Thanks to genetic genealogy, I believe my biggest brick wall has finally been knocked down, shattered, destroyed. I now have a huge lead as to who my biological father is.
Searching for who my biological father might have always been a major purpose behind my genealogical passion. I have been trying to figure it out for decades without real success, until now.
In 2012, Y-DNA tests I took indicated that I was a “Roberts.” Family Tree DNA’s results indicated that my four closest relatives were all surnamed Roberts.
My Closest Y-DNA Matches on Family Tree DNA
% Common Ancestor is likely in 4 generations
W. A. Roberts
Has a great tree available on-line.
D. R. Roberts
Unable to Contact. Possibly deceased.
C. E. Lathem
50% likelihood in 11 generations
From this and similar results on the now defunct Ancestry Y-DNA, I surmised that my ancestor was probably a Roberts. W. A. Roberts was kind enough to share his tree with me, so I began looking closely at his ancestors’ descendants, looking for potential individuals that might have been in the right place at the right time. No success. Nothing seems to fit.
The DNA is matching!
When Ancestry began its autosomal DNA testing, I was an early adopter. When Family Tree DNA began accepting transfers of results from Ancestry DNA, I did a DNA Transfer with them. I also imported my results into GED Match. I figured that the more places you have your DNA out there, the greater the likelihood you will have a match. Maybe even a close match. No such luck. There were a few, four to 8 generations away. Some had nicely developed trees; some only had a couple generations documented. I helped some of the latter improve their trees, but nothing I found seemed to connect with the Roberts “notional tree” I was working on – Until now.
This week, I rechecked my results on Ancestry DNA and couldn’t believe the results. There was a new person, T.C.[i] who was identified as a 1st or 2nd cousin. Wow! She and I shared 313 centimorgans across 20 segments. And she has a tree that included a grandmother and great grandparents with the surname of Roberts. Could this be the breakthrough I’ve been looking for?
I added the names and the general relationships to my “Roberts Notional Tree” and took note of some of her sources. Then I began researching this potential line. If we really are 1st or 2nd cousins, then we must share a grandparent or great grandparent. I was almost giddy in my excitement. The initial problem was I didn’t see anything that fit the dates and places that my biological father needed to come from. I knew it wasn’t going to be quick, but if I researched, I might find the link I was looking for.
I found that TC’s great grandparents had five children – two girls and three boys. Any of the three boys would be the correct age to be my biological father. So, the search was on.
The first son I investigated was Bert Allen Roberts, Jr. He was born in Terre Haute, IN. He grew up there and relocated to Cleveland, OH as an adult. As I looked more and more closely at his life, I determined that he wasn’t likely.
The second son I investigated was Hugh Eugene Roberts. He was born in Detroit, MI, (like my mother) but moved to Terre Haute, IN, as a child. I found evidence that in May 1950, he was back in Detroit. From that, it is easy to surmise that he could have been in Detroit in October of 1949, when I was conceived.
The third son was J. H. Roberts[ii]. He was also born in Terre Haute. He married in 1947 in Detroit, MI. It appears that their marriage continued beyond 1950. I haven’t found much more about his life yet, but I don’t believe he is the “baby daddy” at this time.
Bert doesn’t appear to have located to Detroit.
J. H. although in Detroit at the right time was married and is a less likely candidate.
Hugh was in Detroit at about the right time and is a highly likely candidate.
I see two major directions for my research to take from here.
Research the ancestors of Bert Allen Roberts, Sr. and see if there is a connection into my known Y-DNA cousins. That would prove that the Roberts line in TC’s tree is the correct connection in her
Research the children of Hugh Eugene Roberts, contact them, and see if any of them would be willing to take a DNA test. If they are my half-siblings, as I suspect, we should share about 25% of our DNA. So, if they show up in that 787-2134 centimorgan range, I will have proven a very close relationship, probably half-siblings.
Oh, yes, also I will continue my research of this Roberts line.
Finally, am I certain that Hugh Eugene Roberts is my biological father? No, but I am certain that this finding is the biggest, best lead I’ve ever had in determining who my biological father is.
Talk about a Christmas present… Wow.
[i] In order to maintain privacy, I am only including initials of potentially living individuals.
[ii] I have been unable to find death information regarding J. H. Roberts, so I am only