DNA Testing: A Pandora’s Box

I received an Ancestry DNA kit for Christmas this year. I mailed it back to Ancestry on 12/29/17, and the results are expected to take 6-8 weeks or longer due to the high volume this time of year. Both of my parents have also taken the Ancestry DNA tests, as well as two of my father’s siblings. I’ll post my results when I receive them, but for now, I’ll share each of my parents’ DNA results from Ancestry.

My Mother (C.M.)

I was eager to see the results of my mother’s Ancestry DNA test because we thought she may have some Native American heritage. She is also an only child, so there are no siblings of hers we can test. As it turned out, she didn’t, and the results were pretty much as we expected:

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My mother’s paternal grandmother was born in Wales, and her paternal great-grandmother was born in Ireland.  On my mother’s maternal side, her great-great grandfather was born in Canada.

My Father (T.B.)

My father was the first in our family to take the Ancestry test back in 2014, and his ethnicity results were what we expected be based on the paper genealogy trail we had at the time:

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Here’s the thing with DNA tests: They are very much a Pandora’s box. They can be very helpful in confirming all of the paper trail research you’ve done and help find new relatives you didn’t know you had, but they can also reveal secrets and surprises.

And this is where things get complicated on my father’s side…

My Father’s Eldest Sister (M.B.)

My father grew up as the youngest of 4 children. His oldest sister (M.B.) is 18 years older than my father. When my father was born, M.B. was graduating from high school. M.B. agreed to take the Ancestry DNA test in hopes that it would help us someday lead us to the identity of M.B.’s and my father’s maternal grandfather. (It did, but more about how that happened later). Below are the Ethnicity results for M.B.:

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You’re probably looking at the ethnicity results for M.B. and my father and thinking, “Yeah, there are some differences in the percentages, but most of the same regions are listed for both my father and M.B., so it looks to me like they are full siblings.”

You’re right. The results are pretty similar, but additional research comparing their raw DNA on GedMatch yielded some pretty astonishing results:

M.B. and my father do not share the same father.

The question then became, who has a different father than the person listed on his/her birth certificate?

Remember how I said DNA tests can reveal secrets & surprises?

My father took the results of the Ancestry DNA test and GedMatch one-to-one comparison and shared them with M.B. He explained to her that the results of the DNA test actually showed they were not full-siblings, and specifically that they did not share the same father.

Secret reveal #1: M.B. has known her entire life that the man who raised her and my father was not his biological father.

Apparently, M.B. confronted her mother one day about the identity of my father’s father. She told her mother (T.P.), “I know that R.C. is really T.B.’s father.” It ended with M.B. getting slapped across the face and her mother saying, “I don’t want to ever hear about this again.”

This was as much of a confirmation as M.B. would ever get from her mother regarding the identity of my father’s father. DNA matches through Ancestry would further corroborate that R.C. is my father’s father.

But wait there’s more…

Secret reveal #2: The man who raised M.B. and my father is also not the biological father of M.B.

Additional research into M.B.’s matches on Ancestry revealed that her father is a man named O.R., who is not the father who raised her.

This leads to the next question: Could my father’s 2 other siblings also have completely different fathers, and, are any of them the biological child of the man that raised them?

My father’s other sister (G.F.)

G.F. is just 2 years older than my father. They do share similar features and characteristics in their appearances, but I knew the only way to be certain is for G.F. to take the Ancestry DNA test, and do a GedMatch one-to-one comparison of her DNA against my father’s. Here are G.F.’s ethnicity results from Ancestry:

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 8.21.08 AM

Again, we’re seeing the same regions and similar ethnicity percentages for G.F. as we did with my father and M.B.

Secret reveal #3: G.F. and my father are full-siblings.

After running the one-to-one comparison between my father’s DNA and G.F.’s  DNA, it was quite clear that they are full-siblings. R.C. and T.P. are the biological parents of both  my father (T.B.) and G.F.

My father’s brother (J.B)

J.B. is six years younger than M.B., ten years older than G.F., and twelve years older than my father. My father also shared his, M.B.’s, and G.F.’s results of the Ancestry DNA tests with J.B. in case he may also want to take the Ancestry DNA test to find out if he has a different father than the one who raised him. So far, he has declined. My hunch is that J.B. is going to have the same father as M.B., or, he will be the only biological child of the man who raised him.


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