It’s becoming very common for people who do the inexpensive DNA testing available today, utilizing the matching sites Ancestry or 23 and Me, to discover they are somehow a “surprise”, as in their father is not who they thought he was.
During my study into all things related to my own family origins I have read two books related to this kind of discovery – one by a man and one by a woman. In the book by the man – The Stranger in My Genes: A Memoir by Bill Griffeth – he is totally into genealogy, only to discover that he is the product of an affair (or in the age of #MeToo maybe it wasn’t totally a complicit situation) between his mother and her boss.
The other book by a woman – Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro – describes her discovery that the legendary Jewish heritage that she believed was hers – isn’t, when the percentage of Jewish genes she carries isn’t what it ought to be.
My dad’s mother was unwed and I thought it would be nearly impossible to determine who his father was. A series of fortunate events uncovered him for me (after two suspects who turned out not to be him). First a cousin tested at 23 and Me and wrote me that we had the same grandmother. Then, another cousin through her had my grandmother’s photo albums in which she left us breadcrumbs. Both in the headshot (shown above) with a name attached and in how she named my dad with the same name.
Interestingly, 8 month before that, Ancestry told me someone was my cousin. He finally replied to my inquiry – “I have no idea how we could be related, none of those surnames are familiar to me”. I gave him the “new” one and he came back – my grandmother and your grandfather were brother and sister.
My paternal grandfather was a Danish immigrant. That made my dad half Danish. And it explained why my strongest genetic contribution was Dane.
2 thoughts on “DNA & Paternity”
What an interesting journey to discover your roots. I was particularly struck by your resemblance to him.
Really ? You think so ? My dad definitely resembled him !! Thank you for commenting.