It has been a privilege to work on Long Lost Families: Born Without Trace 2. Finding parents without any usable data of any kind is tricky, to say the least. I really enjoy the challenge of the most difficult – if not ‘impossible to solve’ – cases. So many have given up all hope of finding family; to be able to give people much needed answers is rewarding and provides much-needed closure for foundlings.

DNA detective work

There’s a real art to it all, and a tremendous amount of work involved in sifting through the cousin matches (after a DNA test at the direct-to-consumer sites) looking for commonalities, and a piecing together of ‘the clues’ – common surnames, locations, shared ancestors in the 1700s etc – to ultimately achieve ‘the goal’ of identifying the biological parents for a foundling.

This process can take many months depending on the amount of cousin representation on the databases.

After a while, I get a real sense of where a biological parent was born and often had family for centuries in some particular small hamlet. I know which surnames are going to be key as I progress further, and can often predict which surnames will be on particular village war memorials: people stayed put in the past.

“Mothers do not relinquish children lightly”

It’s incredibly rewarding when it all comes together. I particularly love the detective work involved and the real stories and motivations that drive parents to leave their children.

Malicious abandonment is vanishingly rare, I have found, and the Long Lost Family and Wall2Wall team are highly professional and empathetic – not only towards contributors to the programme, but also towards the biological parents themselves.

Mothers do not relinquish children lightly and if people only knew the often incredibly difficult circumstances that women in particular have had to face even in more recent times, they would understand why this sometimes feels like the only course of action available.

I hope you enjoy the programme: you can watch the trailer here.

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