Friday, December 22, 2017

Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA by Richard Hill

When he was 18 years old Richard Hill, quite by accident, found out that he was adopted. It was a shocking and surprising discovery, but the years passed by and it wasn’t until he had finished college and gotten married that he finally began the search for his birth parents. A search that would take three long decades to complete.
“Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA” is the self-published story of his odyssey.
A quick and easy read (I read all 245 pages in one evening) Hill writes of the emotions he felt and the obstacles he faced, as well as the mysteries he was forced to solve.
Without much effort he was able to find out who his birth mother was. Sadly though she had died in a car accident just a couple of years after giving birth to him. Hill discovered that he had an older half-brother, whom he found and built a relationship with.
A large portion of the book involves the more difficult quest to find his birth father, whom his birth mother never named. Hill recounts his search for people who may have known his birth father’s identity, or who could perhaps provide clues. The process ebbs and flows over the years as he makes cold calls to strangers, runs newspaper ads, and works with others who were more skilled in genealogical research than he was himself.
When DNA testing became a thing in the early 2000s Hill took a test and was rewarded with a family name connection that eventually - but not without challenges and one final plot twist - led to the identity of his birth father.
I was somewhat surprised by how interesting the book actually was. Perhaps it struck a chord for me because I had a bit of a birth-parent mystery in my own life. But anyone interested in genealogy should enjoy the book, while the “who done it” (pun intended) mystery really was compelling.

You can find “Finding Family” in the VBPL catalog, and please remember that the library is always a great place to start your own genealogical journey.

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