DNA testing helps 90-year-old WNY man find biological family

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EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Genealogy research and DNA testing has led a Western New York man to biological family members he had never met before.

Joe Simpson, 90, was adopted as a child.

He knew his biological mother as “Aunt Marie”.

“She would come and visit me when I was five, six, seven, eight years old,” Simpson recalled. “I would walk her to the corner store where she would get the bus – when the bus would come, there would be tears in her eyes.”

“I would go back home and ask my grandparents who Aunt Marie was – they said she was my mother’s best friend,” he added.

There were many unanswered questions – until one of Joe’s granddaughters ran into an old friend, genealogy researcher Janice Moscicki.

Moscicki owns a service called “Children of Yester Year”. She does a lot of family tree research, as well as helping people find their birth families.

“We dove into it – we found some information had been perceived to be incorrect over the years, and when we found the correct information, we had him take a DNA test through Ancestry,” Moscicki said. “We started getting hits, and we looked to see the closest member in the family who’d taken a test – it took off from there.”

Sisters Laura Crabill and Vicki Baker, who live in Tennessee and Georgia, were gifted DNA tests from their sister Julie Selander, also of Georgia, a few Christmases ago.

“I was the first one to get my results back – and then Janice contacted me,” Crabill recalled. “When I looked, I thought it was wrong – my aunt Marie, to our knowledge, never had children.”

Crabill, Baker, Selander, and other newfound family members from out of state made the trip up to Western New York this weekend to meet Joe in person for the first time.  The trip has been in the works for a couple of years, but COVID-19 derailed the plans last year.

“I think this is exactly what she would have wanted – to have her son part of our family,” Crabill added. “It’s really exciting and a blessing that we can finally meet him.

“We have a whole new part of our family now,” Baker said. “We’re very happy to embrace Joe and his family.”

The family gathered together Friday in Western New York, sharing photos and cards.

“To see everybody here means so much to me,” Simpson said.

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