Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Are You Keeping Family Secrets?

Now that DNA testing for "fun" or "branching out the family tree" or in an earnest search for one's parent(s) is readily available, I find I have one piece of advice. If you are keeping a family secret, STOP. In this day and age family secrets are coming out due to the growing list of companies that will test your DNA and match you up with others of the same heritage.

When I was growing up, I always thought it was terrible when I heard someone was adopted and the adoptive family was keeping everything a secret. I came across a person or so in my life who was adopted. One I knew as a young adult. He had no interest at the time of locating his birth family. But, he did know he was adopted. The other I knew as a preteen. She knew she was adopted also, but acted like the poor relation. I have often wondered over the years whether or not she ever came to terms with it.

My step-grandmother, on my mother's side, was adopted as an infant. I've never been sure what happened to her mother: death, insanity, divorce, illness, but my step-grandma knew who her father and siblings were later on and actually had relationships with them. Her adoptive parents were old enough to be her grandparents, but weren't.

I am a member of a group on Facebook, "DNA Detectives," that I joined in hopes of puzzling out my hubby's odd results. While I was able to work out the strange Jewish ancestry in his line, I felt for other people who were running into results that pretty much spelled out that they weren't who they thought they were. Or that the man mama claimed was the birth father was not! I think the days of lying to spouses, children, etc. are over. DNA does not lie. The courts use it for proof all the time. Of course that doesn't mean your new found family will believe it or accept it, but it doesn't make it any less true.

Copyright 2010-2017, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. Do you think different DNA results in fact means that "they weren't who they thought they were"? I think DNA is only a piece of self-identity. I'm trying to understand different people's reactions to these tests. I haven't gotten one myself, though.