Thank You Letter To Bennett Greenspan Of Family Tree DNA

Hello Mr Greenspan, Alan Madden here again, though I don’t presume you would remember me… I have been involved with your DNA testing since 2004, trying to find my paternal grandfather, my dad never having known any thing of him.

This mystery, 75 years old this last August, has finally been solved. For 40 years I have been pounding my forehead against this brick wall, and it is now solved, ironically, the week that would have been of my Fathers 75th birthday.

Familyfinder resuts, cross referenced with Y-DNA results, finally broke this mystery…. well, I suppose I should get credit for doggedly digging through the data, and finally playing the right hunch…. based on the paper trail evidence I had been collecting for 40 years.

Shumate, ancestrally de LaChaumette is my real surname…. I had taken my close Y matches, and started looking for those names amongst the ancestral surnames of my familyfinder matches…. when I got a bunch of hits for Shumate, I started looking for Shumates in the area I knew my grandmother was at when she conceived(found her original ssi app years ago, and it coincided with what would have been her conception window)

I also reached out to my distant Shumate matches through familyfinder, and enlisted their help to find Shumates that were in the right place, at the right time. We found a family with a couple men that  were in the right age range, narrowed it down to 2 of them, a father and son, and waited. We figured we had it but couldnt be sure which one it was…

Then it happened….  I got matches to  both the father, and his wife! Meaning, it was the son, not the father, because I wouldnt match the wife if i was only descended of the Father.  Then, with both names, Shumate and Sanders(his wife, to whom I match) pencilled in, I was able to explain a number of familyfinder matches we couldn’t explain before. They fell right in line, further verifying my Shumate lineage.

I was shell shocked, I mean, I had finally figured it out!! for decades I was told I couldn’t do it, even you had your doubts, legitimate doubts, to be sure, as familyfinder wasn’t even available when we first started corresponding. But I persevered, obsessed, really, if you look at the wreck my life has been for the last decade or so. I mean, I dropped out of college to continue this search, even moved across country multiple times for my genealogical detective work.

I have been in touch now, online, and a couple of phone calls, with my fathers family for a couple months now. We have exchanged family pictures, and can see the obvious relation. When I spoke to my Great Uncle on the phone, I finally knew where my Father and I’s deep voices came from…. It was like hearing my voice, mixed with my father’s voice, talking to me. It was surreal, given that my dad has been gone now for 17 years. I wish he was still here, more so now than ever. I truly wanted to give him his true name.

Though none of us have met in person yet, I am relieved that they have been accepting of us. Turns out, Grampa was no saint, and his siblings and children knew it. Apparently my father wasn’t the only child he had, that he was never aware of.

so I want to thank you personally, and invite you, time permitting of course, to ask me questions about my research methodology, and to offer technical advice, for the screenplay and book that I hope to produce about this. I will definitely be giving Family Tree DNA big props, and a prominent position in the story…..

Alan Madden

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