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Tue Jun 12, 2018, 08:31 AM

A surprise DNA match - how would you handle this?

I logged into Ancestry on Sunday and had a new close family match who I do not know.

This woman does not match as much DNA with me as I do with my Aunt but matches more DNA than I do with my first cousins.

The predicted relationship is grandmother (not possible due to my age), aunt, niece or half-sister.

This would mean that my grandfather, father or one of my brothers had/has a child that I don't know about (and possibly they didn't/don't either).

I emailed her Sunday, noting our match, letting her know I was interested in our connection and suggesting she take a look at my family tree to see if she might figure it out (she does not have a family tree).

She has been logged into Ancestry at least twice since I emailed but I haven't had any response. It is absolutely possible that this is just as much a surprise to her as it is to me.

I can't get this off my mind but I really don't know what to think. Should I email her again in a couple days if I don't hear anything back or just let it go (not sure how successful I would be letting it go).

Has something like this ever happened to you?

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Reply A surprise DNA match - how would you handle this? (Original post)
seaglass Jun 2018 OP
snowybirdie Jun 2018 #1
seaglass Jun 2018 #6
Phoenix61 Jun 2018 #2
seaglass Jun 2018 #3
radical noodle Jun 2018 #13
CountAllVotes Sep 2018 #16
radical noodle Sep 2018 #17
CountAllVotes Sep 2018 #18
radical noodle Sep 2018 #19
The Genealogist Jun 2018 #4
seaglass Jun 2018 #5
fleur-de-lisa Jun 2018 #7
csziggy Jun 2018 #8
jaysunb Jun 2018 #9
seaglass Jun 2018 #10
seaglass Jun 2018 #11
WePurrsevere Jun 2018 #12
Spider Jerusalem Jun 2018 #14
customerserviceguy Jul 2018 #15

Response to seaglass (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 08:38 AM

1. Yes

Found a niece who was estranged from her late mother, my half sister, many years. A lovely person. Conversely, a granddaughter matched with someone who is the product of an admitted "one night stand" 60 years ago. She's the daughter of either her other side grandpa or his late brother. Grandma is not pleased that after 60 years something like this has surfaced! Be careful.

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Response to snowybirdie (Reply #1)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 09:02 AM

6. Yes, there is one person and possibly more that could be upset, depending on what the

relationship is.

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Response to seaglass (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 08:43 AM

2. I'd let it go

There doesn't seem to be any other choice. You could ask everyone in your family if they know who this woman could be but since they haven't said before I doubt they would now.

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Response to Phoenix61 (Reply #2)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 08:51 AM

3. I already asked my Aunt (my dad's sister) and she never heard of her. I discussed this with

one of my brothers because at first I thought he might have done his DNA kit with a fake name (even though we would have been a better match). I guess I could contact my other brothers to see if they know anything.

But you could be right that I should let it go unless she follows up - I wouldn't want everyone in my family wondering, with possibly no resolution, like I am.

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Response to seaglass (Reply #3)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 10:25 PM

13. From a way too personal experience

we've recently gone through, let it go unless she directly contacts you. Then tread very lightly. Could very well be a child conceived by an affair.

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Response to radical noodle (Reply #13)

Sun Sep 9, 2018, 01:32 PM

16. Yup

I found my adopted mother's REAL father. He has a living nephew in Texas. I dropped him a note and he is not a friendly sort.

That said, I found another 1/2 cousin. He is a treasure! He doesn't care about affairs, blah blah blah ...

Glad I found BOTH of them for one reason: All of the research I'd already done is now verified as "real". REAL!



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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #16)

Mon Sep 10, 2018, 02:16 AM

17. Not all relatives are good finds

but they make the history correct. My mother had done work on my father's side of the family and after she died I was asked to continue it. Turns out she fudged on stories that were not to her liking. I had to go back and redo much of it. Our ancestors were not the angels some have portrayed them to be. Makes the stories that much more human and interesting though.

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Response to radical noodle (Reply #17)

Mon Sep 10, 2018, 12:53 PM

18. oh I already knew these people were scum!

The foster family is who I am protecting.

I don't know why they don't get their DNA tested. They claim to be Cherokee indian in part but I am beginning to wonder about the "full-blooded" claim as there were no full-blooded Cherokee left much before/after The Trail of Tears scenario occurred.

They'll never know as they are afraid to know for some reason. That family does not appear in any Indian records (not that that in itself is reason to disregard the Indian ancestry claim).

Batch of typical lying tRumpsters IMO.

I have no use for any of them.


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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #18)

Mon Sep 10, 2018, 01:22 PM

19. I think some of the "Indian blood" stories

were started because ancestors pretended to be Native Americans to get free land. Even if they never convinced authorities, the story was stuck in the minds of the families.

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Response to seaglass (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 08:51 AM

4. I'd say the ball is in her court

You've contacted her, she may not be interested in an exchange. I think a lot of people do these tests as vanity projects or because it is trendy. Perhaps that is the case here, since she has no tree.

