Establishing the Forest from the Trees

The topic for today is a bit abstract to follow. Keep in mind the idea behind building out several DNA related cousins' trees is to eventually establish who someone's birth relative might be. If you keep this in the forefront of your mind as you read this post, you can follow along with better clarity.

At times when one relative does not seem to produce someone we can substantiate with our non-identifying information for an adoptee we must occasionally put that cousin and that tree aside to work on another DNA related cousin and their tree.

The idea behind working out the family tree of a different cousin is so we can either attempt to connect this other ancestor to the existing tree previously built or discover that the new family tree does not connect to the first tree at all.

If one can connect two different genetically linked cousins with the adoptee to one another’s family trees this can potentially spell out a common ancestor between them. In that case that ancestor becomes the individual that leads forward in time to a birth relative. Stumbling across a common ancestor is rare in the beginning of our search. Normally one cannot create a basis for triangulation so early on.

What normally occurs is that one cannot connect one tree to the other. This can begin to suggest that the cousin we built out on our first tree is from the other side of the maternal or paternal side. Say in this case one can find clues like a surname for the birth mother in the latter tree that does not exist in the first. Under these circumstances it would suggest the father’s side may come from the first tree we built where the only connection one might make between them would be from their conception of the adoptee to the birth mother’s side of the family.

While it is essential to establishing the validity of each individual added to one’s tree as well documented and substantiated as possible, one must not lose sight of the overall objective; that the entire tree must be treated like a single DNA relative that either fits into the maternal or paternal side of an adoptee. As long as we can continue to find ways to establish that your non-identifying information is somewhat based in reality of actual names, dates, places, and other circumstantial evidence we can still understand what kind of search this will become.

That being one where the information we have is credible, filled with half-truths, or completely filled with misinformation. In either case we are working to establish a pattern from which to evaluate the merit of our information.

As odd as it may sound finding out our non-identifying information is incorrect does not mean we cannot still use it to find birth relatives. There have been cases where I could see a pattern where someone was trying to deliberately push people in the opposite direction from finding a birth mother.

In one such case the individual picked names, places, and information that was not accurate. However, their first and last name did appear to be genuine. Knowing this allowed me to concentrate on that alone and ignore other information shared. It can save us a lot of time knowing where truth begins and ends.

Some immediately put one and one together and think that this birth relative never wanted the adoptee to find them. It is important not to think we can jump to such conclusions and understand the decisions someone in their position used to justify misinformation. We are not even sure the non-identifying information was even transcribed from the birth mother.