A quest to discover the identity of her parents saw 80-year-old Anthea Ring travel to Ireland. She finally discovered her father’s true name following a DNA test on a stamp.
An 80-year-old woman who was found abandoned aged nine months old has finally discovered her father’s identity after a successful DNA test on a stamp. Anthea Ring was not even a year old when her cries on a hillside in England brought her to the attention of a nearby family out walking the South Downs in Sussex in 1937.
She had been left for dead under a blackberry bush, wearing a pink dress, with her hands tied, and covered in scratches and insect bites.
Despite a nationwide search for her parents, they never came forward and it was never known why she was abandoned under the bush. Ring was adopted by an English family six months after she was discovered on the hillside and didn't find out she was the blackberry bush baby until she was 25.
The married grandmother didn’t begin her search for her parents until later in life, however, entering into 35 years of research that brought her to Ireland. Ring has now finally identified her father and mother after a positive DNA result on a stamp.
“I'm delighted to have found the final piece in the puzzle of my family history,” said Ring.
“Who would have thought that stamps from decades-old letters were the key to unlocking my story?”
Ring's first major breakthrough came in 2012 when she completed a DNA test which told her she was 92% Irish by ethnicity with family ties to Ireland and America. From here, she narrowed the search to Co. Mayo where she found her mother.
Within the record of births outside of marriage in 1936, Ring found the name Lena O'Donnell. O’Donnell had married in 1945 and had other kids. In 2017, one of her sons agreed to complete a DNA test, proving that Ring was his half-sister.
Once the identity of her mother had been confirmed, attention was turned to her father with researchers believing him to be one of six Co. Galway brothers. The daughter of one of the Coyne brothers also agreed to a DNA test which confirmed that she was Ring’s first cousin and that one of the brothers must have been her father.
It wasn’t until 30-year-old letters from Patrick Coyne from England to the US where rediscovered that it could be officially proven that he was her father by testing the back of one of the letter stamps.
While her father died before the discovery, Ring has been able to connect with some of his family.
“I can now finally tell my children and grandchildren about their roots and where they came from,” Ring continued.
“I feel like I have some closure. It's wonderful. Being able to track down my family has been incredible.”
BBC: In the summer of 1937, a nine-month-old girl was hidden with her hands tied in a blackberry bush in southern England. Now 80, Anthea Ring has spent most of her life wondering why she was left to die and who her parents were. https://t.co/bLehQb9XN3— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) March 19, 2018
“Stamps and other materials containing DNA such as hair from a brush, can often provide vital evidence in DNA testing, and this has proved critical in Anthea's very personal, and long-running, case to learn her roots,” said David Nicholson, Founder and Managing Director at Living DNA which carried out the test.
H/T: Daily Mail