Testing the waters for truth

Sometimes I will put aside a well-established family tree with genetically aligned cousins, to take all the information I have in the non-identifying information and create a separate tree from scratch.

I know, I know. I would be asking the same question. Why? Well there comes a time when the only piece of information that seems to be accurate is the DNA test. That’s right, every bit of our information we have seems false. Why would I consider that to be the case? When you go out around a thousand people genealogically and the only thing that seems to be true is that we are either in the birth father’s side of the family or the birth mother completely lied about everything we have available to locate her.

There are two ways to approach this. First we can assume the tree just built is the paternal side and that is why we cannot find anything to substantiate the birth father; because we either have no information on him or what we do have is too weak to help substantiate it. The other alternative is that we are working on the birth mother’s tree and nothing but the year she might have been born is the only piece of information we hope is true.

On the fence with both these choices, I will put the tree on hold, and take the non-identifying information as true by finding someone that matches everything I can. This is feasible to perform, as long as the name is not too common. Finding a Jane Doe in some State is going to be difficult to narrow down. Still with all the rest of the information we might have with possible maiden name, State she was born in, relatives that passed away at a certain time, a claim that the birth father may not have been alive anymore, or having a certain amount of living births before the adoptee was born, can all help narrow the individual we choose.

Although, it can become quickly apparent that the individuals you test this out on fail quite quickly. Within a generation or two, I can usually debunk the person I pick as the birth mother based on the non-ID. Call it my last ditch effort to pull the rabbit from the hat.

Faced with the choice of believing the tree we have with the closest genetic cousins just happens to belong to the birth father, we have a choice. One we try and narrow down the likely candidate, try and reach out to them or close living relatives, earn their truth, involve them in our story, then ask them if they would like to take a DNA test or we throw in the towel on this tree and focus on another genetically linked cousin who you have not been able to establish a connection to this family tree with.

The “other” cousin, may be the one based on the birth mother’s side of the family. It is almost better to just find out the relative you are working on, instead of starting anew on another tree. If we can establish the birth father being able to rule out all the surnames on one tree from the other makes it easier to locate the other birth parent. Still it is feasible to just assume the birth father is in the first tree and move forward building the other tree. It is certainly more time consuming, but if one never intends on reaching out to the birth father, or there is some urgency to find the birth mother, then setting it aside to focus on your actual goal is feasible. Plus it puts off having to contact people and spend money scientifically proving your link through a close genetic relative DNA test result.