Sometimes DNA Can Hurt

DNA can be a wonderful thing. It can bring together relatives. It can help find your long lost ancestors. It can even tell you where your ancestors came from. However, while finding out all this information can make some happy it can be hurtful to others.

A few days ago a man was on Facebook telling all his friends about finding his unknown half brother and sister. He was happy to find and meet them. I can understand that. Who wouldn’t  like a story like that? He answered that question with his next thought, “I wonder what my mother will think when she learns she has a step son born exactly nine months after she gave birth to her first son and a step daughter after that?”

While I believe in telling the truth, I also believe there are times when it is best to keep your mouth shut.

There are other ways DNA can be hurtful. Can you imagine finding out you are adopted and were never told? What if you are not adopted but dear old dad is not related to you and he does not know.

The bottom line is you have to be prepared to accept the fact that you may find out something you would rather not know. At the same time you just may find someone you have been looking for you entire life. I chose to take a chance.



One thought on “Sometimes DNA Can Hurt

  1. As Admin for a surname YDNA project (Farrar at FTDNA) I can speak to DNA surprises. There are a few persons in the project whose ancestor was what we call a Non Paternal Event (NPE).

    An NPE can be either adopted, out of wedlock or in the case of one member, a great grandfather who changed his surname when he fell out with his father.

    The sudden revelation that your paternal DNA is not Scotch (as you once thought) but actually Yorkshireian, English can be a jolt. One such had a good handle on their earliest known ancestor, born 1776 in the Carolina’s, only to discover that that ancestor was born a Farrar and adopted into anothers family. Whether the ancestor was adopted as an orphan or was an out of wedlock love child is not known, and really not relevant.

    It is my opinion that there is cultural DNA as well as biological DNA. If one was raised in a household named McReynolds, and whose values, history and traditions passed down through the generations were McReynolds, and had their origin in the heart and mind of the man who gave the name to that child circa 1776, then that is your cultural DNA. You biological DNA might determine the tools you have in your toolbox, but it is your cultural DNA that influences how you use those tools, and what you do with them.

    There are many geniuses who lie on the margin, and many average persons who are successful entrepreneurs. Thomas Edison was not a genius, he was born with the Hunter gene, or as we call it today attention deficit disorder, same with Benjamin Frankiln. Neither man could sit still and concentrate all of their attention and energy on one subject, both “flitted” from one endeavor to another, hyper entrepreneurs and inventors.

    I know nothing of their early childhood and influences, other than Ben Franklin fled the stifling theocracy of Massachussetts for the freedom of thought of Philadlephia.

    There is one group of persons, of which I am personally knowledgeable, that are very much “hurt” by the revelation that a vaunted and worshipped ancestor might have been born on the “wrong side of the sheets” and those are the hyper religious, self righteous moralizers. There was one such in the project I mentioned. He was much hurt by the revelation that a great great grandfather was a trigamist, married three times without bothering with a divorce for two wives, (however he was wealthy and left his abandoned wives and children with substantial estate, he just never bothered with a divorce and disappeared from their lives), he also fathered, at least one son out of wedlock, impregnating a cousin.

    This person is very religious and took it hard to learn that his beloved ancestor was not such a good Christian or man.

    There are others who share Farrar DNA (and yes there is Farrar DNA, or at least Yorkshire Farrar DNA), but do not have the surname Farrar, however their DNA, though matching, does so only around the time that surnames became mandatory (poll tax of 1377), such peoples ancestors were given or took a patronym surname (ex: son of Evan, or Evans or Evanson), or some other characteristic or quality, including occupation, physical characteristic, location of abode..

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