It was one year ago that Western New York resident Heather Mancuso went on a mission to find her father’s biological family – something that meant the world for her to know.
“My father was adopted and I always wondered who his birth parents were since they were my biological family, too,” said Mancuso. “My father didn’t have much interest in the beginning but he knew how much it meant to me, so he gave me his blessing to find them.”
And so Mancuso, who had no experience in finding biological families, started doing some research. She utilized various programs like 23 and Me and Ancestry.com to find them. It was a tedious process, but in the end she was able to locate both sides of her father’s family. Crazy enough, her entire birth family is from Rochester (Mancuso and her dad are from Florida and she moved to WNY after meeting her husband.) She met her dad’s brother and sister in September.
“I waited my entire adult life for that moment. They are just as happy to call me family as I am to call them and we still keep in touch,” she said.
Now Mancuso helps others find their biological family using traditional genealogical research in combination with DNA test results. She’s helped people from all over the U.S. but says she wants to focus on those in WNY. It’s important for her help others because she was helped when she was new to this experience and feels it’s her duty to do the same for others.
“The ending to my personal story is a happy one and the relationships I’ve been able to build with my found family fills a hole I didn’t know I had. I’ve changed my own life, I’ve changed my father’s life, I’ve brought people together again within my found family, and I’ve created a story that matters to all of us. I want to be able to give that to others and give them the opportunity to feel as complete as I do. Everyone deserves that kind of happy ending. Not all stories have that, but at the very least, the people I help are able to close a chapter in their lives. They’re able to find peace. Fortunately, most of the people that I have helped have all had pretty successful reunions. It’s not promised, but you don’t know if you don’t try. I’ve helped 13 people so far and I’d like that number to grow.”
If you’d like help finding your biological family, visit https://www.facebook.com/HMGeneticGenealogy/ or email Hmgeneticgenealogy@gmail.com