Genetic testing

At this point, genetic testing is my last option for finding my father. Honestly, I wish I had looked more into it previously. I didn’t realize how useful it could be in finding biological family members. I had absolutely no idea about it. I had considered doing it in the past, but each time I considered doing it, I found a paternity possibility shortly after and went with a legal paternity test instead. I was seriously contemplating doing the genetic testing this spring but then I found out that Raymond may be my father and opted with a paternity test instead. I had originally wanted a legal test, but he insisted that he couldn’t do it (despite the lab being willing and able to arrange and accommodate and international legal paternity test). I wanted a legal follow-up but he wouldn’t agree to it, as we originally discussed, so instead, I am doing genetic testing. One way or another, Raymond or someone else, I’ll figure out who my biological father is using this testing.

There are three primary places to get a genetic test done.

Ancestry.com

Ancestry has a DNA test you can use for genealogical purposes. This test is actually really cool, as it will link you to people you may be related to. Given the size of their database, it’s no wonder that people get dozens upon dozens of results for people they are genetically related to.

23andme.com

23andme used to offer health reports but ceased doing so due to FDA regulations or something like that. Either way, they are similar to Ancestry, in that they will provide you a genetic snapshot of your ethnicity, as well as link you to possible relatives. 23andme is quite large, but I do not think it is as large as Ancestry.

Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA offers a family finder based on your genetic data that automatically links you to relatives within 5 generations. Even better, is that you can import your raw data from Ancestry and 23andme for a lower fee than their own kit, saving you time and money for results.

My mother is doing all of the same tests I do. This will help to eliminate any matches on my maternal line. From what I understand, the systems will differentiate between maternal and paternal relatives, however, sometimes it can’t tell if a relative is from your mother or your father’s side. In hopes of eliminating confusion, she is testing as well, which will allow me to mark off any matches we have in common (as they will be maternally related) and focus on matches we do not share (as they will most likely be paternally related).

Once the results are in, I will get a list of matches, usually in the form of “cousins,” although this does not necessarily mean that they are a cousin to me. They could be of different relation, but they are classified as cousins when it comes to genetic genealogy. After the list comes back, I’ll eliminate anyone from my mother’s matches and then proceed with the closest cousin I have. To find out how you’re related, you follow the rule of “G.” Start counting the G’s. If you’re second cousins, you share the same great-grandparents. If you are third cousins, you share the same great-great-grandparents. You start with the ancestor you have in common, then work your way down. Figure out all of their children and their children’s children, until you make your way back to the match and yourself.

It can be difficult to trace it back, but with my experience in tracking down public records and sleuthing/cyber-stalking people, I am confident I can handle the job… It just may take more time than I’d like it to. In the meantime, I have been watching videos, reading tutorials, following blogs and gleaning every bit of information I can on how these tests work and exactly how to trace your biological family through them. I am learning everything I can while I wait for results so that it doesn’t take me a second longer than it needs to once they are in.

I have been trying to find my dad for nine years next month. It has been a long, emotionally and financially draining trek. This is it. This is how I am going to find him and I know I can do it. I don’t know how long it will take, but I know I can do it and I know these tests will lead me to my answers, one way or another.

I just wish I had done them sooner.

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