Pam was Diane's very first DNA case. Everyone except Pam had given up on it. Pam had a lot of mystery surrounding who she was. Her adopted mother actually told her she would never be able to find out her birth mother. Well she underestimated this very determined lady.
Pam sued to have her adoption information opened in the State of Texas and won. She opened the envelope of information and it was empty. What we thought we knew was Pam's birth date and that she was born in Wichita County Texas. Not much to go on.
When she tested with FTDNA, Pam had a second cousin with a very high match with her that looked almost certainly like a 2nd cousin with 196 total cMs shared. Pam's second cousin LaVon had a wonderful genealogist in the family who was managing all the the family tests. This was the very competent Sue Benning who had many families members test in an effort to help Pam. I started with the cousin of course and used a trick that I still rely on.
I used all the surname information that I could extract from all of Pam's matches. I started building LaVon's tree and as I built if the surname of the people in the branch I came was not in Pam's surname list, I went to a different branch. Using this method I zeroed in on the Stowers' branch of LaVon's tree. The Stowers were a large genealogicaly complicated family in east Texas. Like many Texas founding families, the ancestors came to the areas near Jamestown very early in our nation's history. The family moved out to the outer reaches of Virginia and the younger sound travelled to Kentucky and Tennessee to get land. As soon as the opportunity presented itself, they went to the newly opened land in Texas.
I kept trying to prove that I was wrong, that it could not be the Stowers but DNA tests and new cousins kept pointing to the same place. I do not know if Pam believed me at first but I would tell her that she was related to this and that historical figure. Finally I was down to the right generation but it was a large family and which offspring was it? Well I knew Pam was born in Wichita County so I started combing Texas records for a Stowers in the county about the right time. I just happened to look at a birth index and saw that a Stowers female had a baby girl in August of the year Pam was born (Pam's birthday was October). Well there was a Stowers in the county but this ruled her out if she had a baby two months before Pam was born. Well, for some reason I could not let that drop. Patty had the Texas Search Angels look for a trace of that little girl. I looked for that little girl everywhere. We could not find a death, adoption record or anything about her life as she grew up. I emailed Patty, that I just had a feeling this was Pam. I told Pam I thought she was born in August not October, I am sure Pam thought I was crazy. We kept trying to rule this out, but Pam found that the Stowers women had 3 more children so Pam gathered her courage and wrote the "I think I might be your sister" email. The half sister said of course not, that her mother had told her about the baby and told her that the baby died. Several months later the sister agreed to test after flying out to meet with Pam. In the meantime she had connected with her mother's brother who said she looked a lot like her mother.
This picture is Pam in the middle meeting her two possible half sisters
What do you think?
The test came back that Deb on the left is Pam's half sister!
We have identified a possible birth father through DNA but have been unable to contact his son so far.