Searching For My Roots

Spitting into the Ancestry DNA kit collection tube.
Spitting into the tube of an Ancestry DNA kit. I need new glasses, too.

I don’t know who my biological father is. Neither does my biological mother. I’ve asked anyone who could tell me anything, but the story I was given is best summarized as youthful indiscretion. Fine, I guess the only one who can even try to find an answer is me.

I’m not sure why I waited this long, but I noticed Ancestry DNA kits were on sale for Father’s Day -what better time to make a move and start this search! I had been waffling with the idea for a few years, between Ancestry and 23andMe and all the other services that do this. Within moments I clicked the purchase button and a week later a rather scarcely decorated box showed up in my mailbox.

A few unceremonious minutes later I had the kit open, spit in the tube, and sent it back in the pre-paid mailer. About a month later I got the email saying my results had been processed.

Ancestry DNA story

I had always figured myself to have roots in Germany, but this sealed the deal. I started making a family tree and found that my maternal grandfather’s side came from Germany, France, and Switzerland; my maternal grandmother’s side came from Sweden and Russia. What a mutt I am, eh? But this didn’t really tell me much about my paternal side or give me any direction. So what did? Well, this is where the search gets interesting.

Ancestry DNA matches

I would’ve expected my top DNA matches (from others who’ve participated in Ancestry DNA) to at least be connected to my maternal family tree. Except, they weren’t. Who were these people? Some of the matches had a family tree that they made visible, and I didn’t recognize any of the names. But, after doing some searches online I realized they all had a common link. So after a few days I finally got in touch with the top match. We exchanged a few emails and phone calls and he narrowed down his family tree with a best guess based on ages and where they lived at the time.

As of this post, the search has stopped there. I know – suspenseful, right? Details of my existence and search were shared with that family, and I can appreciate that such news can be received any number of ways – especially given the circumstances of my conception. It’s a good assumption that my biological father was never aware that my mother was pregnant with and gave birth to me.

In the end, all I can hope for is to know his name… to know the other half of me that I’ve never known. I’ve made it almost thirty-eight years just fine, so I don’t expect to suddenly have a connection with the family that has likely never known I exist. But it give me a sense of fulfillment to at least know who they are.