We Solved A Mystery And Found My Deceased Grandmother’s Adopted Family

I do not really recall when I started using GEDmatch but I do remember why. My maternal grandmother was adopted in 1893 when she was nearly 2 years old. I was trying to build a family tree and solve the challenge that obviously came with this adoption. My grandmother died in the 1950’s so I could not test her either so I did what I could – I tested her sole surviving child, my aunt. 

Back in 2013 is used Family Tree DNA. Ancestry was around but had little useful information for my specific question. Unfortunately, my Aunt died shortly after testing. As a result, I cannot use her DNA now on Ancestry. Uploading her to GEDmatch, however, was a great workaround and I matched her to Ancestry testers, including several who proved instrumental in sorting out the various DNA lines.

The Process Was Simple 

When I uploaded all the results to GEDmatch, I found the paternal biological line for my grandmother through an Ancestry match uploaded to GEDmatch! He also was searching for answers to his mother’s mysterious past. She changed her name and cut ties with her family I now know the most likely bio father for my grandmother and the match now knows his mother’s real name and how he and my family are related. This discovery also opened the path to sort out several other related matches on Ancestry who also had adoption in the background on this same line. 

Different generations and stories are tracking back down this same family line. Although none of us can answer the question “Why”,  at least we know the answer to the question “Who”. Now I am moving on to examine my maternal great-grandfather’s Norwegian line. No adoption there, but few matches because it appears he was the sole surviving child of his family.

GEDmatch Exceeded My Expectations 

I love being able to examine matches across various testing company platforms. I also have

found the auto clustering very, very helpful, especially for my maternal grandmother’s only

Southern US-based biological line that at some point crossed with my paternal grandmother’s

line! I also love being able to email matches directly. Some have accounts at Ancestry but do not respond to emails through their system. Having their direct contact information helps

tremendously! It is the only way to compare matches from all the testing companies in one place. Plus, you get a plethora of tools to use! 

My Advice For All Future GEDmatch Users 

Define the question you want DNA to answer. Test everywhere and upload your results to GEDmatch. Target test people if necessary and upload them to GEDmatch.

Pinpoint the most useful matches at the various testing companies and ask them to upload them to GEDmatch. Watch the Family History Fanatics videos and go for it! I also would encourage

them to opt-in to Law Enforcement use.

Cathy – GEDmatch user 

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