1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

BIG Update- A Family Lineage Mystery

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by KeyFin, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    4,876
    6,112
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    Hey guys, I can use your brain power if you don't mind helping me out. I was adopted at birth and essentially had almost zero information until recently. All I knew was that my birth mom was in her 20's, married with a 3 year old, and had an affair. Her husband told her to get rid of the baby or they'd divorce so I was placed for adoption and ended up with who I call my parents. I'll refer to them as real mom/dad and the other set as birth mom/dad from here on out.

    Recently I took a DNA test and discovered a cousin that was a 5% match to me, which is pretty close in terms of DNA. He also had a son that was a 3.7% match to me, and I was related to them both on my mother's side. The elder cousin is in his late 70's/early 80's though and for him to be a 2nd cousin, that means my mom is one generation older than him (my mom would be his aunt). But that would make my mom over 100 and I'm 44, so the math fails there. Mr real mom got a brief glance of my birth mom at the hospital and she's pretty sure she was younger than her- likely mid to late 20's (that would make her around 65-70 today).

    So I'm thinking the 5% match person is a 1st cousin once removed (or even twice removed), which makes his aunt or uncle's child my mom (or his aunt's grandchild if it's 2nd removed). Right?

    Here's the math- a perfect match to a 1st cousin once removed is 6%, and a perfect match to a 2nd cousin is 2.75%. I'm a 5.0% match so he's definitely more than a 2nd cousin but the family tree gets confusing when you're plotting it in the 3rd person.

    Two days ago another wrinkle emerged, the system found my half brother. He's 38 and a very bad person who's been in jail most of his adult life. He also has at least 1 full brother (also my half-brother) so I'm researching there to see if he'd be a better person to try and connect with. But here's the kicker- that half-brother is also a 3rd cousin to the first person I reached out to- who I think is my 1st cousin once removed. That means my birth mother and birth father are fairly closely related somehow since they're both related to my half brother (one's his dad....the other is maybe a 2nd cousin? A niece?)

    I think I'm so caught up in this personally that it's getting hard to think through, so please feel free to tell me if I'm missing something here. The perfect match for a half-brother is 25% (I'm 22.8) so he has to be my half brother (or grandson/grandfather that's 6 years younger than me...but we are talking about some inbreeding here somewhere so it's not impossible). The goal here is to try and figure out who that 2nd cousin/1st cousin once removed is to me and how my mom would be related to him....then I can probably get that person's son to put me in touch with someone who would know who my parents are and some of my family history.

    This has been an epic journey these past few weeks and I can really use some help from my internet brothers. I thought about messaging cbrad but this isn't exactly a math problem. He probably would enjoy it though so I may reach out anyway.

    Oh, one more thing- the DNA site (23&me) just shows names and obviously there's a lot of people out there with the same name. I am 90% sure I have the phone number and address for the father/son cousins. I messaged both their Facebook profiles (plus the criminal brother in law) but nobody has seen the message yet. The elder cousin did chat with me briefly in the 23&me chat but his responses were months apart...he's obviously not a tech person at his age. Do you think I should I just call them?
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
    Unlucky 13 likes this.
  2. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

    19,243
    17,964
    113
    Apr 24, 2012
    Troy, Virginia
    Key, I don't have a lot of help to offer you, but I do wish you the best. I have a close friend who was adopted, and later found that her birth parent's situation was similar to your own - she has older birth siblings but was herself given up for adoption, leading to a lifetime of questions without good answers. She was eventually able to make contact with someone in that family, and has had computer contact with siblings, but no real relationship. Her birth mother never wanted to ever speak to her.

    The only thing I can think of that might help with the math issue is if there was a situation in the family where one sibling was many years older than another. My wife's grandmother was the eldest of 12 siblings, and more than 20 years older than her youngest brother. So in the end, my mother in law is almost the same age as her uncle, and her uncle has a son who is younger than my wife, even though that son is my mother in law's first cousin. And so that man's kids are my wife's second cousins, even though my wife is 39 and the kids are in grade school, if that all makes sense.

