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Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA Paperback – August 17, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


In this debut memoir, one man embarks on a nearly three-decade quest to find his biological family...Hill's prose is clear and straightforward throughout, marked by a methodological tone that reflects his careers in science and marketing. Seamlessly and descriptively, he folds a decades-long process into a comprehensible narrative. His years of meticulous note taking translate into an inspiring story about his dedicated search for the truth.
An engaging, page-turning memoir that thoughtfully puts together the pieces of a family puzzle. --Kirkus Reviews

Richard's story reads like a good mystery novel. He is methodical, creative, determined and unexpectedly funny. I couldn't put the book down.--CeCe Moore, Blogger, Your Genetic Genealogist

This book is what we used to refer to as a barn-burner! Gets ahold of you and just won't let you go!...a wonderfully executed masterpiece. Whether you are interested in genetic genealogy, adoption searches or just like a good heart-warming mystery, you'll love this book!--Roberta Estes, Blogger, DNAeXplained

"Finding Family" tells a gripping, inspirational story, but it also does more: It provides a genuinely useful self-help guide for adopted people, genealogists and anyone else who wants to explore their personal history.--Adam Pertman, Executive Director, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and author of Adoption Nation.

A fascinating new page-turner. [I was] completely unable to put it down... I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in genealogy, family secrets, genetic genealogy, or mystery in general. The book is a complete and entertaining saga from A to Z.--Blaine Bettinger, Blogger, The Genetic Genealogist

About the Author

Richard Hill's groundbreaking use of genetic genealogy tests in adoption search was featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. In order to share his success secrets and tips with other adoptees and genealogists, Hill created an educational web site,, which makes genetic genealogy understandable to all.

His first book, "Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA," is a memoir recounting his personal experience as an adoptee searching for his biological family. His second, "Guide to DNA Testing," presents a concise, easy-to-understand overview of genetic genealogy testing today.

Richard gives talks and interviews on DNA testing. As the unifying expert who bridges the fields of genetic genealogy and adoption search, he has become the go-to person for adoptees and others seeking to find lost relatives or confirm suspected relationships.

The author has a BS in physics, an MBA, and more than thirty years experience in marketing. 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1475190832
  • ISBN-13: 978-1475190830
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (256 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

At 18 years old, Richard Hill accidentally discovered a deeply hidden family secret: he was adopted. Assuming he would never know any details, he was startled to learn many years later that he had a brother out there somewhere. What then began as a search for his mother and brother turned into a decades long search for the identify of his biological father.

Thwarted for years by sealed records, lies, and cover-ups, Richard eventually turned to a series of new DNA tests designed for genealogists. His groundbreaking use of this new science to uncover the name of his birth father was reported on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. Subsequently, newer DNA tests would lead him to an even more startling conclusion.

Richard has made it his personal mission to share what he learns with other adoptees and genealogists. He does that through his web site,, social media, presentations, and now his books.

His memoir, "Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA," was named a Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The electronic version was awarded a gold medal in the Global Ebook Awards.

His "Guide to DNA Testing" eBook provides an easy-to-understand overview of genetic genealogy. Readers quickly learn how to identify ancestors, confirm relationships, and measure their ethnic ancestry.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Nicole on August 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So well written. I ordered this book August 26, received it August 28 and finished August 29. I could not put it down. I read the entire thing from 8am to 2:45pm. Although this book will appeal to a large audience it is grippingly personal. Richard's story of how he found out he was adopted and then his thirty plus year search for his birthparents and the history of their ancestry will keep you on the edge of your seat. With so many twists and turns along the road of Richards's journey you will be cheering him on and possibly crying for his loss. The overall feeling I was left with was joy for Richard in finding out so much on his road but also that he finds ways to find answers where others have not. It's easy to see how this book has the possibility of helping so many others with their own searches. I had to know what he found out and just could not put it down. As an active member of the genetic genealogy community and a genealogist I can say that although of course this book will appeal to other adoptees it also should not be overlooked by anyone interested in learning more about how to use good old fashioned logic, methodology and genetic testing to further their family research. Thank you Richard Hill for sharing your journey with us.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Keasha Palmer on September 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
I started reading "Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA" before I went to sleep one night and before I knew it I was on page 88! You just have to keep reading to find out what happens next.

Hill was a professional writer before authoring this book, and it shows: the guy knows how to tell a story. There were times I felt like I was sitting in the back seat as he and his wife Pat drove to yet another destination seeking answers about his biological family.

Your heart breaks for him as he tells of disappointments in going down blind alleys and soars with him for his victories. And he tempers it all with a wry sense of humor, like this line, after receiving a photo from Mike, his half brother and the very first blood relative he found: "Excitedly, I Iooked at the enclosed picture and was shocked to see a guy with curly brown hair. My hair is totally straight. Anticipating my surprise, Mike had thoughtfully written the following note on the card: `The hair is not naturally curly. I get a perm every three months.'"

End of chapter.

I'm not adopted and not into genealogy, but I love memoirs and biographies and this was one of the best; I was hooked from start to finish. And what a finish it was--a classic surprise ending, with as many twists and turns along the way as a DNA molecule. Divorces, affairs, family secrets, mystery, history--Hill's journey has it all, with a cast of characters straight from a TV reality show. I kept thinking the whole time, "This would make a great movie!"

I would highly recommend "Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA" to anyone who likes a good read, because at it's core, it's really a book about people. And who doesn't love reading about people?
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Katherine_Borges on August 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
"Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in my DNA" by Richard Hill should be required reading for anyone about to embark on an adoptee quest in finding their birth family. Not only will the reader learn successful and innovative methods that are invaluable gems of knowledge in searching for biological parents, but also included are several "what not to do's" as well.
Hill opens the journey with the shocking story of how he discovered he was adopted. From this point on, the reader will be riveted to a fascinating true life soap opera tale that will cause you to alternate between crying and cheering for the protagonist! Hill may have made a few "mistakes" in his adoption search, but one thing is for certain; he handles every person and situation along the way in a uniquely sensitive manner and this clearly produces an end result of success that every adoptee searching for their roots should emulate. To share any more of Hill's story in this review would be a "spoiler" - so just buy this book to spend several hours with some of the most fascinating non-fiction you will ever read.

-Katherine Hope Borges
Director, International Society of Genetic Genealogy
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Patricia A. Murphy on September 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
Finding Family by Richard Hill is a fascinating book. Even for someone coming from a family with nothing to be discovered, no need to climb the family tree in search of unknown branches, this is still a good read. And by all means, if you ever find yourself with a desire to track down family ties...or know anyone who has ever expressed a desire to check out their ancestry, do recommend this book to them. Full to bursting with tips and excellent pointers on how to go about this sometimes daunting task, this story of one man's travels as he digs back through buried roots to find his biological family, is inspiring and loaded with helpful information on how to do exactly that. You will find yourself discouraged by his occasional disappointments and thrilled to be sharing his successes. By the end of the last page, you will be glad you journeyed along with him through the years it took to solve unexpected puzzles, mysteries that finally allowed him to develop family ties he never envisioned he would have.
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