Genealogy that reveals more clues by moving from the past to the present

Over the past few weeks, I have been putting time into an adoptees search for birth parents. All our evidence points toward the biological parent being a recent immigrant. In this case, we actually do have the birth certificate from the hospital where this adoptee was born. We have a name for the birth mother, clues about previous births, and a last name. We even know the age of the birth mother at the time of our adoptee’s birth. You would think, search solved before it begins. Well that would not be accurate.

Even though we have all these clues, there is a strong possibility the birth mother only moved to this location long enough to work a job and have her baby. The name would also indicate a good lead, if we could find mention of it anywhere. Yet there is no record of her birthmother, even if we change the spelling of the name. That in itself was a hard sell to make to the adoptee, because items were left with her when she was relinquished for adoption, including a small wristband made of beads spelling out the exact last name of the mother.

With all these clues and more I have not even mentioned, our adoptee has taken DNA tests at and 23andMe. We also transferred her Ancestry raw DNA results over to Family Tree DNA and have paid to have access to the entire database of ancestors who match her. Many of those who match strongly suggest an ancestor from middle to Eastern Europe. All attempts at contacting our closest matches have met in dead ends.

One possible lead in a Hungarian family tree came very close to matching circumstantially, but the clues that led us there was based on a cousin who would not respond to emails. This adoptee went to the expense of testing a potential relative and before the results came back the cousin we had been trying to reach responded saying that the tree we had made was not correct in key areas leading into the Hungarian family tree.

Many promises were made and the cousin gave us access to what she had based on the genealogy performed by family members. While this was helpful, it still put us in a bind knowing that the DNA test we just sent out would surely come back with no relationship to the individual we tested. However, it did give us a starting point that was accurate to work with, where none had existed before.

There were plenty of circumstantial bits of evidence that still kept us hoping that the individual we found might just be a relative despite the cousin stepping forward. Yet, the results came in, and it was confirmed that there was nothing shared between our adoptee and this individual we had tested. We picked up where we left off on the new family tree. This was particularly tricky to work with as many of the people we had to focus on were in fact born, lived, and died in Hungary.

One mistake was as many as I wanted to make on this family tree. So the process to move forward has been painfully slow validating everything that could be found. I reached a point where it felt like anything more would be pure speculation when I decided to do something I normally do not work on unless we are attempting to make contact with living relatives. That, of course, was to take all the individuals I had built out with a specific goal of wandering back and forth over the generation our birth mother would have been born in. Instead I brought them into the modern times. Understand that our birth mother was born around 1909. So bringing the family members into our current time frame required moving forward over a hundred years.

Although I did not have much hope working the family tree like this, I again came across records that not only brought me into modern times, but then led me right back out more than a hundred years into the past. I hit another Hungarian family tree that includes multiple pages of substantiating documentation per individual. Now this would have been a moment to celebrate, but everyone on this family tree again was born, lived, and died in Hungary.

Just like anyone else, I had to put this project aside to give myself some time to gain some perspective. While doing so the tree had become populated with hints from leading each branch of the tree in many different directions. Some even led to ancestors who migrated back into the United States. This has rekindled my hopes that we again might find an individual who could align with our clues. There is nothing yet, but I am not being hasty. The hope is to keep our tree’s integrity impeccable so another costly mistake is not repeated.