There are some things in life that don’t get neatly resolved. While the movies we watch often see their characters find closure and the plot tied up with a bow, real life rarely gives concrete answers to mysteries.
However, when it comes to those searching for their biological parents or investigating their family histories, there have been huge scientific advancements that can help their cause. Anthea Ring was abandoned as a child, and has spent the whole of her life wondering who exactly her parents were. Now, she has her answer.
Anthea was found crying on the South Downs in Sussex on August 26 1937. Abandoned in a bush, she was wearing a pink dress, her hands were tied, and she was covered in insect bites and scratches – all at the delicate age of nine months old.
She was swiftly taken to hospital, but a nationwide search for her parents came up empty. After six months she was adopted by another family, and wasn’t told about the mystery until she was 24.
Anthea has reportedly spent the last 35 years looking for her birth parents, and due to advances in DNA testing, she was able to find out that she was of Irish descent back in 2016, with the help of family history detective and genetic genealogist Julia Bell. After all those years of searching, she has finally discovered the identity of her father – at the age of 81.
Six years ago DNA testing narrowed the search down to her father being one of six brothers from the Coyne family, who originated from County Galway in Ireland. The results couldn’t tell them exactly which brother it was, but then there was a break in the case. Finding 30-year-old letters from one brother, Patrick, they managed to test the saliva on the stamps to confirm that he was indeed the father.
“Stamps and other materials containing DNA such as hair from a brush, can often provide vital evidence in DNA testing,” David Nicholson, Founder and Managing Director at Living DNA said, “and this has proved critical in Anthea’s very personal, and long-running, case to learn her roots.”
Unfortunately, seeing as Anthea is in her 80’s, her biological father had died long before she had a chance to meet him. However, she has now had the opportunity to connect to her past and contact his wider family.
Anthea, now a grandmother living in Bradford-upon-Avon, explained:
“I’m delighted to have found the final piece in the puzzle of my family history. Who would have thought that stamps from decades old letters were the key to unlocking my story?
“I can now finally tell my children and grandchildren about their roots and where they came from.
“I feel like I have some closure. It’s wonderful. Being able to track down my family has been incredible.”
While this may not be the case for everyone hoping to discover their family histories, it’s amazing that Anthea finally got some closure on this mystery, which unfolded over eight decades.