Sending in my DNA kit & getting the results back went a little like this……
- Ancestry received my DNA kit Wed 5/9/2018
Then I waited. The anticipation of waiting for my DNA kit to process was through the roof!
- I received an email saying my results were in on Thu 5/24/2018
It felt like a ton of bricks hit me as I signed into my account after reading that email. I realized that by the click of my mouse I could potentially see my birth parents and/or their family. Although I was very excited, this reality was also quite intimidating.
These are the next steps I went through.
STEP 1: REVIEW RESULTS
As soon as I logged my Ethnicity results were the first thing I saw.
While yes that was cool to see…. all I was really interested in seeing were my “MATCHES.” I learned that if anyone in my biological families had done a DNA kit themselves then I would see them linked up to me in that section.
Or if you want to get technical the description on Ancestry’s site is this:
Many of your ancestors passed down their DNA to you. And they also passed much of that same DNA to your cousins and other family members. That’s why DNA matching can connect you with other family members and act as a source of validation and discovery for your genealogical research.Ancestry.com
So to my MATCHES I went…
When I first saw that there were no immediate relations I was bummed but there were 1000+ 4th cousins or closer, so I had to believe that there was hope in there somewhere.
I started browsing ALL of my DNA matches. The closest matches were 2nd cousins & there were tons of them.
My finger quickly grew tired of scrolling through the many pages of matches. As I browsed I realized the weight of how daunting the next steps in this journey were going to be. I had zero experience with family trees or genealogy research and looking at so many names page after page I was overwhelmed with where to begin.
The only thing I could think to do next was:
STEP 2. START MESSAGING EVERYONE
That day I sent about 135 emails out to complete strangers, it was daunting to say the least. I wasn’t even sure what I should say, but after lots of thought the message below is what I came up with. ( I’d adjust it depending on my relation to each person.) But you get the general idea.
I began receiving many messages back. Some were interested in helping, some said they wouldn’t know how to but wished me luck. To the ones who were interested I sent them a list of my basic information. This list consisted of physical characteristics of my birth mom and dad and their immediate families. It listed a few other things such as hobbies of my birth parents and professions of their parents. But it was very generic, so I wasn’t surprised when a majority of them replied telling me that none of the information rang any bells. Not surprised, but definitely disappointed.
Something I learned is that if you are searching DON’T ASSUME that the names at the top of the list will be the most important to talk to. I assumed that the 2nd cousins at the top were my best bet. So they were the ones I was quickest to reply to. But the 76th name down on my list kept messaging me that they were interested in helping. This man (KIM) was listed as a 3rd-4th cousin to me. His wife was sending me the messages through his account and told me of her willingness to help and that she had adopted grandchildren of her own.
After receiving that message I immediately emailed her. We then began group messaging with her son. I won’t lie I was a little hesitant to share information with a complete stranger but I had a good feeling about exchanging emails with them when the first line of her email read “May I just say WELCOME TO THE FAMILY!”
I couldn’t believe this complete stranger was calling me her family just because we were genetically linked. But I liked it! I learned to get used to it as many conversations through Ancestry are similar. But my discussions with them were just extra special, I felt immediate trust with them and I couldn’t believe how willing they were to help me in my search.
I finally felt some relief in this journey to have them on my side.
What I didn’t know is that my searching had only just begun. The highs and lows of the ride of my life hadn’t even been experienced yet. I had no idea what I was about to experience nor was I prepared for it in the least. But I am excited to tell you all about it. Stick around to hear all about it.
If you’ve done a DNA kit while searching for birth family, I’d love to hear how you felt after getting your results back. Do you relate to this? Leave me your experience in the comments.