How to Reach Out to Paternal Grandfather Whom I've Never Met About My Father?

Updated on May 28, 2019
C.F. asks from Moody, AL
8 answers

If you have read my previous question I'm 30 years old and I am trying to find my father.

I only have a very one-sided story from my mother and I want to get to know him. I haven't seen him since I was 10 years old. He tried to contact me about 4 times in my life but my mother was always a very negative influence on this and she hated him but then again he didn't put in a whole tone of effort either.

I tried to Google his name and tried all kinds of social media sites: Facebook, LinkedIn,, ancestry and he's not there. My mother mentioned that she didn't think he'd be the type to use those kinds of sites or spend a lot of time on a computer.

I found some of his old classmates from his high school on and connected with them on Facebook. None of them are in contact with him at the moment but they knew him. One of them spoke to him 5 years ago but is no longer in touch. I have come to learn that I have 2 half-siblings and the city that my father lives in.

I have also come to learn the name of my paternal grandfather. I looked up his name on and found a match. The house is also a 20 mins walk from my father's old high school so I really think it could be him but I am not sure.

I have 2 options now:
1) fill in an application for family search services through the Salvation Army
2) call this potential grandfather

I've very keen to contact my half-siblings but I'd have to get through to my father first.

I have never met or heard from my paternal grandparents. My mother said she never met them either. I only have my mother's side of the story - they might have known of me but my parents had a very stormy relationship and had already broken up etc.

I think the Salvation Army does this all the time and knows how to handle these situations but they could take a very long time. I could call this grandfather but I feel like this could be a very fragile situation.

If I phone him and it goes well I could be in contact with my father within days or weeks.

If it doesn't go well it could complicate things. I mean he could call my father and tell him things.

I don't know my biological grandfather, don't know if he honestly knew about me, was angry with the situation, or what. I don't know how he would react to the phone call. I don't know what to say about it. It's really out of the blue, a complete stranger calling you up saying that your his granddaughter.

What would you do?

I thought of saying this:
Hi there, could I please speak to XYZ?
Hi XYZ, I'm not sure if I have the right person or not. Do you have a son named ABC? I believe that I'm his daughter from 1988.

then I draw a blank

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

I followed the advice of one of the answers here and wrote a letter instead of calling. It worked!
It's him! I found my grandparents. They were delighted to hear from me but it turns out they didn't even know I existed. They were crying they said that if they would have known about me they would have been involved and done something about this situation. They want to meet and keep in touch.

Featured Answers


answers from Norfolk on

It might be easier if you hired a private detective to do some leg work for you.
I'd be very careful and ask this question on a genealogy site.

In this day and age of scam calls people could and should be very careful about anyone making any claims of personal connections.
There's way too much phishing/scamming going on.
You need to expect that people might suspect that you are up to something.

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

there are a gazillion ways this could go wrong.

if it were me, i'd still make the assumption that it's the most straightforward and sensible way to go, and give it a whirl.

i mean, if it's not your bio gf, no harm. if it is, he might as easily be delighted to hear from you as not, right?

and if it goes south and he freaks out and contacts your bio dad and your bio dad flees, then you have an answer, at least, and can go about reconciling yourself to it however you can.

i always start with the obvious.


5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I agree with Suz, there are so many factors and things could go any which way, that I think you should just do it. At the part where you draw a blank, I'm sure the person on the other end of the phone will say something and you can just respond normally, or as normally as possible.

The 23 and Me thing is a good idea, but honestly at this point, I feel like that's just going backwards. You have a lot of info already and I think you should just move forward. And if your bio GF isn't helpful I don't see any reason why you shouldn't contact your half siblings.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

A friend of mine did this for a relative through ancestry or 23andme as Sadie suggests. It went very well. They then connected on Facebook and through FaceTime. Then the travelled and met up. The natural progression went very smoothly.

(ETA: It was a bit of a different scenario than yours, was kind of a sad situation, but in the end, there was a lot of healing. I have a friend who found her biological family (was adopted) and a letter was her way of choice. That went over well and gave the person time to digest it.)

If that's not an option, then perhaps a Private Investigator as B suggests to find your father directly. I don't think I'd go through the grandfather if you could locate your father first. Just spend the funds and try that way first.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

you know there are TV shows that help people with this, right?

Instead of hemming and hawing? Just do it. Pick up the phone and call the man who you believe to be your grandfather.

He will either accept you or not. Be prepared for both.

Have you had a DNA test done? If not, why? that might help you locate him as well.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Have you done the ancestry or 23andme? You may find other bio relatives who are interested in connecting. maybe not the bio father, but possibly cousins and other half siblings. People who sign up on these sites could be interested in connecting with bio relatives. They could end up giving you information on your bio grandfather and getting you in contact.

edit: Have you considered the man your mom thinks/said is your bio father, may not be your bio father? Did she get a paternity test when you were born/little for proof?

I didn't know Salvation Army helps with these matters. If you use this service, could you give an update as to how it works?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Pretty clear this can go either way. Just hold your breath and do it. My stepbrother looked for his father, found him and dad didn't want anything to do with him. My brother in law's wife took her son who is probably twenty about now when he was a baby and my brother in law waits anxiously for word one day.I myself couldn't find my dad for at least seven years, my mother made it so difficult and I hunted all over for him. There was no Facebook, no cell phone,twitter-back in the day. Just leg work. I met up with my father and we stayed in touch went on to to share family lives, my half sisters, step-brother and I were able to live out his final days with him. Just give it a try and don't give up if that is disappointing. My best friend's husband was adopted; his wife went and found out where his biological family was. Mother wouldn't see him, but his biological sibs and real father's family also did. So you know out there even if grandpa or Dad don't surface maybe siblings or cousins will. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I would call the grandfather and just pretended that you are a friend from high school. Maybe even say you are arranging few friends get together and his sons name popped up few time so you wanted to invite him. And if you get his number.. or give yours and he calls, explain.

I did 2 tests.. 23 and me and AncestryDNA.. if others don’t do it, that are related .. you will find zero. So waisted time. (6-8 weeks). Unless your 1/2 brothers/sisters did it, but that’s the wrong approach as well.

So I personally would do it this way. But lots of luck to you in what ever you choose! Also please know not all might be warm to the idea hun! Just prepare yourself, just in case.

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