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DNA Cousins Mystery Solved

March 20, 2016

GenesMany people wonder if DNA testing for genealogical purposes is a gimmick/novelty, or is incredibly useful, or is something in between.

The answer is usually “something in between,” because many apparent matches aren’t actual matches, a point I hope to get to in an upcoming post.

But for now, let’s focus on the “incredibly useful.”

I can’t claim to be a genius but I did have the foresight to test both my paternal grandfather and one of his cousins several years before they passed away, both in 2014.

As their kit manager, I was contacted by a half-brother and half-sister who both showed up as first-to-second cousins to my grandfather and his cousin. I could see the overlap was mutual so the two half-siblings shared their grandparents as ancestors.

I know who almost all my third cousins are, and even many of my fourth, so this created a bit of a mystery. But because of their location and dates they were born, I was able to work out that my grandfather’s first cousin, who was a medical student at the time, was a very early sperm donor who was the biological father of both my new cousins.

The child of my grandfather’s cousin, my second cousin once removed, was very obliging and volunteered to test, to verify the theory. Bingo, theory proven.

Long story short, my new cousins have met members of the family and now know who they are. But this couldn’t have happened without multiple people testing, and without someone knowing the basic genealogy.

I’m very pleased to have my new cousins, and to have been able to help them. Success stories like these are possible for donor-conceived children and adoptees, as well as people just looking to verify their family trees. So let’s celebrate the “incredibly useful,” even if it takes a little luck, before I get into the not-so-reliable aspects of testing in a future post.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Rivka permalink
    June 10, 2016 2:08 am

    Wait, what?? Why don’t I know this story.


  1. Downside to DNA, Part 1 | thegenealogistdotca

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