Dodds Family Story

This story originally appeared in Genealogy Gems.

The ties that bind a child to his or her parents are some of the strongest that exist in the human society.  The shared experiences, goals, hopes, and laughter could have been what motivated a young man in his twenties with his new wife in tow, to board a ship sailing from England to Montreal, Canada in search of his father.

These bonds that connect us are woven with multi-colored thread and many have found that while the threads of shared culture and tradition weave beautiful and unique patterns in our lives, many are seeking the biological threads that they feel act like a strong cord and provide the stability and strength of a relationship, and ultimately provide a sense of identity.

It would be 25 years after Paul Dobbs set out on his journey to join his father, Len Dodds, that he would find the threads binding him to Len start to unravel, for it was then that he learned that Len Dodds was not his biological father (link to original story).

Discovering he was the child of an American serviceman stationed in Wales during World War II, Paul again started out on a journey to find his father. This time, his biological father.  Traditional genealogical methods proved unfruitful and he eventually turned to DNA testing.

YDNA testing was the first, and logical choice. But Paul was not able to find the results he wanted.

YDNA testing was the first, and logical choice. But Paul was not able to find the results he wanted.

For any male adoptee seeking his father the YDNA test is a logical route to take, and is where Paul turned first (probably more because other kinds of tests weren’t yet available- but still, it was a good choice!).  The YDNA provides an undiluted record of a direct paternal line.  This can often help adoptees identify a surname for their paternal line. However, Paul did not have the success he was hoping for with YDNA testing.

He then turned to autosomal DNA testing. Remember that this kind of test traces both your paternal and maternal lines and reports back to you matches in the database that have predicted relationships like, “2-4th cousins” or “3rd-5th cousins” and then you are left to decipher who your common ancestor might be.

Paul found a match, a first cousin.

With the help of his new found cousin and the traditional genealogical records available about servicemen serving in Cardiff at the end of World War II, Paul was able to form a convincing hypothesis about the identity of his biological father.

He reached out to a potential half sibling who agreed to conduct a DNA test to explore this option.

She was a match.  Paul had found his biological family.

Some relationships take years to mature as threads of shared experiences and ideas slowly come together to form a mutual bond.  But the immediate bond of Paul and his half sister was almost visible- the strength of the DNA cord was evident as Paul described their first meeting saying: ““I was out to see her just four weeks ago and I was just over the moon.”

The story of Paul Dodds is one that represents the search of many who turn to DNA testing for answers to their genealogy.

What will your story tell?