Andrea Myers' decades-long search for her biological parents led to a reunion with family, a passion for St. Charles County history and a new career.
Myers of Shawnee, Kan., said she learned she was adopted when she was 16. But it wasn't until she was in her 20s and became a mother herself that she started asking questions.
Her adoptive mother could only provide her with a paper that told her the adoption happened in St. Louis children's court and that her given name was Kimberly Lynn McMillin, but it was enough to get the search going.
Myers, now 45, said she started digging around on the Internet, made some blind calls to McMillins in the phone book and joined adoption groups. She made several trips to St. Louis to search old phone books and criss-cross directories at the library and to look at cemetery records.
She found a few more clues. Her grandfather was Christian, her grandmother Jewish and her mother was one of three daughters. She also found out that she had older twin brothers who were also given up for adoption.
Through a painstaking process of elimination, Myers located her biological mother in 2003, but the telephone reunion did not go as she had hoped. Her mother did not want to meet her.
Myers still hoped for a relationship with her father or brothers.
An inquiry on ancestry.com connected her with a cousin in New Orleans, who had researched much of the family history.
She found out that her branch of St. Louis McMillins is full of famous ancestors. She is directly related to Daniel Boone — she's his sixth great-granddaughter — and she is related to other historically significant residents of St. Charles County such as Francis Howell.
She also learned that her great-great grandfather, John Madison McMillin, drew the plats for Weldon Spring and donated the property when he was 19. Throughout most of the 1800s, her family owned the property where the actual Weldon spring is situated.
She became a member of the St. Charles County Historical Society and a volunteer host of the St. Charles County page on genealogytrails.com. She also started a webpage dedicated to her search for her brothers and started a McMillin family newsletter.
When she read in 2009 that Weldon Spring was having a town picnic, she drove in to attend. She met Mayor Don Licklider and told him about her family connection. Myers met another cousin there who helped her get copies of pictures of many family members.
"I was having so much fun doing all of it and digging that I decided I really wanted to make a career out of it," she said.
In March 2010, she became a private investigator and she uses her license mostly for genealogy and adoption searches.
In January, Myers found her brothers, Scott and Kevin Nelson, in western Tennessee. They met in May and have formed a close bond.
"I feel like I have known them for a long time," she said. "Scott and I are boy-girl versions of each other; we have the same skin, neck, teeth, chin, eyes."
She has since learned that her father is deceased, but she has connected with several members of his family and found out he had other children.
Myers and her brothers decided to host a reunion with the St. Louis McMillins. On Saturday they'll gather at the Weldon Spring City Hall Park. More than 100 people are coming from California, Florida, Iowa, Colorado, Kansas and Tennessee.
Myers will be bringing posterboards about the family history going back to Daniel Boone. She's even planned crossword puzzles and word search games for the children with clues like: What was Daniel Boone's wife's name? (Rebecca)
She said she will be bringing two vehicles to St. Louis just to carry all the information and activities she plans to share.
"I've got eight posterboards about different members of the family, and each person is more interesting than the last," she said.