Frank Billingsley has been a familiar face on my television since I moved to Houston. He’s the chief meteorologist at KPRC 2, our local NBC affiliate, and a trusted source in good weather — and in very bad. He’s shared some of his big life moments with viewers, including his 2012 wedding and his recent prostate cancer diagnosis. In Swabbed & Found: An Adopted Man’s DNA Journey to Discover His Family Tree, Frank shares how he reconnected with his birth family with DNA and genealogical research.
I had the pleasure of hearing Frank tell his story at Houston Genealogical Forum (HGF)’s September meeting. Even after listening the entire tale and learning how it ends, I still bought the book — the details were that engaging!
Frank tested in 2013, when commercial autosomal DNA testing was fairly new, and the tester databases were much smaller. Frank was fortunate to get an initial 1C1R match, but footed the cost of many other tests to confirm his parentage. He tested both his autosomal and Y-DNA, and his journey includes surprises of double-cousins and a recent non-paternal event (NPE), which complicated the analysis — but also resulted in a fascinating mystery!
In both his talk and the book, Frank weaves his sense of humor and personal reflections into the science of finding family. Swabbed & Found is a great read for someone new to DNA testing, but it is thoroughly enjoyable for experienced researchers. As a non-adoptee genealogist, I most appreciated Frank’s emotional journey. His story was a window into the complicated feelings adoptees experience as they walk through this process and an engaging account of merging traditional paper research with genetic genealogy.