21 December 2017

Finding Family

Mike sent this wonderful story of finding his family.  How wonderful to know your roots.  Thank  you so much for sharing as it no doubt will inspire others.

My father passed away in 1971 when I was 18. His absence from my life led me to want to learn more about him and his ancestors through genealogy research. Working with a group of other Moon researchers, we ran into a road block in 1771 with Abraham Moon. There were different spellings such as Mohn, Moon, Mohun, etc., and we could not find conclusive documentation to connect the lines.

In the early 2000s, DNA testing was becoming popular for genealogy purposes. Therefore, a group of us Moon researchers decided to take a DNA test to see if we could triangulate our names to hopefully make a connection with other Moon lines that were more established. 

Initially, I had a 12 and 25 marker YDNA test through Family Tree DNA. Those test results basically showed my male line matched to thousands of men throughout the world but no Moons. It wasn’t until I had a 37 marker YDNA test that I started matching to one particular name, Dunn. However, I could not figure out how a Dunn entered my Moon gene pool. I continued with the testing in hopes that the next level of DNA test would prove something more definitive. With the 6- marker test, I matched more Dunn’s but no Moons. Same with the 111-marker test. 

By this time, I was working with other Dunn’s and/or Dunn line administrators on what kind of tests to have and what the results meant. My mother was still living, and she made it clear that she didn’t like that I was doing the testing. She said she feared I might find some dark family secret. I laughed it off and assured her that it was far back in the Moon ancestry where the Dunn line came into our gene pool. 

Working with the Dunn administrator, I was advised to test my closest known male relative and with each match, find another male ancestor to be tested. Therefore, I had my brother tested first. Mom had already passed by that time (2006), and when I received my brothers YDNA test results, it showed that we didn’t match on any male ancestors. Which meant, we were not full brothers. I was shocked, as was everyone in our family. I was 55 at the time, and everything I thought I knew about my life was wrong. 

To make sure the results were right, FTDNA retested my sample, and it was the same as the first. We then had my brother (two and a half years older than me) and my sister (six years younger than me) tested with FTDNA’s autosomal tests. Their test results were clear, they were full siblings to each other and only half siblings to me.

Through much effort, my brother, sister, and I concluded that mom and dad split up for a short time after my brother was born in 1951 and got back together three months before my birth. We don’t know if they separated because mom cheated or that I was conceived while they were separated. Either way, my dad never made any difference in the way he treated me.

After the shock of the test results wore off, I decided to continue looking for my biological father and his family. I had the Big Y test done through FTDNA and then their autosomal test. However, none of the results proved anything, and I almost gave up because I’d spent a lot of money on all the family tests.

Then in 2015, I tried Ancestry.com’s autosomal test and the results were the same there. I matched some people connected to Dunn lines but no Dunn’s themselves and no one matched close enough to be even a fourth cousin. Then I received a message through Ancestry from a woman who asked how I was related to her daughter whose results showed she was a second cousin to me. We talked at length, and she agreed to be tested. Her results came back showing she was my first cousin. We knew by then this was my line, but we needed her uncle (one of five but only two still alive) to be tested. He was in a nursing home in Ohio, but we got him to submit a sample and his results came back as my uncle. My first cousin and I went through all the uncle’s pictures and agreed that I only looked like one of her uncles. She knew of the man, but the family wasn’t that close. She thought the one uncle had a daughter. I finally tracked her down, and at first, she was very resistant to doing the test. Finally, she agreed, and we both watched every day for the results to come back. Finally they did. I was driving in Florida when she called and said, “hello brother”.

Our dad died in 2010 but we are alike in a lot of ways. At least now I know she is my sister and that I have other nieces and nephews.  

                   Mike                                                             His dad, Sammy

Best wishes,