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Response to The Genealogist (Reply #4)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 09:02 AM

5. Agreed. I do know that there are 2 family trees created for my family and that 3 people

who did the DNA test did not link their DNA to their trees but I do believe in this case that there is no tree. Likely the DNA test was done as a lark to see heritage, not necessarily to make family connections.

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Response to seaglass (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 11:02 AM

7. I agree with poster above that the ball is in her court.

Something similar happend to me a few years ago. I received a message through 23andMe from a 2nd or 3rd cousin who had been adopted at birth. She knew who her birth parents were and had been in contact with both of them for about 10 years.

She also was in contact with her maternal grandparents, but her birth father claimed he did not know where his parents were (which turned out to be a lie).

Her paternal grandfather is my father's first cousin, and he was alive and well, living in the same place for the last 30 years.

My mother happened to have saved a bunch of correspondence with the adopted woman's paternal grandfather, so I contacted him by mail. He called me one night and told me a very sad story:

The paternal grandfather and his then wife wanted to adopt the baby girl at birth, but the maternal grandparents wouldn't allow it. She was put up for adoption through an agency. The paternal grandfather had been looking for his granddaughter for her entire life. He cried when he and I talked on the phone. I gave him his granddaughter's phone number and they have visited and stayed in touch ever since.

I was also able to help her find her paternal grandmother, though the grandmother was mentally ill by then and they don't have much of a relationship. But at least she found all of her grandparents.

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Response to seaglass (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 12:09 PM

8. Yes, my sister paid for one of our male cousins to have his DNA tested

In the hopes we could find clues as to the ancestry of our mutual third great grandfather. The best match to my cousin is a young man who is trying to find his sperm donor father.

We have not broached this with my cousin or his brother. The age of the sperm donor would have to be his children or his brother's children. Since both cousins are Baptist ministers, neither my sister or I are comfortable asking about the possibility.

There are prospects that sperm donor was a more distant cousin - one of the sons of our third great grandfather had twenty three children who lived to marry and produce children so there could be a lot of others in the same age frame.

I sent the match a complete genealogy and have left it to them to do any contacts or speculation.

We also have matches who are not the same surname which is odd since we were testing Y-DNA. One of the men said it was suggested that his ancestor was the result of an "undocumented paternity event" which I find a very charming phrase for illegitimacy!

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Response to seaglass (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 12:54 PM

9. Yes. It happened to me and it has been very emotional. Nt

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Response to jaysunb (Reply #9)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 02:40 PM

10. I'm trying to put myself in this woman's place but since I don't know the circumstances

I can't really imagine how she's feeling. I am in the same place. I hope your story has/had a positive ending.

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Response to seaglass (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 02:43 PM

11. No response yet but I have concluded that the relationship is either aunt or half-sister.

I don't think she could be my niece because she has no common matches on my mother's side.

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Response to seaglass (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 10:02 PM

12. Almost a year ago... 'I' was the surprise match...

I'm an adoptee who tested on 23&Me and Ancestry. I had a 1c1r from each side and am now in an on going reunion. I've built a rather extensive tree, spoken with quite a few close and distant family members and am in a few DNA genealogy groups on FB BUT when I first started and got my first 'who are you' letter I froze up a bit. I wasn't sure how to reply since I didn't know but didn't want to scare off someone who might be able and willing to help me find my 'puzzle pieces'. If didn't have my eldest daughter nudging and helping me it probably would have been days before I replied.

Anyway, I can also tell you from experience and comments in the groups in FB that Ancestry's communication can be glitchy. There are two buttons you can click to contact a match, a green one and a brown one... If you used the green try the brown after giving her a bit more time to digest what might be a surprise to her as well.

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Response to seaglass (Original post)

Fri Jun 15, 2018, 10:17 PM

14. My mother had two unknown first cousins show up after she tested with Ancestry.

It turned out after contacting one of them that he was the son of the previously unknown full sister of my grandmother; my great-grandmother left my great-grandfather in the early 1940's, and it turns out that she was pregnant and gave the child up for adoption.

The other is a mystery, but since she matches with people who are descendants of my mother's father's ancestors, and with people who are descendants of my mother's mother's ancestors,the only possibilities are a) she's the child of one of my grandfather's siblings (either an unknown child given up for adoption by my great-aunt, before she got married, or the unknown child of my great-uncle, born to someone other than his wife), or b) she's the daughter of a previously unknown child of my grandfather's (since half-niece is in the same range of shared DNA as first cousin). I've contacted this second person, but she hasn't logged in in over a year and I'm not really expecting a reply.

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Response to seaglass (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2018, 09:39 PM

15. She may well be

an adopted person who was never told the truth about her origins. I was adopted, and I share a lot of stories with people on the DNA websites. One person who responded to me told me that she was the administrator of her husband's 23andMe account, and only after his mother died, did he get the baby book she kept, which told the truth of his being adopted.

The best thing to do is be supportive, saying, "When you're ready to talk this out, I'm here for you," or something to that effect. I've seen a more than a few situations where an adopted person found a close biological relative, even a parent, and it took months for the shock of it all to wear off enough to the point where cautious communication can be attempted.

People lie, but DNA always tells the truth. It's something that our society needs to be able to process. A lot of sperm donors are finding out that the children they made possible are able to find them.

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