    I also grew up with neighbors who had a lot of kids. Their oldest son was more than 20 years older than their youngest daughter, and the son had kids older than his sister. That kind of thing makes quickly figuring out those relationships very confusing.
     
    KeyFin likes this.
  3. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    4,876
    6,112
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    I think a lot of people confuse second cousins and 1st cousins once removed....which doesn't matter in the slightest except in my exact situation where it means everything. Usually we'd just say, "that's my cousin" because there's no reason to be ultra precise.

    I'm not looking for relationships I don't think (that could easily change), but I did have a serious heart problem at 42 that tests didn't detect so a family history would be a huge help. From there, I really couldn't tell you what I want past some conversations. I don't feel abandoned or anything because my parents are my parents- finding my birth mom or dad won't change that. I do think it would be pretty cool to suddenly have brothers though just to compare lives and stuff like that.....but I'm okay if I don't get that...I think. You could imagine the range of emotions that have hit me the past few weeks as I've played detective and tried to solve the mystery.
     
    Unlucky 13 likes this.
  4. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

    6,152
    6,159
    113
    Dec 21, 2014
    Yeah.. most likely scenario is 1st cousin once removed.

    Just to go through the "math" (keep in mind these are expected values only.. the range gets larger each time you divide by 2), you're related to each of your biological parents by ~50% similar DNA, and to their parents (your grandparents) by ~25% similar DNA. You're related to a sibling of your grandparents (great aunt or great uncle) by ~12.5% similar DNA.. and to the son or daughter of a sibling of your grandparents (1st cousin once removed) by ~6.25% DNA. And a 1st cousin once removed should be about your mother's age. So yeah I think that's the most likely scenario.

    As for whether you should give them a call.. sure why not? What do you have to lose?
     
    Unlucky 13 and KeyFin like this.
  5. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    4,876
    6,112
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    I just tried- the two different numbers on all the internet sites was disconnected. Then I got bummed out and called everyone I've come across so far...they were all disconnected. I'm guessing they're all former landlines since everyone dumped them a few years ago for cell phones, so I'm back to the mercy of Facebook Messenger and them seeing me reach out there.

    So by your math, my mom should be around the same age as the 1st cousin first removed (so late 60's to possibly early 80's). The 1st removed makes this tough though because it could be his aunt's or uncle's kid....and all of the aunts and uncles have passed away (this guy's mom had 3 sisters and a brother). So I think I'm at the mercy of this old fella or I'm going to be out of luck getting my birth mom's name. I was really counting on being able to call his son but that backfired.

    One other route- this old fella is projected 3rd cousins with my brother in law on the father's side (which should mean I am too, but I guess it lists the 1st cousin/first removed with the mom's side for me since it's a closer relationship). That's not enough information to make a connection of the relationship of birth mom and birth dad, is it? I've tried to figure it out but I can't see it.
     
  6. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

    6,152
    6,159
    113
    Dec 21, 2014
    All it means is they share a great-great-grandmother or great-great-grandfather. Not much help here.

    You might want to look for message boards on this subject matter and ask what kinds of resources are available to find people. Also check out other sites than the one you're looking at. Have to exhaust the possibilities before giving up.
     
    KeyFin likes this.
  7. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    4,876
    6,112
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    My half-brother reached out today via Facebook and we talked for almost 2 hours. Surprisingly he was also adopted at birth but he was told who our father was- and this guy is one of the most interesting people I've ever come across in my entire life. World champion racquetball player, multiple master's degrees, written 25+ books, traveled the world as a hobo, made millions in investing, and now lives in "Slab City", the last lawless town in America. I honestly have no idea what to think other than he's incredibly intelligent and a complete nomad- http://www.catmankeeley.com/bio/

    I didn't want to meet my birth parents but now it's like holy crap- this guy is an American folk hero. How could I not want to meet him now?

