I am trying to determine the background of my deceased wife. She was left in Central Park N. Y. on a bench in 1938. She is deceased as of 2001.

We had two daughters, and one daughter has tested most of the FTDNA tests available. Gedmatch turned up 144 matches within 4 generations.

Over the past twenty years starting with our daughter's DNA we found that my wife was brought up by German Immigrant parents who adopted her from the NY Foundling home in 1942. The religion, name and birth date information given to my wife by the foundling home was Lutheran Christian. She was brought in by park police on 8 Oct 1938 and thought to be about 4 months old.

We found thru my daughter's DNA that the family heritage is actually Ashkenazi, Jewish on both sides. We developed a data base of 7000 babies born around the time, we searched visa apps, immigration records, ships manifests, etc.

Where to go from here?

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    John, can you please review questions tagged adoption & dna and search the already existing questions on getting started. Then refine your question to be more specific as there is not a lot of detail for us to give a specific answer to such a broad question that has not already been covered in other questions. We would love to help, we just need something specific to work with. DNA testing is a good start though, but describing what you have done with your results and a specific stumbling block you are currently faces is a good first specific. Please check out the Help->tour
    – CRSouser
    Mar 18, 2016 at 16:42
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    Thank you for that extra information which you would normally use to revise your own question by using the edit button beneath it. We will try to incorporate it in for you because we have a privacy policy that relates to anyone born less than 100 years ago (see our help center). I've removed anything which I think risks violating that. To learn more about the site and its protocols I recommend taking its 2-minute Tour.
    – PolyGeo
    Mar 23, 2016 at 22:48

1 Answer 1


Your best resource so far is your daughter's DNA matches. Contact them and try to see how they match each other, the surnames they relate to, and find their common ancestors. You and your other daughter should both take autosomal DNA tests to get more matches, and also to distinguish your DNA from your wife's in your daughter's DNA.

Identify which matches are your relatives, your wife's father's relatives, and your wife's mother's relatives. Then start building descendant trees from the common ancestors to the present day. Hopefully you can build a list of your wife's potential parents, and find some new living relatives whose DNA could unlock the mystery. You can also transfer your DNA results to other companies, and hopefully get more matches from their databases.

After you have some surnames and/or parental candidates, you can start searching through the thousands of babies born between April and August 1938.

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