Thursday, August 22, 2013

Montez Brown Discovers His Birth Mother By Transferring His 23andMe Raw Data to Family Tree DNA

As many of you know, I always recommend that adoptees "fish in all three ponds" for close relatives. This means getting your DNA into each of the autosomal DNA databases - 23andMe, Family Tree DNA and AncestryDNA - if at all possible. The story below is one of the best arguments that I have seen so far for transferring 23andMe raw data to Family Tree DNA's Family Finder database as soon as possible!

As one of the administrators of the "Adopted DNA Project" at Family Tree DNA, I recently received this message: 

Montez Brown has left the Adopted group.
Reason for Leaving: Amazingly, when I transferred my 23andMe raw DNA data to FTDNA, I found my Birth Mother on FTDNA.

Wow! I asked Mr. Brown for more details and this is what he shared:

I FOUND my Birth Mother on (Friday, 26 Jul 13)!!! This is soooo crazy! My emotions are running HIGH right now! For 46 years I've felt the same void that most Adoptees feel by not knowing who they are or where they came from. I've always thought that it would be easy to find my mother if I should ever look for her because of the circumstances that surrounded the adoption, but I never really took the initiative to find her. I guess my own life trials and tribulations took precedence. It was only six weeks ago that I decided to start the quest for my identity using DNA testing via To gauge my expectations, I focused primarily on discovering the makeup of my Ancestry; any additional discovery would be a nice bonus, i.e. finding family members that might lead me to my biological parents. After connecting with a couple of distant cousins on 23andMe, I decided to upload my 23andMe raw DNA data to After one week, I received an email notification that stated I had family matches waiting for review. I immediately logged on to check out what I thought would be more cousins, but to my surprise I had a "Parent/Child" match. After performing a quick search on the email that was included in her profile, I suspected that the match was MY MOTHER! I found her telephone number online and immediately contacted her. She was very excited and pleased that I had finally tracked her down. We connected with each other instantly. Amazingly, this was all done online within a 6-week time period. I realize this type of discovery is an exception to the rule, but NEVER say NEVER, and don't ever give up on your quest! 

Mr. Brown also goes by the pen name of Montez DeCarlo. You can read more about his amazing story here.


  1. I do not think this goes for adoptees only if you are searching for more family lines and confirmation of those lines. I think that one day DNA testing will become the norm in building the standard genealogy record.
    Sometimes when we recommend fishing in all three ponds to adoptees I feel we are giving them false hope. But it is hope in the form of the DNA lottery and the only shot some people have. The databases are becoming huge. On FF alone I now have close to 450 matches. In Sept. 2010 I had a total of 22. That is 20X growth or 2,000 per cent. I always try to let adoptees know there are no promises or guarantees but we have seen that lightening strike. I have had 2 or 3 second cousin matches in AncestryDNA and one each in FF and 23 and Me. Some of them I would not have found if I had only tested in one "pond". All matches to DNA are awesome but anything at the solid 3rd cousin or better is awesome! Thank you CeCe for all you do.

    1. Thank you! I agree that this isn't only applicable to adoptees. I recommend it for everyone, but it is more pressing fro any adoptee, of course.
      I don't really feel like we are giving them false hope. As you may know, we are seeing close family matches and DNA only cases solved almost every day now. Most stay private for obvious reasons, but I do feel that we are reaching critical mass where most people (except for those descended from recent immigrants) will get meaningful matches now. That's not to say that their birth parents will immediately be identified in all cases, but they will regain portions of their heritage.
      It will only get better from here!

  2. What an awesome story. This gives adoptees hope and helps them to know that maybe someday they will all get the answers they are searching for.

  3. Left the group? Too bad he didn’t stay and help others. We need more activists to get bad laws changed. New York State, for one, is in the dark ages on open records. Still using the lame old arguments against adoptees’ rights.

    Anne Johnson
    Potsdam, NY

    1. Hi Anne,
      It is just a DNA project that facilitates admin access, not one of the AdoptionDNA lists where we help adoptees with their results. Leaving it doesn't mean that he won't help others. Since Montez is a writer, he may be in the position to help get the word out that there is hope for adoptees who are still searching through DNA testing.