Bob Weiss is an adoptee who is almost 85 years old and thanks to a DNA testing and matching kit from 23andMe he has finally found his long-lost biological family.
He has wondered about his birth parents and family ever since an argument at the age of 16 with his adopted parents, where it was revealed that he was an adoptee.
During a typical teenage argument with his adopted mother, he accused her of not being his real mother. To his surprise, his adopted mother, Lillian Weiss, replied, “Yes, that’s true. You were adopted.”
After that family revelation Weiss felt like he had lost everything he thought he knew about himself.
Weiss’s Family Search Problems
Over the years, Weiss experienced problems with the state of New York in obtaining his birth records for employment purposes and, later, for a passport application. The state of New York told him there was nothing in their records about his birth.
He was only able to obtain his passport after an uncle vouched for the location of his birth as Buffalo, NY.
Weiss lived most of his adult life with this family mystery and there was little he could do about it.
Once he had children, he really wanted to find out about his biological family due to health reasons as well as his own personal need to know about his family roots.
Weiss Finds Clues About His Family
After his retirement in 1998, he decided to find out more about his birth family. Weiss wrote to the department of health statistics in New York state and listed the names and dates he knew and asked for any information they could find.
Due to privacy laws in New York regarding adoption records, all the state of New York was allowed to tell Weiss was that his birth mother was Hungarian, Jewish and 31 years old.
His birth mother stated in the adoption papers that she was married, and her husband didn’t believe the child was his and said he would divorce her if she kept the baby.
She also stated that she had another son who was 4 years old at the time of Weiss’s birth.
Even though the state of New York could not reveal the identity of his birth mother, Weiss felt like now he finally had some information to continue his family search with.
In 2005 his wife bought him a DNA testing kit for his 75th birthday. Weiss sent his DNA sample into the company and said he would receive back possible matches, but the service never panned out.
23andMe Finds His Family Tree
After that, Weiss’s son Aaron suggested that they both submit saliva tests to 23andMe.
23andMe is a company that does DNA matching for people and provides reports on ancestry, family history and help with reconnecting with biological relatives that are still alive.
23andMe is the largest DNA ancestry database in the world, containing DNA records on nearly 1 million genotyped people.
After submitting their DNA samples to 23andMe, Weiss and his son started to receive about 150 matches each month, mostly of Hungarian, Ashkenazy Jewish relations along with a few Italian matches as well.
The Long Overdue Family Reunion
Eventually, 23andMe DNA matching found a half-niece named Melanie Ott.
Weiss was able to contact Melanie Ott, who was amazed to discover she had family that she never knew about.
Melanie had submitted her DNA sample to 23andMe in 2014, mostly out of curiosity for health information. She never dreamed the service would find family that were unknown to her at the time.
After reviewing self photos that Weiss sent her, Melanie was able to figure out that his mother was likely her grandmother Natalie Baker.
However, they needed DNA from another living male relative to confirm this.
Through a search of newspaper archives in Buffalo, NY, they were able to locate another living male relative who willingly provided the DNA that was needed to prove that Natalie Baker was, in fact, Weiss’s biological mother.
However, Natalie Baker’s husband Max was not a match for his father.
Biological Father Mystery Still A Mystery
Bob Weiss still doesn’t know who his father is. However, there are some DNA clues that point to one of several men from an Italian family with the surname La Duca, who owned the house in Buffalo, NY that Max and Natalie Baker rented around the time that Weiss was born.
Weiss believes that it is possible that one of these La Duca men had an affair with his biological mother that resulted in his birth.
Weiss doesn’t know if the mystery of who his father was will ever be solved, but the Italian DNA link offers a clue that he is willing to explore further.