Joy cometh later in the afternoon




Joy cometh later in the afternoon – helping an adoptee connect

Nearly every week, a mystery is solved or some interesting twig (or nut) appears somewhere on the family tree. Here is a little news of recent findings.

“You are a PEACH!”

“I cannot say thank you enough”

“You are a genuine search angel!”


“We’re over the moon about this–has to be better than drugs!”

“You are a pearl beyond measure for sharing all the information.”

“I cannot even begin to thank you, but thank you thank you thank you.”

“I wanted to take a moment to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help.”


It’s not every day that a few minutes of time can result in multiple emails thanking me profusely for my help. Joy cometh later in the afternoon was the title of one of the emails. Joy was a great word to describe how a trio of searchers felt when I shared information about one of my relatives. It is a good feeling from my end to know that I was able to send someone the first photo they had ever seen of their grandmother and an obituary that answered a couple big questions. My time investment was small, but their thankfulness was big.

I won’t go into the details or use real names since this involves people who are still alive, but the gist of the story (with made up names and places) is as follows:

Michael was adopted at birth. He did DNA testing to find his birth family. His father-in-law, William, was very involved and interested in the search as well.

Mary Jones, who just happens to be a genealogist who has taken some DNA classes, DNA-matched Michael as a distant cousin. She contacted Michael because on GEDMatch, he matched her and all of her Jones relatives who had done DNA testing.

She stared at all the people who matched both she and Michael and came to a conclusion that he must have been a Doe from Iowa.

Michael may have been a little skeptical since he lived on the west coast, a long way from Iowa. Plus, he didn’t know Mary yet, so didn’t know that she actually might know what she was talking about when it came to DNA. It’s perhaps human nature to be skeptical.

Mary had a couple Jones relatives who had married into the Doe family. Both marriages produced lots of children, so the Doe surname exists in large numbers in one particular area of Iowa. So, Mary became more and more convinced that Michael was born a Doe.

Michael then found his birth mother and was able to talk to her on the phone. She didn’t have much to share about his birth father except that his name was Sam Doe, Sam’s mothers name was Christina, and that when she knew him, he “was living with his grandparents, whose name sounded like rabies and he lived in Smallville, Iowa.”  Yes, Doe. Yes, Iowa. He decided that Mary might actually be on to something.

But, Mary didn’t know how Sam Doe, who they sadly found was deceased, fit into the larger family tree.

For years, the trio, tried to find a Mr. and Mrs. Rabies who had a grandson with the last name Doe.

On a whim, Mary decided to call a distant Doe relative of hers to see if he might remember something about a baby given up for adoption. The lady who answered the phone informed her that Mr. Doe had Alzheimers and was in a memory care facility. She emphatically denied knowing anything about anything, but then proceeded to say that Malina Rabies’ son had had a child with someone and given him up for adoption.

Malina, not Christina!


Mary started searching and found me. I was the only one to have anything close to a Malina Rabies in a tree on Ancestry. Malina Rebes, not Christina Rabies. With a quick google search, she saw that I did genealogy professionally. She sent me a message through Ancestry and as I was writing a reply, she called me.

In just minutes, I was able to pull things from my files and send her back an email with information on Malina Rebes and her family. Malina Rebe had only been married to Mr. Doe for a short while, had went on to marry Mr. Smith, and had died very young. The second marriage and early death made her hard to find.

Michael and I are 3rd cousins 1x removed through one of my maternal lines, so I was able to point the group to one of my books in case they get to the point where they want to explore that particular line in more detail.

So, after nearly two years of searching, Mary, Michael, and William had answers. I got a lot of praise, but really, I didn’t do much. Well, I didn’t do much that day anyway. Because I had chased ancestors and their descendants in this family, even the descendants who are a bit removed, I had these people in my database. Because I have an insatiable interest in knowing as much as possible about all of these relatives, I had Malina Rebes Doe Smith’s obituary in my files. Being able to share what I know with these folks, makes all the time I spent seem worth it.

It’s nice to be able to help. And, it is especially nice when someone says, “Thank You!”

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