Thursday, July 4, 2013

"Cousin Godmother": Genealogist Bernice Bennett Helps Adoptee Connect with Birth Family through 4th Cousin Match at 23andMe

"Our 23andMe Story - Helping My Newly Discovered Cousin Find Her Birth Family!" by Bernice Alexander Bennett of BlogTalkRadio  

She waited 36 years and now she has found her birth family.
This beautiful young woman, a year younger than my son, was searching for her birth parents. Given up for adoption as an infant, she had loving parents to nurture and support her. She had Cystic Fibrosis, the only known genetic link to her birth parents and did not know who they were.

Beth Davis
Beth Davis discovers her birth family!
She began searching for her birth parents at the age of 18 because her adoption was a closed adoption. Her search did produce two surnames and basic information. She knew that she had a Louisiana connection.

Three months ago after taking the
23andMe autosomal DNA test she had a list of new cousins. Her DNA results showed that she was at the 4th Cousin level with me.

I sent her an invitation asking her to share her genome and her name. After accepting my invitation, she informed me that she was adopted and was searching for her birth parents. I wanted to help her and felt that I could.

One of her surnames was Sheppard. I immediately matched her genome to my 4th cousin and she showed up as her 2nd cousin.

I decided that it was time to get on the phone to tell my 4th cousin about her 2nd cousin. I simply said we have a cousin who is looking for her father. She is matching you at the 2nd cousin level and only a few 1st cousins are out there who could be the father. “Can you make this happen”?

My 4th cousin then contacted one of her first cousins to inform him of the situation. I stepped out of the picture to allow them to talk to this young lady. Her uncle called her and she told him everything she knew about herself and possible parents.

Her uncle kept me updated and later informed me that he had confirmed that the father was his brother.

I prayed every single day that the connection would be made and it was!

The physical connection has now been made between the birth father and daughter.
She knows what he looks like, his habits, their similarities and differences. She knows about her birth mother, grandparents, great grandparents, cousins, uncles, and half siblings, yes siblings. Compassion to help, knowledge of a loving family, our genealogy and 23andMe made it possible for one adoptee to find her birth family. I think that I will call myself "Cousin Godmother"!

Professional Genealogist Bernice Bennett, "Cousin Godmother"


  1. This is a most encouraging story to those of us searching for biological ancestors without finding close connections yet - thank you!

  2. It is a blessing that she had a great reunion with both birth parents with the assistance of the "Cousin Godmother"
    Stephani Juleeana Miller

  3. I know you must be thrilled as "Cousin Godmother" to have helped this young lady establish links to her birth family. What a wonderful story!