 votes
Back in the "olden" days - ie from 1900 to the 1960s - it was a very shameful thing for a young unmarried female to become pregnant and so her baby was almost always  adopted out.

Also during those same years it was quite common for young men to "sow their oats' and leave behind babies that they usually never knew about and naturally these babies would also be adopted out.

I personally believe that there were far more NPE's back then than society will admit too. I know of two in my own family - one being my own mother and the other being my mothers uncle.

These days it is no longer shameful to be born outside of wedlock thanks to common law marriages (partnerships) and young mothers being encouraged to raise their own babies rather than adopting them out.
by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+1 vote
It seems safe to assume that it varies by family and locality.

I have found a number of people within my DNA matches, and have helped many find out how they fit into my tree. With that being said, it's pretty uncommon with my relatives, and I'd say many of the DNA matches are in the generation after me.

My closest such biological relative is a daughter of one of my 2nd cousins, who apparently got a girl pregnant in college in the '60s.

On my AncestryDNA, my 1st mystery relative is my 19th match, 153cM. From the shared matches he must be on my gt-grandfather Schmitz's side, so probably a 3C. He didn't reply to my query about it. He almost has to have an NPE situation in his tree somewhere.

My 26th match, at 123cM, is the aforementioned 2C1R.

My 27th match, at 121cM, is a son of a woman who had been adopted out. I was able to figure out that she had been fathered by my great-grandmother's brother (a Mahaney), who was a fireman. He went to another city at around that time, got married to somebody other than the biological mother, and returned. Probably his departure was due to his having learned of the pregnancy. So that match is also a 2C1R, but the adoptee was his mom, who is a 1C2R (so I guess she's really my closest such relative). That was in 1898.

My 30th match, at 115cM is another mystery relative. She has to be on my gt-grandfather Baxter's side, but didn't respond to my query. This is not necessarily an adoption case.

Those 4 are the only cases within my top 50 matches (60cM+) that either involve an adoptee, or are unresolved mysteries. Everybody else I know how they're related (except a few, where I have a pretty good idea who they are but am not 100% sure).

One unusual case I had was of a woman who was the product of a one-night stand, and her mother didn't remember who the guy was. So she wasn't actually an adoptee. It turned out her grandmother (a 3C of mine) was tested, so that was easy to figure out. The grandmother, however, was an adoptee - she was the product of an affair that happened while the husband was away fighting WWII.

I can also think of at least 4 cases where a 3C put up a child for adoption. I have a lot of 3Cs.

As far as history goes, my matches seem to match my family tree, going back to gt-gt-gts and beyond, so there don't seem to be any adoptees in my ancestry. If NPEs were commonplace, there would surely be some.
by Frank Stanley G2G6 Mach 7 (78.8k points)

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