New to Genealogy research, looking for unknow father

+3 votes
I hope im posting in the right forum, im sorry if im not.

I would love to find my unknown father. I of course have DNA matches, but I seem to be hitting dead ends and not a lot of information. I am new to this and I imagine there are things I could be doing that I dont know about yet. Any help or advice is welcomed.
asked in Genealogy Help by Sandra Bell G2G Rookie (220 points)

I was able to find my mother's birth parents (she was adopted) using DNA and genealogy. I noticed your WikiTree profile isn't linked to a GEDMatch kit. If you haven't already, try uploading your DNA to GEDMatch and link your GEDMatch kit to your WikiTree profile. There's also the adoption angels project which you should probably get into contact with, and no, you do not just have to be an adoptee for them to help you out, as far as I know.

2 Answers

+2 votes
Hi Sandra! It seems that you are attempting a formidable task, and more of a detection job than plain old genealogy. It's difficult to offer specific advice without knowing what facts you already know, and also what you may be able to surmise. I'm guessing that your mother is no longer around, or is not willing to co-operate with your search. Are there any siblings or friends of your mother who might be able to help?

Finding an unknown father isn't possible by using genealogy alone, unless his identity was recorded somewhere, perhaps on a birth certificate or adoption papers. If he is actually unknown to everyone except your mother then the first action to take is to gather up a list of possible subjects. It's not unusual for the man himself to be unaware that he is a father, and in some cases even the mother isn't certain which of the men she had relationships with was the father of her child. But a little background study of the social groups in which your mother moved in the year prior to your birth should enable you to identify some likely men.

I would search for men in an age range from one year younger to five years older than your mother,in the following groups (and any others that you might think of) - neighbours, workmates, attendees of the same schools/colleges as your mother, attendees of the same church as your mother. Compiling this list is likely to show up some patterns in your mother's life, which might then give you more ideas of the best direction to head your search. When you have a list, pick out those individuals who appear more likely possible fathers, and find out everything that you can about them - what they were doing around the time of your conception, and what they did in the time immediately afterward.

If you can find some men who seem strongly likely to be your father, then you need first to ascertain whether they are still alive, and if not, whether they have descendants. You should then consider very carefully whether to approach them, and how best to do it. Once contact is made, first ask if they believe it possible that the individual is your father, and then ask if they would be willing to undertake a DNA test for comparison.

Good luck with your research!

Best regards

Dave Seccull
answered by Dave Seccull G2G6 (6.3k points)
0 votes

Hi! I saw you put up your GEDMatch kit number. Awesome!

So for starters, it says you're a DNA match to someone on WikiTree, Mike Stark. You both need to build out your trees more. Before you contact him, try to get as far as you can on your mother's line. Her parents, her grandparents, her great grandparents, etc. I can try building out Mike's tree on the profiles I can actually touch -- that aren't privacy locked.

You have two fairly large matches to A476362 and T180653, on Ancestry and FamilyTreeDNA respectively. Your DNA was tested on Ancestry, so you should be able to find A476362 in your list of matches. If they have a family tree up on Ancestry and it's connected to their DNA, that could help you a lot. But again, you have to build out your mother's side before you progress any further with contacting people.

I found another DNA match for you on WikiTree that I'll try to build out.

When you're making profiles for your mother's line, remember to add sources from FamilySearch so that everyone can see how you're finding these people. For example, for your mother, you have a source to Ancestry. The same source exists on FamilySearch. To cite it, you just go to the source, click on "Documentation Information", and copy what's beneath the header "Citing this Record". Then you go to the profile and replace the appropriate Ancestry source with the FamilySearch source... or put the FamilySearch source in, whatever the case may be.

It's a long, slow, hard journey, but it's not impossible to find your biological father.

answered by G. Borrero G2G6 Mach 8 (82.3k points)
It seems that Mike's tree is mostly private so I can't add anything for his mother's line, and what I can add for his father's line leads right into Germany/Prussia. I'll be starting on the other match's tree shortly.
thank you so much for he help, that is fabulous. I love seeing people willing to help with such a task and I love that people understand why this would be important to me. I will be working more on my wiki tree this week and I will follow the advice you've given. I started on it and then realized how much more intensive this site is compared to others.

Again, thanks so much!
The genealogical community can be really great, especially here, especially those who have dealt with adoptees or uncertain paternities. My mother was adopted as a baby, and passed away before she got to find out who her parents were. Only in 2015 did I find out, and boy, did I have to do a lot of work for it. It was really rewarding, but I would hate to see someone forced to solo that work. It was made worse by my late maternal grandparents who... uh... well... they were... hm. My late maternal grandmother had 14 children between four or five men, and my late maternal grandfather had 10 children between three women. Assuming no others are hiding out there. And I had no names to go on initially, and the state the adoption took place in, NY, is one of the most restrictive in the world. As it turns out, my mother could have applied for permission to see her long form birth certificate in 2015. If she hadn't. Y'know. Passed away in 97. Anyway, what this giant paragraph is saying is, I don't like the idea of people dying before knowing who their parents were, because it breaks my heart to know my mom never got to know she had a family out there with some really wonderful, still-living siblings. I'll do what I can.
The first number you mentioned here will link to my mother's side.  I've actually already contacted them and got a lot of info from my mother's side of the family tree.   The 2nd number, I don't know which side they come from yet.  
What you're describing is a fear of mine. Knowing how possible it is, I'm afraid of rejection but I'm really afraid he may no longer be living.  My mother says she is giving me all the info she has, I have a first name, some dates in the military, where he was stationed and approximate age.  I contacted a 1st-2nd  cousin through ancestry, he finally logged in today after no activity for 2 months.  He didn't contact me back.  That close of dna, he knows my father if there was no adoption. I am very willing to share the info I have if you want it, probably is best through a private message.
I'm not sure how often I'll be able to respond since I'm in grad school and our week off just ended, but if you want to shoot me a private message with the info, I'll be glad to help out whatever I can. From there we can switch to private e-mail, since when you send a message on WikiTree, it'll give your e-mail address.

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