Who's in the Tree?

The women in my life sometimes gang up on me!  Two days ago, my daughter (who lives in NYC) sent me an article out of the New York Times - titled "Who's on the Family Tree?" - which is discussing the confusion that comes from adoptions, sperm donors, surrogate mothers, same sex parents, etc.  She thought it deserved mention in my blog.  (I thought I was too busy!)  And then, last night, my Mother (who lives near Houston) brings up the same subject while we are discussing gay rights - an issue where we have had some spirited disagreements and an area where the same family tree question exists in our wider family.

So - Who's in Your Tree? - and how do you handle all of the special cases? 

If you're working on prior generations, you are probably "only" dealing with adoptions (known and unknown), infidelities and multiple spouses.  But - if you are trying to keep the family tree "up to date", you are very likely dealing with even more challenges that can come from the medical advances and social changes.  Of course - you want to accurately describe both familial and genetic relationships!

I'm not brave enough (or experienced enough) to give you the answers - but maybe some of our readers are - and will provide insights with a "Reply". 

I will comment that it's easier when you are "simply" working the dna angle - as that means the genetic parent.  But then again - what about those anonymous donors?  Wow.  chuckle.

"Extended" Family Tree

I am new to your site and have just ready your blog(?) about how diverse a correct tree can be nowadays. I am researching my lineage and have moral and ethical dilemmas as well.

My biological father and I don't speak, he and my mom divorced when I was young and upon his 2nd marriage he had a daughter, my half sister, but I love his side of my family very much, my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

My "stepfather" is who raised me and I consider him my father, although we are not "blood" related. He was married (before my mom) and had 2 girls of his own (step sisters) whom I am very close with.

I married, had 4 children, divorced, relocated, married again and had another child. My first 4 kids and my 5th kid are half siblings. My 2nd husband (father of my 5th child) had 2 girls of his prior to our marriage so child #5 also has 2 additional half sisters. We like to joke that, like the movie, we have yours, mine and ours. LOL.

Now it gets tricky. My ex, with whom I had my 1st 4 kids, remarried, had 2 more kids, divorced, remarried, had another kid (but that one is in dispute) and divorced. So my first 4 kids have one half sibling from me (child #5) and 3 half siblings from their father's side.

This has been a very tangled web both to trace and to weave for my children but I'm determined to do this and pass it on for them so they will know family by blood and family by love!

I'm actually trying to research my line through Newsome in Kentucky and Mingo Co. West Virginia and I'm seriously considering the female DNA test. I would love to know if anyone else has participated and what the results were.


Hi, I am new, and trying to trace my grandparents to find out exactly what my roots are.. they are also from WV. It's my grandmother on my mother's side that I am particularly interested in, she was a Shaffer. I am not even sure where she grew up, and my mom didn't talk about her much. She died when I was three. I am also considering taking the female DNA test, as I would just like to know the truth about my heritage.... any suggestions?

Thank you!!;-) GOD Bless!

mystery entries

wow,my journey into my Wilkerson hertige is becoming exciting.of course like everyone i have a few brick walls. my haplog group is the i21b,would it be possible for the thomas wilkinson 1612-1685 to give us more information,you do not have to reveal your identiy.a wilkinson line that is on ancestry.com has a thomas wilkinson born 1612-1695.this line i believe is the r haplog group. i am trying to seperate these families.the families lived in early virginia along the same counties in the same generations.

Replies to posts on this topic

Hi Texas Filly.  mtDNA tests are notorously difficult to use for genealogy.  If you do know a mtDNA descendant of a targeted member of your Newsome ancestry whom you should match - ok.  But, trying for a random match for a specific application like this has a very low probability.  Better for you would be to locate a male Newsome relative and do a yDNA test on him

Hi misaljes.  read my comments for Texas Filly above.  This will be a shot in the dark for you, too.  The odds still aren't good - but you'll be more likely to have success with the Family Finder test

Hi W-6.  I assume you are in the Wilkerson Project.  Anyone interested in working on this question should take a look at the Wilkerson DNA Project:  http://www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/wilkerson



Hello, I have just recieved FTDNA autosomal results and have so much to read and learn from them.
I did this test to try to find my Gebard Roots.
I am dealing with "possible adoptive,illigitimate,foundling,orphaned"issues,in Indiana. Gebard father was b in PA and mother in IN. If you know of anywhere I can get ifnormation Please let me know.


Oldest known relitave Joseph Conklin 1729