Ken Searches For His Father

Ken, a former Marine chaplain, discovered at age 18 that the man his mother was married to was not his actual father. When he confronted her, the only thing his mother told him was that his biological father was a jazz musician named “Harold Smith.” For the remainder of her life, that was all she would reveal about him. But he wanted more.

Ken and his wife, Vanessa

He had been searching for his father ever since he found out the truth, but his pursuit hit a brick wall. Several years ago, Ken’s children gave him a DNA test kit for Father’s Day. Weeks later when he received his test results, he got the shock of his life. He was 40% Caucasian. Ken thought this was clearly a mistake, so he took another DNA test from a different company. But the results were the same. He started reaching out to some of the family matches he had found through DNA testing, but couldn’t determine how exactly they were related, or how he was almost half Caucasian

Then, Ken uploaded his test results to FamilyTreeDNA’s database. Once he did that, he found exactly what he’d been searching for all these years: his father. Harold Smith was still alive and living in a nursing home in Georgia. His father also had other children who had previously uploaded his DNA to the database. It turns out that Harold, also a veteran, was a touring musician who once played for James Brown.

Ken and his father, Harold.

The Search Continues

But the search still wasn’t over. Harold, too, had never known his own father–but Harold’s children had found a half-sibling of his through several DNA databases. They also had a picture of a man they believed to be their grandfather. He was a Caucasian Marine who had fallen in love with an African-American woman in 1930s Georgia, but due to that time in history, they could not be in an open bi-racial relationship. However, they did have a child together, and that child was Harold.

Young Harold

Ken’s FamilyTreeDNA Story

Ken’s entire extended family’s DNA results have been moved to FamilyTreeDNA’s database to keep track of everyone. They’re still searching military records to find out more about this man they believe to be their grandfather. The more matches they find, the more clues they have to their discover their origins, and the more Ken’s children will know about their family history as well. For Ken, who continues to minister to those in need, Ken’s FamilyTreeDNA story revealed a long-awaited answer to his lifelong prayer.