Saturday, December 23, 2017

Desperately seeking Susan: Part 2

(Continued from Part 1)

non-identifying information isn't always correct, especially regarding the birth father

In MAY 2016 we were stuck figuring out a connection to the new part-Italian 1C match, so it was time for Bridget* to send her a short non-threatening message via Ancestry (please don't do this for close matches without first taking screenshots of everything related to the match in case they get spooked and hide their information). I first helped her tidy up her Ancestry profile page to make it as welcoming as possible, including adding a profile picture, in case the match was the wary type. Once bitten, twice shy. It didn't help, even though she clearly logged in after the message was sent. There was no reply.

In the meantime, Bridget received her 23andMe results. Unfortunately there were no close matches there yet.

In JULY 2016 we decided to up the ante and Bridget contacted the match and various family members of hers on Facebook.

In AUGUST 2016 several of the match's grandchildren responded to Bridget on Facebook and said they would pass the information on to their grandmother and they would get back to her. Then radio silence.

In DECEMBER 2016 out of the blue the match accepted Bridget's friend request on Facebook then called her. She told Bridget that one of her paternal uncles (now deceased) had left Albany after a troubled marriage and had lived close to Jersey City under a different name and had a son and daughter by another woman there.

I found him in the 1940 census living in New Jersey with a wife and baby daughter, under his new name which turned out to be an alias he had used as a professional boxer.** His wife's first name corresponded with a name I had seen for his wife in a family obituary. I then noticed that his Social Security Death Index included a New Jersey Last Benefit address (a missed clue). His alias first name wasn't Ray, he didn't work in a grocery store, and he was quite a bit older than expected, but the DNA and location fit. I will call him Carlo.*

In MARCH 2017 Bridget made contact with some of Carlo's descendants, including a daughter Grace* of his only child by his wife in Albany (a son, Carlo Jr, now deceased). Family members said Carlo was a ladies' man and were not surprised to learn about Bridget. He had several children by various women, including a daughter born within a year of Bridget in New Jersey.

further DNA evidence – consistent with a half-niece

In MAY 2017 Carlo's granddaughter Grace showed up in Bridget's AncestryDNA match list sharing what we would expect for a half-niece. Bridget has also matched descendants of several of Carlo's siblings who have tested since May 2016, sharing what we would expect for their respective relationships. (Note that a new match to the sister of the part-Italian 1C shared considerably less cM and therefore excluded the low-sharing half-sibling relationship possibility.)

Remember Bridget's non-responsive part-Italian 2C match? We spent a horrible amount of time researching her family to no avail – it turns out that the match was someone else altogether with the same username on social media. Oops. They have the same first and middle initial and surname (one by birth, the other by marriage) and the same year of birth. Carlo's alias surname is the surname in her username. We eventually realized that she is actually Bridget's half grand-niece, a granddaughter of one of Bridget's other paternal half-siblings.

In JUNE/JULY 2017 Bridget met with a surviving paternal brother and sister (one brother and one sister had already passed). She is still searching for her maternal brother who was also given up for adoption. He has been eligible to obtain his original birth certificate from the New Jersey Registrar of Vital Statistics since January 2017.

*This is a true story. I have permission to blog about the people who asked me for help but have not used their real names for the sake of their privacy. I have tried to limit my writing here to information pertinent to their DNA searches, but have shared other details I found with them in tree format.

**BoxRec is a great source for boxer records.

{Related resources can be accessed via ISOGG's Wiki page on DNA testing for adoptees.}

(Continued in Part 3)