    My half brother also seems really smart and it looks like he has moved away from his criminal past. We plan on talking more tonight and its incredible how much we already have in common. It might be tough for an outsider to understand but it feels like I hit the lottery today.

    Oh, I have three more half-brothers out there as well- my dad the pro athlete was quite the womanizer back in the day. Here's a pic of my dad from the late 70's; I had the same build at that age (I never had abs like that though!)-

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
    xphinfanx, Stitches, cbrad and 2 others like this.
  8. danmarino

    danmarino Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    7,844
    8,115
    113
    Sep 4, 2014

    Wait...so your brother-in-law is also your half brother? I'm lost...lol
     
  9. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    4,876
    6,112
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    Err, I got confused.....was supposed to be half brother throughout that.
     
    Unlucky 13 and danmarino like this.
  10. danmarino

    danmarino Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    7,844
    8,115
    113
    Sep 4, 2014
    Gotcha..lol....You should call your pops!
     
    KeyFin likes this.
  11. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    4,876
    6,112
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    I don't know. He's a world champ athlete, a renowned scholar and author, a highly successful investor....and a professional hobo? He has tons of content out there and I'm still reading through it to try to figure him out. Its certainly interesting because it seems like he's a true genius and bat-**** crazy at the exact same time.

    I did send him an email just to say hi, so we'll see what happens. If anything, it looks like he could certainly help my writing career since he's been interviewed by everybody who's anybody in journalism.
     
    Unlucky 13 and danmarino like this.
  12. Galant

    Galant Well-Known Member

    8,438
    5,330
    113
    Apr 22, 2014
    Taking this from another angle, does the USA have a publicly accessible registry of births, marriages and deaths?

    I would assume that adopted children don't see their biological parents' info on their birth certificates since that would be your answer right there. But I would have thought there has to be some sort of record of births linking parents to children.

    My mother's family story was pretty horrible with a murder etc. leading to foster care for all the siblings and not a lot known about the birth parents but I was able to piece together quite a lot of info from the birth and marriages records. This was in the UK though- although researched online.
     
    KeyFin likes this.
  13. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    4,876
    6,112
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    Quick update- Steve Keeley and I have been talking for about a week now and he's NOT my dad...we get along really well though and he's helped me a lot. Here's what I've learned since then-

     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
    danmarino and Unlucky 13 like this.
  14. xphinfanx

    xphinfanx Reload

    10,658
    2,098
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    I was around 45 when I started looking for my birth mother. Still no luck maybe a DNA thing could help me.
     
    KeyFin likes this.
  15. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    4,876
    6,112
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    It helps me a lot- I found a 1st cousin once removed right off the bat and that indirectly led me to everyone else. I found my dad (he's deceased) and I think we're really close to finding my mom, so it's definitely worth the $100 just to see if there's some close matches.

    The system found a total of like 1,100 distant relatives for me so you'll have a solid place to start while tracing your lineage. And as long as you can find a 2nd cousin or closer who's willing to help (almost every single person I contacted instantly wanted to), you'll find the answers you're looking for.

    One word of warning though- you might not like what you find. My half-brother has been in and out of jail his entire life....and after talking daily for 4 or 5 days I haven't heard from him in two weeks. Is he dead or back in jail? Who knows, but that's the world I stepped into by taking this journey. Luckily, most of my relatives have been great people though.
     
    xphinfanx likes this.
  16. xphinfanx

    xphinfanx Reload

    10,658
    2,098
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    Thanks for sharing this and good luck finding your mother. I'll give the DNA test a try.
     
    KeyFin likes this.
  17. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    4,876
    6,112
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    I used 23&Me and really liked it, but I've heard just as many good things about Ancestry.com. I don't think you can go wrong with either one and there's global databases that you can transfer your DNA to in order to compare with even more people. Good luck!
     
    xphinfanx likes this.

Share This Page