DNA test indicates an ancestor, but I can't link myself to him

+15 votes

My mother, Norma Ann Jenne (1937-2009) was adopted by the Jenne family when she was two years old. At about the same time another child (reportedly her biological half-sister) was also adopted by the same family. 

Since this group likes sources ... In his contribution to the Jenne Family Genealogy, Norman Jenne wrote that Norma Ann was adopted at the age of two and one-half. He also wrote that Susan Irene Jenne is a (biological) half-sister of Norma Ann Jenne.

I (Terri Rene) grew up hearing stories from my mother about her having been adopted. She said her biological father's surname was Mittvolski. As an adult my adoptive grandma (Evelyn) confirmed that she had seen paperwork dropped by a social worker, and in fact his surname was Mittvolski. 

In 2015 I participated in Ancestry's DNA project. I found that I am probably a descendant of David Martin Sears and his wife Amanda J Harper. They have a descendant, Audrey Estiline Starit (1913-1980) who married a Frank J Mittvalski (1903-). Audrey's sister and aunt were living in Washington state about the time my mother was born. There is one record of Audrey and Frank having a daughter (not my mother).

There are other DNA matches I would like to investigate, to link, but how do I do that when I'm dependent on the DNA results to help me find the common ancestors?

in Genealogy Help by Terri Rene DaVar G2G1 (1.5k points)
edited by Darlene Athey-Hill

2 Answers

+12 votes
Hey Terri!

Wow - it sounds like already have some nice DNA evidence to start with.  This is definitely worth pursuing.

My #1 recommendation to you (assuming that you haven't done this already) is to go on Facebook and submit a request to join this (closed) group:


This Facebook group, DNA Detectives, specializes on working with people like yourself who want to use DNA genealogy in adoption cases.  The group was started by CeCe Moore, a brilliant genetic genealogist who has had incredible success over the years working with adoptees to use DNA genealogy to find their family history:


CeCe started the group so that adoptees could connect with "search angels" - volunteers who enjoy working with adoptees who want to use genetic genealogy in their family history.  They are a really active group and have an entire methodology that you use to help adoptees use genetic genealogy in their research.

Let me know if you have any questions.  Best of luck!

by Ray Jones G2G6 Pilot (159k points)
I've joined the Facebook group and am loving the information shared. THANK YOU!
+5 votes

Hi Terri,

I 'know' David Martin Sears; that is, he's in my personal database as a distant cousin.  David's grandfather, Samuel Sears (1769-1846), was the brother of my ancestor Frances Sears (who married William Imbler), my 4th-great-grandmother.

I'm very into DNA and therefore working on mapping chromosomes.  I have several people with whom I share DNA that are descendants of William Imbler and Frances Sears.

Have you uploaded your results to Gedmatch.com?  If not, I recommend you do so.  You then can compare your DNA against people that have tested with any of the three testing companies --  Ancestry, 23andMe, FTDNA -- and see exactly what segments you share.  I could then compare your results (if you list your Gedmatch ID #) against the known Sears/Imbler descendants and see if you match any of them.

On a much more interesting note, I just searched for you on my mom's DNA test (my Sears line is through her).  Guess what?!  You are sharing DNA with my mom!  I clicked on the link for shared matches between you and my mom, and two other people show up:  jleniger and and R.S.  And they both descend from David Martin Sears... 

Have you put together a 'purported' family tree on ancestry and connected it to your DNA results?  If not, you might consider doing so.  That way, you could see who else matches you that traces back to this Sears line.

As far as other lines, on AncestryDNA, you can click on the link for 'shared matches' (like I did), and it will show you people that are matching both of you.  Then you could look for common surnames amongst those shared matches to get ideas of possible ancestors.

If you need help, feel free to drop me a PM and I'll see what I can do.  You just might be a distant cousin of mine!

by Darlene Athey-Hill G2G6 Pilot (525k points)
edited by Darlene Athey-Hill

Thanks for your reply! My GedMatch I.D. is


I've identified probable ancestors for my mother, who was adopted at the age of 2-3. This is based on Ancestry's matches. 

I'm struggling to visualize just how relationships are established through DNA. Someday I may figure it out. Meanwhile I thank you for offering to help. 


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