I am a person who loves solving puzzles. For obvious reasons, my current favorite sort of puzzle is utilizing DNA results and research to untangle questions about my (or anyone-I-might-be-helping’s) family tree. I write this as a foreword to this post as justification for my poking my nose where it probably does not belong.
In very early 2017, an extremely close match appeared in the DNA matches of myself, my mother, and my half-brother. Further investigation of shared matches indicated that the link was along my mother’s father’s line. This person appeared as a 1st cousin to my mother and a 2nd cousin to my half-brother and me. For those of you unfamiliar with DNA matches, that is extremely rare. I wrote earlier that I successfully (though, as it turned out, unnecessarily) triangulated the identity of my father from a 1st cousin match. It’s not that hard when the matches are that close.
The match’s family name was simply nowhere on any family tree associated to me, and moreover had a high percentage of a nationality that no one in my line possesses.
I immediately assumed that the match was an LDA (or about to be), but on further research I have come to the conclusion that the match’s father was the child of his mother (who is 100% the nationality that does not show up in my family genetics) and my maternal grandfather. Which would make the match’s father and my mother half-siblings.
I wrote earlier that I think people harboring uncomfortable secrets that might be revealed by DNA ought to reveal the truth before DNA outs them, but what if that truth is generations ago? Is it wrong to reach out to this 77 year old man and offer him the opportunity to know his half-siblings and other family? I vacillate between wanting to solve the puzzle and expose the truth, and worrying that this truth might be hurtful. I have little patience these days for the people harboring the lies, but what of the poor unsuspecting? What makes this situation particularly worrying is that I am likely about to create a new LD-. Not adopted, but quite probably a person who will have to grapple with the knowledge that the man who raised him was not his biological father after all.
I will likely send the polite, benign letter that I have composed to this gentleman, my probable uncle, but it will not be without worry.