Additional Details for Identifying Biological Parents

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Who We Help

We can help most people identify their unknown parents, grandparents, or great- grandparents. This includes:

  • Adoptees
  • Persons seeking unknown parents
  • Children or grandchildren of a person with unknown parents
  • Donor conceived individuals

  • We are unable to assist the following people:
  • Minors under 18 years of age (or their parents/legal guardians)
  • Birth parents seeking their surrendered children
  • Persons seeking adopted biological siblings
  • Persons seeking the identity of a person who committed a crime

What to Expect from a Consultation?

During your consultation you will work directly with an expert genealogist to:

  • Analyze your DNA results;
  • Determine the likelihood of success with further research time;
  • Define next steps to identify the unknown biological parent;
  • Discuss the analysis and findings with you.

The consultation is not designed for extensive research or confirming the identity of your biological parents through additional DNA-testing. A consultation is meant to determine from the currently available information if further research may be successful. In most cases, the Genetic Research Package (starting at 26 hours) will best meet your needs. Please contact us to determine if a Consultation or Genetic Research Package is right for you.

What to Expect from a Genetic Research Package

Identifying unknown biological parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents is a life-changing journey. You will work with a team of genetic genealogists who will guide you through that journey step by step. In most cases, it takes at least 26 hours of research over 3-4 months to identify the biological family. Please know that each case is different and some cases may require many more hours over many more months to solve. Despite our expert efforts, it is sometimes not possible to solve a session with existing genetic data.

Your team will provide updates and recommendations at key steps in the journey. In some cases, your current DNA results are sufficient to identify the unknown parent or ancestor. For others, specific recommendations for additional DNA testing will be made by your team as needed. To confirm the identity of the unknown parent or ancestor, it is sometimes necessary to contact biological family for additional DNA testing. We will make recommendations regarding such contact on a case by case basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t know anything about my unknown parent and don’t have any documentation. Can you still help me?

Answer: Documentation about the possible birth parent is helpful but not necessary. Using DNA, we are able to help most people identify unknown biological parents even without documentation.

I would like to find an unknown grandparent or great-grandparent. Is this possible?

Answer: Just as DNA can be used to find an unknown parent, DNA can also be used to find unknown grandparents or great-grandparents. However, these sessions are more challenging and may require more time to solve. If it is possible to provide DNA results for more than one descendant of the unknown grandparents or great-grandparents, this is highly recommended.

I would like to find my 2nd great-grandfather who was born in the mid-1800s. Can you help me?

Answer: Yes, AncestryProGenealogists® can help to identify more distant ancestors as well. However, research of more distant ancestors relies more heavily on written documentation. DNA results are used in conjunction with the available records. These sessions can be quite complex and usually take more time to solve.

I am an adoptee with my original birth certificate, but the father’s name is not included. Can you help me identify my birth father?

Answer: Most people seeking an unknown birth parent have little or no identifying information about them. Instead of written documentation, your DNA can provide the clues necessary to identify your biological parent.

I am a teenager. Can you help me find my biological parent(s)?

Answer: Unfortunately, we are not able to assist minors in identifying their biological parents. Once you have turned 18, we are happy to help.

How do you use my DNA to find my birth parents?

Answer: Your DNA results include a list of cousin matches. You share common ancestors with these matches and many of the matches share common ancestors with one another. By comparing the family trees of these genetic cousins, we can work towards identifying your unknown ancestors. We then trace descendants of the shared ancestors and identify possible biological parent candidates from among those descendants. It is often necessary to conduct additional testing to confirm the identity of the biological parent from among the candidates.

Do I need to take a DNA test before starting my research with AncestryProGenealogists®?

Answer: It will be necessary for you to take an AncestryDNA® test before we begin your research. However, you are welcome to sign up for the research with us before receiving your results. If you have not yet ordered an AncestryDNA® test we can help you obtain the DNA test and expedite the processing of that test as a part of your research package.

Do you accept DNA results from other companies?

Answer: Yes, we frequently incorporate DNA results from other companies as part of our research. However, if you have not tested with AncestryDNA®, we request that you complete this testing as well. The additional matches available through AncestryDNA® will greatly increase the probability of successfully identifying the unknown birth parent(s).

What DNA testing should I do?

Answer: We recommend first testing with AncestryDNA®. It may not be necessary to conduct additional testing. If you also wish to test with other companies, you are welcome to do so. These companies are not affiliated with Ancestry® and have separate and unique user agreements. We encourage you to read the user agreements with each company carefully before testing.

Would it be helpful to have my sibling or half-sibling take a DNA test as well?

Answer: Yes. If your sibling or half-sibling is also a descendant of the unknown parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent, their results will provide valuable additional data. This is highly recommended when seeking unknown grandparents or great-grandparents. If your half-sibling is not a descendant, their DNA results will help rule out the cousin matches associated with your shared ancestry.

I want to learn about my biological family but don’t want to disrupt their lives. Is it possible to identify my biological parent without contacting them?

Answer: You will make the decision of whether to contact your biological family. We can often gather basic information about your family from public records without making contact. However, confirming the identity of your biological parent may require additional DNA testing of possible biological family members. If you do not desire to contact the family, we may not be able to prove your parent’s identity.

I am an adoptive parent. Can you identify my adopted child’s birth parents as a surprise for them?

Answer: Identifying biological parents can be an emotional journey. In order to ensure this is a positive and desired experience for the adopted child, we require permission from the adoptee before proceeding with the research. If you wish to present them with a gift certificate for future research to identify their biological parents, we are happy to arrange this for you.

I would like to identify the unknown parent of my minor child. As their legal guardian, can I have the research conducted in their behalf?

Answer: Due to legal ramifications, we will only identify biological parents for persons who have already reached the legal age of adulthood. We cannot conduct a search for the parents of a minor, even if that search is authorized by their legal guardian.

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Gift Certificates are available upon request.

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Unknown Parentage Research

"You have no idea how much I appreciate what you and your team have done for me. I've been on the phone almost every day with my sister and both of my cousins. Carol and I are traveling to Tennessee to see my cousins and their families and friends. I can't thank you all enough!"

- Wayne

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"We all enjoyed very much our ancestral home visit with Gabriele this morning. It gave us exactly what I wanted it to do, to put some ‘flesh on the bones’ of the vital records, and put my wife’s ancestors in the context of what they did and where they lived and what their world was like when they were in Palermo. Gabriele himself was a pleasure to spend time with and I was impressed by the work he did preparing for our tour."

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