Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA by Richard Hill – A Book Review

Disclaimer: I purchased this book and have received no remuneration/compensation for this review. My opinion is my own.

Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA by Richard Hill is a really interesting read. What drew me to this book is the fact that Mr. Hill began the search to learn about his birth parents long before the advent of the internet and even longer before DNA testing for family historians became widely available.

It is a great case study in how to follow both the paper trail and DNA results. The foreward was written by Bennett Greenspan, President of Family Tree DNA.

Author Richard Hill, of DNA-Testing-Adviser, explains in his introduction that many pieces had to come together to solve his mystery, but without the human factor and input, the fine details of his story and the knowledge he has gained would have remained unknown.

Mr. Hill also offers his own story up to adoptees as a tips-and-techniques guide to help them find success in their own search.

Don’t be put off by the length of the book (over 260 pages) plus a bonus section – Guide to DNA Testing. I read the whole book in a couple of days while I was on a cruise.

Finding Family begins, not at the beginning of the author’s life, but when he was entering his freshman year of college. A new family doctor unwittingly revealed the family secret of Mr. Hill’s adoption, which was a complete shock to him.

The early chapters cover the pre-internet days and the successes and frustrations of the paper trail search. While the search for his birth mother began with a few pieces of information provided by his adoptive father and state records, but took years to piece together all the details, the crumb trail to Mr. Hill’s birth father was long and twisted.

His story is fascinating as his paternal line led to five brothers. In spite of DNA testing becoming available to the general public, there was still a surprise ending. Not wanting to spoil the element of surprise, I won’t go into any further details.

I would recommend this book not only to adoptees also wanting to identify birth parents, but to genealogy researchers in general because it is also an excellent example of a typical family tree search – beginning with what is known, hitting road blocks and finding work-arounds, which sometimes means setting a problem aside and waiting for time to open new resources.

Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA by Richard Hill, published in 2017 by Familius LLC is available online, both in hard copy and ebook formats.

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