Friday, May 9, 2014

AncestryDNA: Birth name confirmed

After two years, a close match has appeared at AncestryDNA for M.S., who is adopted.  This is simply wonderful!


I reached out to this person about a week ago and have not heard back yet.  If I had nothing else to go on, this would be devastating.  This situation is a bit different.

The predicted first to second cousin match has no family tree attached to his DNA results; however, his username is displayed.  From there, I obtained a short family tree he had already uploaded.  His mother's last name matches M.S.'s last name at birth!  We have the correct family, but I still need to confer with this match to figure out which person in his family may be the biological parent of M.S.- if this is possible to do.

If I have the correct birth mother identified, then M.S. and this DNA match are first cousins, once removed.  They may share DNA on their X Chromosome, which would help me further solidify this theory.  Unfortunately, AncestryDNA, unlike 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA, does not allow you to see where you share DNA with your cousins.

For background, M.S. was born and adopted in New Jersey before 1940.  This year is significant because this is when adoption records and corresponding birth certificates were sealed.  M.S. knew her original name and I viewed the adoption record at the Essex County Courthouse in Newark, New Jersey.  I requested the original birth certificate from the municipality and was told it could not be released.  I requested the original birth certificate from the state and was sent the amended birth certificate, which lists the adoptive parents as the biological parents.  (Only births through 1923 are available to the public at the Archives in Trenton.)

The problem in determining the birth mother and father is that only the "unmarried" mother was listed in the adoption papers with no age.  The surname belonged to a family in Newark of recent immigration from Germany.  This was not a small family.  Most members had multiple children and when a spouse died, the surviving spouse remarried and had more children.  I had no shortage of possible parents, either using the surname as a birth name or a married name.  It was (still is) possible that the birth mother was a visiting cousin from Germany, arrived in Newark in the 1930s, had a baby, and then went on her way- missed entirely in the 1930 and 1940 census.

Finding records on this family in Newark was not too difficult and actually dovetailed my research on my own Germany lines in Newark.  They lived and worked in the same neighborhoods and attended the same churches.  They probably knew one another and many generations later, their descendants also interact by happenstance.


  1. Wonderful news, Jody! I sure hope the match responds soon!

  2. Thanks, CeCe! This development gives me renewed hope that it's just a matter of time before a close match pops into anyone's results.