Who Is My Mother’s Biological Father?

Note: This post is from my business blog, Emily Cathryn Photography, it was posted earlier in the year. I felt it was a necessary one to share here. There a few minor updates to the original post featured here, as new bits and pieces had come to light shortly after I posted the original. Images from this post are not to be reproduced.


In August 1967, a nineteen year old woman named Vicki Lyn Taplin gave birth to a baby girl in Crown Street Womens Hospital in Sydney. She named this baby girl Melissa. Being unmarried and very young, Vicki was faced with the unbelievably difficult decision of giving up her child. Weeks later, this baby girl was adopted & given the name Elizabeth.

This baby girl, as it happens is my Mum.

Mum as a baby-Vicki and her mother somehow were let back into the ward after Vicki was discharged to get this photo. According to Vicki’s husband, this photo was kept on her bedside table.

Mum found out she was adopted as a teenager, and with the support of her adoptive parents (my amazing grandparents) began the search for her birth family. This search was long winded and emotionally turbulent, but finally when I was about seven years old, Mum found out what had become of her birth mother. Sadly, Vicki had passed away in 1978.

The discovery wasn’t all sadness however as it gained Mum more siblings, Aunts & Uncles. However, there was one final piece to the puzzle that was missing. Who is Mum’s biological father? This is a question that has yet to be answered.

The question was posed to all the relatives who could have possibly known at the time, but it seems Vicki remained tight lipped on the subject. There is no name listed for the father on Mum’s pre-adoption birth certificate. Here is what we do have on Mum’s father, based on adoption records from the time:

-He was 22 years old, making his birth year around 1945.

-He was studying an Arts degree.

-Had an average build, brown hair & hazel eyes.

-He was aware of the pregnancy.

*This information has to be taken with a grain of salt, as Vicki used a fake surname and a different age on different documents, this was common at the time with these circumstances*

With the fact that there is not much information to go on in mind, I have administered DNA tests on Mum and myself. However DNA testing of this nature is a collaborative endeavour. To confirm a match, one must have at least a small amount of familial knowledge, which we definitely don’t have.

I believe someone must have some idea though of who Mum’s biological father is, outside the family perhaps. We just haven’t found that someone to point us in the right direction yet. Vicki at the time of conception was a psychiatric nurse at Callan Park Hospital in Sydney. She was living in the nurses quarters at Callan Park, her family were living in Newcastle. During the later months of her pregnancy, Vicki was a live in Nanny to an unknown family in North Sydney, before spending time in an unwed mother’s home, the one affiliated with Crown Street Women’s Hospital. After giving birth to Mum, she joined the WRANS around 1968, before getting married in 1969.

I am asking everyone to share this with everyone you know. Did any of your relatives have a friend named Vicki in the 60s? Were any of them nurses in the late 60s at Callan Park? Were you in the WRANs Class 103 of 1968? If so I would love to chat with you, as I would like to know if Vicki confided in anyone during or after her pregnancy with Mum. Mum would love the chance to meet her biological father, as would I. But first things first, we need a name. No piece of information is too small, it could go a long way in the search. Please contact me via email at emilycathrynphotography@gmail.com or via the blog and help me to find the final piece of the puzzle.

mum comparison
Young Vicki on the left, my Mum Elizabeth on the right.

This post has been written with Mum’s permission as well as that of my adoptive grandparents. I consider myself lucky, as I have two sets of family on Mum’s side and this search in no way diminishes the love and respect I have for my adoptive grandparents. They helped to raise my sister and I, and I can’t put into words just how lucky I am to have grandparents like them. Not all adoption stories turn out the way Mum’s did I have quickly learnt, Mum without a doubt won the lottery with Nan & Pa and I thank them for their never-ending support with not just this difficult search, but with everything.

As I said above, please share this with everyone. Even if you have no connections to us, your help would be much appreciated. Updates will come as new information comes to light.

16 Comments Add yours

  1. GeniAus says:

    Link shared in the Australian DNA Group on Facebook. Good luck.


  2. Caitie G says:

    Hi Emily!
    So excited to have discovered your blog. Welcome to geneablogging! I’m a young genealogist from Brisbane, however my father’s side is from Sydney and the mid-north coast of NSW. Feel free to connect on social media! I’m always looking for other young genies as there aren’t many of us around.

    My blog: http://www.genealogically-speaking.blogspot.com.au
    Facebook Page: Genealogically Speaking (facebook.com/caitiesgenealogy)
    Twitter: @caitieamanda

    I also co run another blog, Young and Savvy Genealogists with one of my young genie friends in the US and we have a group on Facebook too for any genealogists who want to join and connect with us young folk.

    I started doing genealogy in 2009 when I was 18. Since then, I have connected with so many professional and amateur genealogists in Australia and round the world. There are a few awesome genealogists I know personally who live in Sydney. So if you’re in need of advice/help, you’ve definitely got it!

    Looking forward to following your DNA journey!
    – Caitie


    1. Hi Caitie! Thankyou for your friendly welcome 😀 I am about to follow all the pages you mentioned, I am looking forward to having a read through everything! (How funny that we have a mutual friend by the way?)


  3. Kae Lewis says:

    Hi Emily,
    Ive been grappling for many years with identifying an unknown biological father and havent succeeded. The closest Ive been able to get to him was via DNA. So study the results of the DNA analysis carefully. Remember your mother’s DNA is about half from her father. This was brought home to me vividly recently when we did my husbands DNA. His grandmother was Jewish originating from Eastern Europe. His DNA came back at precisely 25% Jewish from Eastern Europe. So we now know it is very accurate. So about 25% of your DNA and 50% of your mother’s comes from this unknown father. Are there any relatives of your mother that you could tested? This might get a handle on the DNA she has that comes from her maternal side. Her mother and father if they are still alive would be ideal, failing that any aunts or cousins may help to form a picture of your mothers maternal DNA. I think technology will gradually improve this type of analysis in the future, with it being done by computer. But in the meantime we must do it by process of elimination. Get your DNA results onto as many databases as you can, looking for matches. When looking at the hits you get, just bear in mind that half the people closely related to your mother are going to be related in some way to her father. Its going to depend on whether your mother matches with a close relative, but bare in mind that all sirens will be flashing if you get a close match on your mother, and I mean really close. It could be half sister etc. Its at this stage you need to eliminate the matches coming from your mother’s maternal family. So check if the same matches came up on any maternal relatives you have tested first If this match is not at all related to your mother’s maternal side, then you will have come pretty close to identifying the unknown father’s family at least. Its a long shot, I know, but it may just work. And as time goes by, more and more people get tested and go on the databases, so dont give up checking them. Good luck! Kae Lewis


    1. Hi Kae, we have managed to do a fair amount of eliminating by simply communicating with our close matches (2nd cousins!)-we’ve been super lucky as they have been speedy with their responses and we’ve been able to work out that they have no relation to the maternal side. So that’s something! I will post an update as soon as I get some info confirmed 😀 Thanks so much for your support!


  4. Fran Carroll says:

    Hi, I did not spot a DNA kit number in the blog. I am happy to test for matches against all the kits I manage.


    1. Hi Fran, my apologies! I’ve added it to my latest post after seeing your comment, I’ll also put them here:

      Me: A828600

      Mum: A180287

      Sister: A331663

      Dad: A128863

      Thankyou for reminding me! 🙂


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