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Meet the 18-year-old genealogy wiz uniting long-lost relatives across the U.S.

Meet the teen genealogy wiz uniting families
Meet the 18-year-old genealogy wiz uniting long-lost relatives all over the U.S. 05:49

It's estimated more than 26 million people around the world have dug into their family histories with the help of at-home DNA kits. But finding your ancestors often requires much more than just submitting your DNA.

In the growing field of ancestry amateurs, there's an unlikely pro – an 18 year old from New Jersey who spends hours a day digging through DNA results and public records to find answers for his clients. 

At around 10 years old, Eric Schubert started digging into his own family's past as a cure for boredom. Now, at 18, he estimates he's helped more than 1,000 people find their roots. He says that "anybody" can dig into their past – it just takes a lot of practice. 

"It's a big puzzle […]" Schubert said. "You just have to look at all the pieces and put it together in the correct places."  

He often takes just days to find the answers his clients have spent decades searching for.

His starting point varies from client to client. If a client is adopted, for example, they can't find their parents' names – but they did get non-identifying information from the state, like their parents' ages and occupations.

"To some people, it looks like nothing," he said. "But, to me, paired with the DNA results, it's easy as pie."

What's easy for Schubert is deeply meaningful to the people he helps. "I've gone through my life not looking like anyone, you know," said Kate DeSantis, one of Schubert's clients. "And to see a picture of my birth mother and then to find out I have siblings -- and I look like I belong. It was overwhelming."

For Schubert, this side job requires hours a day pursuing a dozen cases while juggling his full time job: high school. 

"It sounds to me like he really pours himself into it. As a mom, does that at all worry you?" "CBS This Morning Saturday co-host Michelle Miller asked Schubert's mother, Lisa.

"Yes," Lisa responded, adding "I also want him to enjoy life."

Schubert has worked with people all over the country. But he found perhaps his most fulfilling case much closer to home. About a year ago, he helped his friend Sammy Lynam find her biological mother. Her mother wanted no contact – but Lynam worked up the courage to dig into her father's side.   

Just 30 minutes later, Schubert found Lynam's dad – and her half-sibling, Jasmine Underhill, who she later reunited with.

"It was awesome," Lynam recalled. "It was so cool."

"We kind of, like, clicked right away though," Underhill added.

Lynam is also going to be an aunt for the first time: Underhill is having a baby. It's that excitement -- the potential for a happy ending -- that drives Schubert every time.

Schubert graduates from high school next week. He plans to head to Elizabethtown College this fall – and while he says he'll try to focus on his schoolwork, he knows his passion for genealogy will creep in.

Meanwhile, Lynam is eagerly awaiting her nephew's arrival this July. 

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