Green River Star -

By David Martin

DNA test helps man discover siblings


October 4, 2017

A DNA profile test helped reunite a Green River man with siblings nearly 75 years after his birth.

Bill Graham recently met family he had discovered online after taking the DNA test, traveling to Washington to meet them. The discovery started with a gift from Bill’s wife, Judy.

“Judy gave me (a DNA test kit) for Christmas, one of those that tells you where you came from and all that,” Bill said.

Bill was born in Washington, D.C., in 1942 and adopted in 1944, growing up on a farm in Virginia. He was an only child in his family, saying his parents had told him he was adopted early in life. He later discovered his mother’s name while looking at his adoption records.

Over the years, Bill has attempted to find other blood relatives using his mother’s name, with no success. Judy said they knew the DNA test would give them the opportunity to find family and Bill had told her about wanting to find them, despite not being able to do so beforehand.

Bill’s search ended about a day after he received his DNA results, when a woman claiming to be a relative emailed him through, which created the test Bill took. At first, Judy said she was dubious about the test and person, but was convinced after looking at her name and photos she had sent, saying those two additional bits of information clinched it for both of them. She turned out to be his niece.

A few emails exchanged turned into a plan to visit Bill’s new relatives, which happened earlier this summer. While he was born in Washington, D.C., Bill’s mother was originally from Washington state. Bill found out his biological grandfather had a job in Washington, D.C., which had brought his mother to that side of the country. She moved back to the west coast after giving birth to Bill. She later told Bill’s oldest sister she gave him up for adoption.

“They knew I was out there,” Bill said.

Bill’s family has extended to five brothers and sisters in the Washington and Oregon area, along with nieces and nephews. His oldest sister lives in Maui, Hawaii, who Bill said is happy to know she isn’t the oldest sibling now.

“He was the missing piece, they were the entire puzzle,” Judy said.

Overall, Judy describes the whole experience as a time of discovery for both her and her husband. They learned some surprising coincidences involving Bill and his siblings.

Bill worked in the food service industry for 50 years, something his son Blair has followed into. While meeting with his new family, Bill discovered the food industry was something a few of his newly-discovered family members had also gone into the industry.

Bill also discovered he shares a facial tick with his mother, something that was pointed out by his siblings.

Bill hopes to get his new family together in Palm Springs, Calif., to give his children a chance to meet their new family members.


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