Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, June 20, 2019

A DNA Experience: Switched at Birth

It was bound to happen. I had my first direct experience with a genealogist who found out through a DNA test that he/she was switched at birth. I have no intention of providing any details of this situation because of the delicate nature of the discovery. The genealogist had been researching his/her family for many years without the slightest hint that there could have been a problem. Someone else took a DNA test and contacted the genealogist saying that they were related. The genealogist did not recognize any of the proffered surnames and assumed there was some kind of mistake but the party with the DNA test insisted there was a relationship. Finally, the genealogist got his/her own test and it showed that he/she was not related to anyone in the family he/she had been living with for a lifetime.

The genealogist came to me when he/she needed to start doing all of the research on the newly discovered family from scratch. I got her/him started on where she/he immediately got swamped with Record Matches; over 2000 in about an hour or so. This was what happened when he/she had to "start all over again."

As long as genealogists continue to view DNA tests through the filter of ethnicity they will continue to be surprised by those findings that are outside of what you would like to expect. Although finding out that you have been researching an unrelated family for years can happen with DNA testing, it can also happen with careful research.

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