It all started at a church picnic. We were sitting around the picnic table delighting in our desserts, when a gentleman asked if I was still doing genealogy and how it was going. Always eager to talk about my genealogy pursuits, I gave a brief overview of my activities. Soon a voice piped up from down at the end of the table, “Could you help me find my dad”? Without missing a beat I responded with a “Sure, I’d love to”! Soon the two of us embarked on a journey to find Jane’s elusive father.
Later that week, sitting around my dining room table, Jane indicated that at age 70 she felt she deserved to know the truth. It started for her around age 13 when she was looking at her baby book and noticed a different last name on some of the documents. Jane asked her mother about this and found out that the man she knew and loved as Dad had adopted her as a baby. Her mother then divulged that she had been married previously, when Jane was born, to a man we will call John Jones. Jane grew up never meeting this man, and loving and cherishing the man she knew as Dad.
When Jane was in her late fifties, she decided she wanted to get a copy of her original birth certificate, not her adopted one. In our state, the laws require the signatures of both parents, if living, or their death certificates. Jane obtained the proper forms and researched and found that John Jones was still living. She approached her mother about signing the forms, but her mother refused. Sometime through the years, the rumor had floated around that Dave Brown, rather than John Jones, was Jane’s father. Her mother would divulge nothing.
Several years later, after Jane’s mother passed away, Jane decided to pursue obtaining the original birth certificate again, this time with her mother’s death certificate instead of her signature. She looked up John Jones, explained what she wanted, and asked if he would sign the forms for her. Yes, he would. Jane visited him at his house, he signed the forms and they chatted a bit. Jane found out that John and her mother were only married a brief time, and that things just didn’t work out for them. Then, out of the blue, John asked Jane if she would be willing to take a paternity test. Of course her answer was yes! A short time later the results came back…John was NOT Jane’s father. Who was Jane’s father then?