Once you have reached the moment of taking that first step to try to find a familial connection, the task may seem daunting and overwhelming. We offer these helpful steps, tips and suggestions below to help you successfully get started.
Step 1: DNA Testing
This should always be the initial step to finding a family member because DNA doesn't lie. The major DNA testing companies have such large databases that your chances of discovering those who match with you are high and likely. You may find links to these DNA testing companies on Our Affiliates page.
If you have already submitted your DNA to one of the testing companies, you can share the results with us. Here is a brief tutorial on how Share Your Ancestry DNA and Tree with us.
Step 2: Collecting and Organizing Data
This step is critical because it helps you record your memories that may help in your research later. Small details might not seem significant, but could help you connect the dots, so be sure to list any and all information you know or can remember. It can either be done on paper, but if you have it available, can be done on a computer or mobile device as well. We use this Standard Client Template to log client information.
- If you are the Veteran, begin by recording your name (legal and any nick names), date and place of birth, military info such as branch, the dates and locations you served, your rank and duties. If you know any info on the potential mother and/or child, also record this. Also, include your past and current phone numbers and addresses, and any other details that may help you on your search. Be sure to gather any photos of you as a young military service member, and if you have any photos of your time in the service, or perhaps the mother and child you are seeking. Be sure to write important details on the backs of these photos, or if scanned digitally, include this information with the photos.
- If you are the Amerasian Child, begin by recording your name (legal and any nick names both native and American versions), date and place of birth. Record the same information for your birth mother as well, be sure to include any descriptions of her appearance, where she worked and any other details of her relation to the American GI. If you know any info on the potential father, list this as well. If you were brought to the United States from the government, or were adopted, list complete details of your journey. Also, include your past and current phone numbers and addresses, and any other details that may help you on your search. Be sure to gather any photos of you, your mother or family members from the time you were born or a small child, or perhaps the father or his friends during his service time. Be sure to write important details on the backs of these photos, or if scanned digitally, include this information with the photos.
Step 3: Submit your info to our database
You can do so by downloading and filling out our Client Log (Word Doc or PDF) and then emailing scanned copies to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will compile your submitted information to our master database and compare it to see if there are any similarities to match. Please make sure to email us any photos also.
Step 4: The Wait
This is possibly the hardest part, waiting until your DNA results are completed. We have some suggestions on what to do while you wait.
- Visit Our Affiliates page for links to different online support groups.
- Join our Warbabies Facebook Group on our website to discuss your feelings in a safe and secure environment. This is a NO JUDGEMENT ZONE, any negative comments will be removed.
- Join one of the many Facebook groups for Veterans or Amerasians and read through the posts.
- Do some Google searching of different Veteran groups or Amerasian groups.
- Create posts with your basic info and the info of who you are searching for. Be sure not to include too much info to keep your identity safe and secure. Photos should be included.
Step 5: DNA results are in!
(You may already have your DNA test results, if so skip down to the second paragraph.) Once your DNA results are in, your initial reaction would be to look through them. You may do so but understand that the first few days, the testing company is working to find you matches. You can keep checking, but better results should come after the first week.
Here is the information that you want to be looking for: your closest match with the highest Centimorgens. See examples below.
23 and Me Match
Basic Centimorgans Relationship Chart
If you are one of the lucky few who have a match that is 700 centimorgans or higher, you have a higher probability of finding your child, father, sibling, aunt/uncle or grandparent. If you have a match with less than 700 centimorgans, figuring out who is who becomes more of a challenge. It IS possible, just takes a little more work.
Make a list of your Top 5 closest matches. Record as much info as you can about them. Obviously if you are a Veteran and know your matches are related to you that are not Asian, you don't have to worry about contacting them, unless you would like to anyway. 🙂 The same goes for Amerasians, if you know you have a match and how they are related to you, you may exclude them from your list. Only include those Top 5 matches who you suspect are related to the person you are seeking.
Another helpful tip that we recently realized. If you are American seeking an Amerasian family member, try this. Go to your DNA matches, enter Vietnam or any other specific location. This searches your DNA Matches that have their birth location from Vietnam or which ever location you select.
Step 6: Making Contact
This step is quite involved and requires some sensitive discussions. Please see our page on Making Contact, for suggestions on how to explain your story and ask for appropriate info from your match.