Everyone has a right to know their family history; that is my core philosophy. I began helping adoptees and others of unknown parentage as part of the search angel community, donating my effort and expertise to help people help themselves. However, not everyone has the time or background to solve their own cases. I can give you the attention you deserve in a way that fits your budget.
Meet Dr. Larkin
Leah Larkin earned her Ph.D. in biology from the University of Texas at Austin, where she used DNA to study the relationships among different species. She has worked in both academia and scientific publishing and applies those research skills daily to solving genealogical questions using DNA. Her background makes her uniquely qualified to analyze your DNA results to reveal your family history.
Leah is amazing to say the least. I was and still am a dummy when it comes to DNA and how it all works. She was so patient and understanding in explaining all of the questions I had. Thank you Leah for all you have done for me and all the others that you have helped fulfill a lifelong dream.
I am a adoptee that was searching for my biological family for many years. I now know my biological mother, father, half-brother, half-sister, aunts, uncles and cousins thanks to the hard work of Leah Larkin.
-D.K. (North Carolina)
Last year, Leah found my birth-parents for me. We had very little information to go on, and as we searched we discovered some of the info we had was wrong. Despite this, Leah was able to figure out who I was born to in just a couple of months! Her knowledge of genetics, ancestry search sites, and how to make connections between the two is amazing. Put together with her determination to solve the “puzzle” and her belief that people have the right to know where they come from, she is a formidable talent. She also lead me through the process of contacting my birth family. My birth father expressed to me he felt the approach was very well done and it helped him feel comfortable about making a connection with me. I am so thankful to Leah for her help.
—K.I. (North Carolina)
Some searches are easy, and some searches are impossible. Bring Leah in when you think it is impossible, and she will show you that miracles are real, and somewhere unicorns do exist! I was adopted, and found many members of my maternal family because I had information from my birth file. But, I had no information whatsoever about my birth father. I had completed DNA testing at FTDNA, 23andme, and AncestryDNA, but even as the results slowly trickled in, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Leah helped me, guided me, and eventually solved my mystery! It takes a lot of time, a lot of work, and a lot of understanding of biology, family trees and how they fit together. Somehow, all of a sudden, after months of hard work, and a few lucky matches that had to fit somewhere, voila! There is a clear picture transforming in front of you! For Leah it is not just the match guidance that she provides support with, it was the introductions, the broad array of feelings you will go through, introduction emails, and just being there when you are so excited about a breakthrough. Leah is not only a top notch genealogist with expertise in many different areas, but she is also someone who genuinely cares about the people she is helping. I recommend Leah without reservation, and would recommend her to any friend or family member who is looking for lost family.
I have just returned to UK from South Carolina where I met my birthfamily for the very 1st time.This was only made possible with the help of Leah Larkin who guided me through my DNA results. A wonderful lady who gets results.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you find unknown family using DNA?
We find connections among the DNA relatives listed by your genealogical DNA testing company. Those connections usually direct us to your ancestors, perhaps your 2nd or 3rd great grandparents. From there, we work forward in time using genealogical tools, specialized databases, and strategic testing of other people to confirm your biological family.
How long does a search take?
The duration of a search depends on many factors, including how close your DNA matches are, whether they have family trees, the accessibility of genealogical records, whether you are seeking a parent or a great grandparent, and whether you come from an endogamous group with a history of intermarrying. Most searches resolve within 10 to 20 hours of work over several months.
What kind of DNA test should I do?
We recommend that all clients take an autosomal DNA test through AncestryDNA and 23andMe. The data from AncestryDNA can be uploaded to other databases for a reduced fee. Men may also want to take a Y-DNA test through FamilyTreeDNA, which can sometimes connect you to your biological surname. Women do not have Y-DNA, so they cannot take this test. A third type of DNA testing, mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA, is only useful in specialized cases.
How does DNA testing work?
When you order an autosomal genealogical DNA test, you will receive a test kit by mail. The kit requires either saliva (AncestryDNA and 23andMe) or a cheek scrape (MyHeritage, FamilyTreeDNA), which you mail back to the company. They will analyze the sample and provide you with an estimate of your ethnicity as well as a list of relatives who share DNA with you. 23andMe also provides a variety of medical and trait reports for an extra fee.
Which DNA testing company should I use?
The three main autosomal DNA testing companies are AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and MyHeritage. The “best” one is always the one that has your closest relatives in their database, but we can’t know that ahead of time. Therefore, the best strategy is to test with AncestryDNA ($99) and 23andMe ($99, or $199 with medical reports), then to upload your AncestryDNA data into the MyHeritage database (free to upload, $29 to unlock extra features). If you are on a budget, test with AncestryDNA first, then expand to the other companies as necessary and as your budget allows. Men who want to take the Y-DNA test should do it through FamilyTreeDNA.
Can you guarantee results?
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that we will find your biological family. The success of a search depends on many factors that are beyond our control, such as how closely related your DNA relatives are, the ease of building family trees for them, and whether you come from an endogamous population. However, the DNA databases are growing rapidly, and a search that stalls now might resolve quickly in a few months or a year as closer matches are found.
What types of payment do you accept?
Payment can be made by check or PayPal.
Do you offer refunds?
We contract with our clients on a pre-paid hourly basis. Should you decide to cancel our agreement, we will refund payment for any unused research time, minus expenses and minimum hours threshold.