Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I'm STILL Not Who I Thought I Was... Thanks DNA

What happens when your DNA test come back with some surprising results?!

Early in 2015, I had my DNA tested... and the results were not exactly as I had expected (hoped for!). The rumblings of paternal questions a few generations back in my pedigree, were proven to be true.

This was disappointing on many levels. 

Not only did I spend over 20 years researching the wrong family lines, but my complete identity was called into question. I would no longer claim to be a large percent Irish, among other things. Besides the years of research I put into that line of my family, I also made it a point to know & care about members of that extended family... people that I now know, I have no blood connection to.

You can see my earlier post about the DNA conundrum here, which I posted shortly after initially finding out the results... Before I'd fully processed what I'd learned... or figured out how I was going to proceed.

And even though many months have now passed. I'm still not entirely sure how I want to proceed.

Unlike many people with "non-paternal events" in their pedigree, I was fortunate enough to know who the paternal possibilities were (yes, there were more than one if I were to believe the rumors). And it was clear to see from DNA matches, which family was actually mine. So I don't have to contend with solving the mystery of "Who was Daddy?".  I just have to process the fact that Daddy isn't who I spent 20 years thinking he was, and of course reconfigure a whole branch of my genealogical research.

This revelation, coupled with a very busy Spring, Summer & Autumn caused my genealogical quests to screech to a halt for the most part. Even before the big DNA upheaval, I was experiencing a large, ongoing shift in my genealogical archive. Mounds of paper, photos, notes, binders, and projects have overwhelmed me for a few years now. (Yes, that's not a typo-- YEARS).

It's an overwhelming endeavor to "redo" 20+ years of genealogy.... especially when the last 5 years or so mostly consisted of "acquiring" vs. "maintaining". 

But, plans for massive reorganization were a huge part of my 2016 New Year's Resolutions... and now I have a new branch to add to the fold.

The DNA aspect of genealogy has exploded in popularity in the last couple of years. I suspect that over the next two months hundreds (or even thousands?!) of people will be getting DNA results from test kits they received as gifts over the Holidays... 

What about you?
Have you had your DNA tested?

Did you have any surprises?
Are you prepared for the possibility of a surprise?

I was aware of the possibility, and it still threw me off.


  1. I have created a tree based just on confirmed DNA matches. I have one location on this tree on the great-grandparent level where I don't have any matches. I am beginning to think that the person who everyone thinks is my dad's grandpa really wasn't his grandpa (he died before my dad was born, so my dad never knew him). When I explained to my dad that there were no matches for his grandpa, my dad's response was a surprise. He said that he had heard that his grandpa had a bad drinking problem and that the problem was partially caused because "grandma couldn't keep her pants up". So, my dad wasn't surprised at all. I also found out that my dad didn't like his grandma at all and hated spending time with her. He called her crude and disgusting. My dad and I never would have had this conversation without the DNA results. Written by Kent Lestrud.

  2. Nicholas,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2016/01/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-january-15.html

    Have a great weekend!

  3. Just to let you know about a typo. "I'm still NOT..." it says NOW. picky I know but it could confuse some.

  4. I took my dna through Ancestry.com with some minor surprises (% wise) and disappointment that it did not verify one pretty certain family myth. Then, in working on a brick wall, I was asked to upload my raw dna data to GEDmatch.com. They have different calculators and a different pool of people to compare them the information with. It confirmed the family myth...and verified an intuition of mine. I have north african in my line. To put this in perspective, we grew up saying we were 49% German, 49% Scots/Irish, and the other 2% a mix. We had no clue as to exactly how much of a mix that 2% was! While I had an intuition on it...when you see it in black and white, you rethink 'who' you are and what one branch of your ancestors dealt with...