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DNA Despair!

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DNA Despair!

Postby meekhcs » Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:10 am

After amazing success with an Ancestry test I organised for someone last year I decided that it would be fun to organise a test for myself in the hope it might shed a light on a couple of minor brickwalls I have in my direct Family Tree.

I have very carefully researched and sourced my direct line over the past 15 years, accumulating relevant BMD's to add to the originals I have for more recent Family. I was confident that I had taken the correct path back to 1837 and beyond for each Family before the brickwalls appeared.

So, I was totally unprepared when my DNA results blew my Paternal, paternal line completely out of the water.

I have passed through a whole gamut of emotions since receiving the results at Christmas. Obviously I have revisited my research, and there it was plain as day. For 20 years my Family lived on the same Farm in a little village as the Family which I am so obviously part of from my DNA results. I had never given it a second thought.

I have now reached the stage where I am angry, and I feel like throwing my research in the bin. My Family Historian head says well thank goodness you found out before starting to write your story. My Family heart says how could you?

I have no DNA matches with my presumed Family, and loads with this new Family.

My Nan married, divorced, and then co habited with "my Grandad" for 25years until he passed away. He died before any Grandchildren were born so we have no memories of him. She had 10 children.

When she registered my Dad's birth (he was 7th out of 10), she filled in "My Grandad's" name as the Father, which was untrue.

What a mess. Now I am wondering if she did the same with any of Dad's siblings? It was hard enough for all of them when they found out their "parents" weren't actually married, and caused much consternation when I started to research our Family History, so I am certainly not going to rock the boat with this bombshell.

So how do I address this in my Tree? I think all I can do is leave everything as it is except for my Dad. I will add him to his new Family line but leave all the other siblings attached to the relevant Fathers as defined by their birth certificates............and then write copius notes explaining the situation and the possibilities.
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Re: DNA Despair!

Postby Mick Loney » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:32 am

It is a moral dilemma that often arises following a DNA test, and as you say, has to be handled with kid gloves. You could let your cousins know of your own father’s circumstances, and let them consider if the same thing happened to their own parent. You cannot in whole honesty assume that your father’s siblings were conceived in similar circumstances. Having given your cousins a hint via your own father’s circumstance, leave it to them to investigate for themselves and leave their branch of your tree as it is. If your cousins do investigate further, you could then amend their branch of your tree to match their results.
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Re: DNA Despair!

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:32 pm

Sally, I've never had that sort of a blow but can perhaps get some appreciation of what's going on. Or maybe I can't.

What I don't necessarily understand - and I'm not asking about, just suggesting - is how much DNA linkage you have with the various other parts of your father's family. If I understand you correctly, your belief is that your actual paternal GF is not your "paper based" paternal GF, because there's no DNA connection with the "paper based" GF's family. Have any of the PBGF's descendants tested? If not, then it seems to me that there is a possibility that the PBGF might have been the result of a "non-parental event", rather than your father?? You might very well have sorted all the options out and the options can only be as you appear to describe, of course, but I am aware of seeing lots of claims elsewhere that I frankly don't understand because they don't seem to have taken account of all the possibilities, and I wouldn't want you to get stuck in one view if other possibilities remain open. Especially if it might drive a wedge somewhere.

I still think that discretion is important - after all, these are still the people you grew up with.

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Re: DNA Despair!

Postby Norfolk Nan » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:33 am

I’ve had the same experience with my paternal branches but the secrets came out via documentation, not DNA. We shouldn’t be surprised and we shouldn’t judge. We can’t ask why they took the decisions they did but I’m sure they didn’t expect us to be delving into their business the way we are today. Documents are one thing but DNA is a whole different kettle of fish. When adopted children ask to know their origins they are generally counselled, but DNA testers aren’t offered that same consideration. My own surprises have concerned people I didn’t know in the flesh but nevertheless raised questions about our family name and identity, your discovery has to have shaken your faith in your gran and that’s a shame. I guess you have to remember the grandparents you knew rather than dwell on the DNA results. I hope your dad had a good life with his parents and that reflected on you. What do you do about the family tree? My advice would be do nothing in haste. I destroyed a lot of work in temper and regret it now.
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Re: DNA Despair!

Postby meekhcs » Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:18 pm

edited as Thanks Everyone written twice!

Mick - I totally agree.

Adrian - Out of my top 10 matches 7 are for this new Family. I have spent hours building trees, finding out how the 7 fit into my tree and by attaching my Dad to this new Family it all falls into place. I match with all of them around the 200cM level. Now I know without DNA testing Dad and his Dad nothing is certain but I think the evidence is overwhelming, and of course I cannot do that. One of the matches descends from the same Gentleman and our match comes out exactly as it should.
The only thing that concerns me is that with this new line up by paternal (Dad) and maternal (Mum) 5th great grandparents are the same people. In fact when I first saw the results I started looking in Mum's line thinking I had made a mistake but the matches were wrong. All the above matches came out at 6th cousins which was too distant with our shared DNA levels. I shall continue to look at this and check and recheck but I think it will be beyond my level of expertise!

Nan - bless you I will not destroy anything, I have spent too long researching, and it is still relevant to my Family, if indirectly now.

Thanks everyone
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Re: DNA Despair!

Postby fhb » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:55 am

Having found something similar I reconcile my thoughts and research by thinking that DNA is not the B all and end all of genealogy. I consider that child has received both nature (DNA) and nuture ( documented family) and that both things made the child grow into the adult. One is as important as the other. Haven't yet worked out jow to document it!! Of course there is absolutely nothing to suggest that this was not a once off so as regards siblings of the child it should not be of a concern for them or their descendants.

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Re: DNA Despair!

Postby Mick Loney » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:53 pm

fhb,
Sorry, but I disagree! DNA is at the heart of genealogy, which after all, is all about tracing our genetic ancestors i.e. DNA.
The documented family is all well and good, and perhaps nice to know in the family sense, but at the end of the day, what is the point of moving backwards from these individuals when they are not really related to you?
One didn’t get ones pointed chin, blue eyes or ginger hair from them, so IMHO researching them is a complete waste of time genealogically speaking.
A good example is adopted children. They wouldn’t dream of tracing their adopted parents history, they want to know who their real parents were.
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Re: DNA Despair!

Postby fhb » Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:51 am

My point was simply that what maketh the person is noth nature and nuture. I was not suggesting that one should trace the adoptive family.

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Re: DNA Despair!

Postby Editor » Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:34 am

I don't know if any of you watched Nicky Campbell's episode of WDYTYA where he traced his adoptive parents but it was very moving and clearly meant a lot to him: http://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine. ... y-campbell

We interviewed Penny Walters in the magazine about her book 'Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy' and she has researched the genealogy of her adoptive parents. She talks about it in her book if you are interested Sally.

I'm sure a lot of us have people on our tree who are (unbeknownst to us) not genetically related and yet they played a part in making our ancestors or us who we are. Obviously it gets harder they closer they are to us.

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Re: DNA Despair!

Postby meekhcs » Wed Jan 22, 2020 10:32 am

Thank you everyone for your ongoing thoughts.
Knowing no different I have already researched my “Grandad’s” line, and I certainly wouldn’t remove it because I am sure he Fathered some of Granny’s children and, haven gotten over the initial shock, he is still part of my Family.
It is weird starting over because in the normal course of events you glean info from Family to start your research.
In this case I know nothing about the Family so it has been interesting. I have found that the local Records Office holds quite a lot of info so a visit will help me fill in a lot of the background that I might otherwise have gleaned by talking to Family members.

Sarah thanks for the book info.


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