A very personal mystery solved!

I’ve been working these last few months with a number of adoptees who are searching for their Biological Babb ancestors. Many of those stories are still in the discovery phase and I hope to share more about them over the week’s to come. My family has been touched numerous times by adoption, so I am going to start with my own path of discovery.

My mother was given up for adoption at birth and never knew her biological parents. She had a wonderful childhood and deeply loves her adoptive family, but has always had questions about the family she came from. Who does she look like and what were their lives like? We have a trait we nicknamed the Babb Chin, which all my siblings and their kids share. My sister-in-law was the first to coin the phrase, but we never knew exactly how and why this came to be.

We had her adoption records unsealed many years ago and had gotten in touch with her biological mother who unfortunately, wasn’t interested in meeting. The father’s name (Lawrence Gail Howell) listed on the birth certificate didn’t check out with any such person living in the city where my mom was born. I had decided it must have been made up and stopped searching for him.

I’ve found that DNA is a powerful engine to solve the mysteries that the courts won’t/can’t help with. Frustrated at the lack of progress in finding my biological grandparents, I turned to DNA testing to help solve the mystery. I got my mom to take the test and had no sooner mailed it off and then stumbled on the solution to my problems the very same day. The test results aren’t even back yet, but Family Tree Maker had a suggestion that I noticed on the biological father.

In the years since my search a number of events have occurred that changed my ability to get to the answers. The 1940 Census was released and Lawrence had passed away. The suggestion from Family Tree Maker was for a headstone marker for him in a cemetery in San Marcos, TX, which isn’t terribly far from where my mom was born. Now armed with his birth and death dates, I found him listed in the 1940 census living right next door to the biological mother. She had moved to another city between 1930 and 1940 and apparently only came home to give birth to my mom.

I then came across a Private Family Tree on Ancestry.com and contacted the owner, who promptly gave me access. In that I found not only information about my Lawrence, but also about his parents. But the most stunning thing happened when I found pictures of my Great Grandparents in this tree. Their chins just jumped off the photo and I was filled with glee! I finally was able to see someone I look like and understand where that family trait came from. Now this may not be a momentous thing for most of us, but it is an incredible thing to someone who has never had the opportunity to know their family.

So with that let me share the pictures I found along with several from my family photo album so you can see what I’m talking about.

Here is to a successful genealogical pursuit. It may have taken 15 years to pay off, but it was worth it. As for the test results, they aren’t even back yet, but I am so glad I did them, because I might never have stumbled across this if not for them.

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