Adding DNA matched grandparents from an adopted person (Discretely)

+13 votes
My father was adopted in 1939, I've taken a DNA test and have found through it who my paternal grandparents are. They were not married and I believe from the adoption records that my paternal grandfather never knew of my father's existance. Furthermore, I know it was typical at teh time for adopyion agencies to tell the mothers that their child had died in child birth when giving them up for adoption so the mother's either didn't have a change of heart of regret their decision later. How do I tie in my DNA matched paternal grandparents without possibly devistating two other families that don't know if his existence?.
WikiTree profile: Reid Johnson
in Policy and Style by Reid Johnson G2G1 (1.4k points)
retagged by Julie Ricketts

Reid -

I just added a couple more tags to your question to get the attention of people who may be able to answer this.

We have an Adoption Angels project here with volunteers who help people find their biological families. One of them may be able to give you some good advice.

I've found and know who my paternal lines are. I'm trying to find a way to add it discretely to my family tree such that if someone from these two families in on wikiTree they don't freek out when they find out that their dad or mom didn't tell them they had a brother.

I guess it doesn't matter, because if I add my DNA test results, it will show up anyway.
This is out of my realm of expertise, Reid ... I'm hoping that someone has some tricks up their sleeves to help you out. :-)
As an adoptee who has found her birth family through lots of hands on research, I never would have found my siblings with DNA since none of them have tested. I searched for birth announcements. I asked for my birth certificate and got the original with names of parents and grandparents and birthplaces. I requested my 2 siblings BC and my parents' BCs. I was in shock that I got my originals but I had to hide it because it was illegal for adoptees to search in my home state. Within 24 hours I found the names of 2 sisters and 2 brothers. I called my oldest sister and then went to her house and spent several hours learning about the family. We still have 2 missing siblings. Seven were reunited - the sister I grew up with rejected the idea. While I learned quite a bit about the family, i didn't find out about ancestors because they didn't really ever know them. I have now found 6500+ ancestorys and 2500 DNA matches. The family members who knew about us and  knew the circumstances were very open and excited about me contacting them. I put everyone on my tree and started building. I helped my DNA 1st cousin find her birthfather's name. She hasn't contacted the family and so far they haven't done DNA testing.

I really think that in most cases, contacting the family is important. They may have been looking for a long time but don't have the funds to do DNA testing or perhaps they don't know how to go about learning more. A year ago, I traveled from MInnesota to New York and to Niagara Falls, Ontario on a genealogy trip. I was in Schnectady, NY at the historical society. They had hundreds of people there because of an event. I was there for 1 day of research for my Pinchon/Pyncheon, Slawson and Wolcott families. I was talking to the volunteer about the people I was searching for when a woman stepped out from the bookshelves and announced, "I'm your cousin. My grandfather is Henry Wolcott." We hugged, we cried, we totally forgot to take a photo but we exchanged addresses. I have contacted many people in my search of family history and I have found a lot of people who want to know more about me. You don't lose anything by trying, but if you don't, you could miss out on a lot of family history and clues.

3 Answers

+7 votes
Best answer
You can add them on WikiTree now using the following adoptee template for the adoptee, your father:

You can make his profile private if you do not wish people to see this information.

On the other hand, you might wish to add them unlinked to your father and make their profiles private also.

At this time, the choice whether to link adoptees to their adopted parents or their birth parents is the option of the tree administrator.  However, since the goal of WikiTree to create ONE human tree, I am of the opinion that it should be genetically correct, especially since our tree will be out in cyberspace long after we all are gone.  And we want those who come after us to have an easier time searching than we did.  Right?  In the event that you attach the adoptee to his birth parents, you should indicate in the biography the name of the adoptive parents, using the WikiTree number to identify them.  This also should be done on the adoptee's biography.\

Hope this helps clarify this matter for you.  If not please pm me and I will clarify.

Happy hunting!
by Saro Genova G2G5 (5.1k points)
selected by Laura Bozzay
WikiTree is especially keen on sources, but I would add that in this kind of case it's absolutely ESSENTIAL. You can't go adding some new mystery relative to a family without giving rock-solid evidence of EXACTLY why you say they belong there, and EXACTLY what the situation is.

Ellen's suggestion is equally important. If the parties involved are living, it's best if they don't first hear about it because some friend or relation who does genealogy ran across it here!
+12 votes
Have you tried to contact the families of your father's parents yet? I'm neither an adoptee nor the birth parent of adopted child, but if I were a birth parent, I believe that I would prefer that initial contact be made privately before the information was published.

Given the passage of time, and since it's likely that your father's biological parents are no longer living, your biological relatives probably will be more happy than ashamed to find out about the adoption -- and may want to get acquainted with you and your family.
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
They might still be living. Reid was born in the 1960s. I have a niece born in the 1960s. Her grandparents-- one set anyway (my parents)-- are still living. They're 92 and recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. :-)

If my dad were contacted about an out of wedlock son he'd conceived back when he was, say, a teenager, yeah, there'd be some strong ripples, even tidal waves, throughout the family .  Proceed with caution.

That said, if *I* was contacted by someone like Reid who said a dna test suggested that his father shared the same father as mine, I'd be interested and want to know. Some of my other siblings? Not so sure.
You're right that there's no guarantee of a positive reaction, and the relatives might be downright hostile. Still, it seems to me it would be best to contact them privately before publishing the information, even if the publication is done discreetly.

Reid says his father was adopted in 1939 (so the biological parents would be at least 90 years old now) and his description suggested to me that he has determined that the father's biological parents are no longer living. Thus, I  don't think he's going to be contacting (or confronting) them.
Ah I missed the 1939 data. "Never mind."  Good luck, Reid.  And I concur with Ellen. Private communications first before outing publicly.
+6 votes
I recently helped 3 women find their birth fathers, and one is building a wiki tree so this question came up.  However we were lucky in the fact that both the sets of biological parents that were having affairs that created at least 2 children had passed on, so were just left with their children and grandchildren to deal with.

When I approached the living descendents, I searched on facebook for those that looked the "most well balanced", as the family seemed to have a chain of lives that would give the nurture/nature debate some great research material.

The families were in shock and a few "oh lordy, glad mama isn't around to hear this" were shared.  However in the end, those families that are about love, acceptance and understand we are all humans having a human experience and understood forgiveness of things done long ago have no bearing on the human left behind that is simply researching for their roots.

I would strongly suggest though that there be no "online" ties to the family through "public" means unless they and their children if living are aware.  However Grandchildren I don't really feel are quite as "important"

I agree it is important to document and each person has a right to their own roots, but in this day of social media many people unfortunately find out emotionally impactful things without the "human touch" which can have devastating impacts that might not be felt if one were to here the message from another human and have time to adjust.

You may be surprised at how open they are - if they are healthy, however in the end we are not responsible for other peoples reactions.. only our own actions.. and once they have had time to adjust, or if they don't respond to attempts to communicate, then I would say go ahead and publish.. even if they aren't "happy".. because everyone has a right to their biological roots..

And just as some people will defend the person who murdered his wife saying "my uncle wasn't a murderer, he got justifiable homicide and served 7 years take off that tag".  The facts are the facts, and we have to present our history with those, which isn't always pretty.. some people want their families to resemble their "image" not necessarily the truth.

For me the truth is important.. as it is true humanity..
by Kristina Wheeler G2G6 Mach 1 (11.2k points)

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