Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Amazing DNA

    In a previous post I told the story of my father and his birth. He and his twin were born in Ft. Myers, Florida in 1924. Their parents were not married to each other. The twins were removed from their mother by the state of Florida in November 1925. In December 1925, they went to live with the Pixlers in Sanford, Florida. Thanks to DNA I finally have some answers.

   My father was open about being adopted and even though he was curious, he accepted not knowing his biological parents identity. His brother, however, wanted to find them, especially his mother. Because of privacy laws, my uncle wasn't able to get any information. My dad did know that he was named Calvin Coolidge Lee. His brother was John Davis Lee. They were named after the two candidates for president in 1924. My dad said that Lee wasn't his father's surname. I am not sure how he knew this but he was right.
   In 1999, I learned some non identifying information from Children's Home Society in Florida. The twins were placed with the Pixler's in anticipation of adoption. They were renamed William Vandervort Pixler and Jack Pierpoint Pixler. The Pixler's had some financial problems and were never able to afford to complete the adoption. Even without a completed adoption, my father and uncle remained in the Pixler household. In 1940, their names were legally changed by a judge in Sanford, Florida.

  The Backstory
    Their birth mother had at least two sisters and both were married at the time. There is a statement in the letter from CHS that I find perplexing. It is "One sister was married to a lawyer and had no children".  There isn't any explanation of why the twins weren't placed with a family member. I guess it could be the circumstances of their birth. Their mother had been married and her husband left with their two daughters when he found out about the affair. Her father was a farmer and due to the loss of his wife, he was unable to help with the children. The birth father was a farmer with a wife and children and was unable to help financially.
   There is no information on where any of these people lived. I know the birth mother had to live in Florida because the twins were removed by that state. Even though they were born in Ft. Myers, there is nothing to suggest they were living there in 1925. The Lee surname could be her name, a family name or even the name of the county they were born in.
   And now DNA comes to the rescue. We have just learned through my brother's Y-dna that my father's surname was Wilcox. All 15 matches on his Y chromosome are Wilcox. According to Family Tree DNA, that is conclusive. It is great having a life long question answered. Whether or not I find my biological grandfather, just knowing his surname is wonderful.
   The hunt continues for my biological grandmother. 
DNA is a great tool to have in a genealogical tool kit. I would recommend Family Tree DNA


  1. Congratulations on discovering your father's surname! That's wonderful!

  2. Mary,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!