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Woman gets DNA test kit; uncovers bizarre family history. AITA? UPDATED

Woman gets DNA test kit; uncovers bizarre family history. AITA? UPDATED

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When this woman gets a dna test kit and uncovers a family secret, she asks the internet:

"I got a DNA Test Kit & Uncovered A Family Secret. AITA?"

I've always been interested in doing one of those at-home kits that tell you your ethnicity estimates. My mother has, for many years, claimed that her own great-grandmother was completely Native American...

and I recently learned that this is apparently something common for Southerners to claim, but that it is rarely true. I finally went ahead and bought one of the kits because there is nothing I enjoy more in life than proving my mother wrong.

Fast forward a few weeks. I get my results. I am 0% Native America, which isn't exactly shocking. The real surprise comes from the fact that I am also 0% Eastern European.

This probably wouldn't mean much for most people, but I happen to be Polish. Or at least, I thought I was. I have an unpronounceable, very Polish last name. My great-grandparents were Polish-speaking immigrants. My paternal grandfather himself spoke Polish as a child.

My first thought was that the test was a mistake. My results came over a week before the projected arrival date, and I KNEW I should be somewhere around 25% Polish/Eastern European.

So maybe there had been an error somewhere at the lab. I started digging around through my DNA relative matches. I had matched with an extended cousin with my mom's maiden name, living in the state that she grew up in. So the DNA analyzed was definitely mine, and this was not a switched-tube situation.

There were only two possible explanations: either my own dad was not my biological father, or my Polish grandfather was not the biological father of my dad.

I look a lot like my father, so it seemed unlikely that we were not related. However, there was no strong family resemblance between my dad and his own father. In fact, my grandfather and many of his siblings had a (we'll call it) striking nose that my sister and I had often rejoiced in not inheriting.

Also, my paternal grandparents had a disastrous marriage and bitter divorce—an affair did not seem out of the question.

My paternal grandfather died over ten years ago, but my paternal grandmother is still living and I gave her a call. It took a while for me to fully explain the DNA testing to her—she's 87, but we got there.

She denied it and tried to explain the unexpected results with a long ramble about migrating European tribes before I was finally able to make her understand that I would be able to test relatives from the Polish side of the family and determine whether or not I was actually related to them.

She told me that she didn't think that was a good idea, and I should think about it before contacting anyone.

I think I knew right then, but it was not until today, two days later, that she finally admitted it to my sister: my father had been lied to his entire life about his biological father.

So who is my actual paternal grandfather? TBD. My grandmother promised my sister that she will tell the two of everything when my sister gets into town for Christmas. She requested that we not tell anyone until then (it's too late, my sister already told everyone). AITA for bringing this up?

TL;DR: Did an ethnicity test, found out my father was apparently the product of an extra-marital affair and never knew.

Before we give you OP's update, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

spott6 writes:

My mother found her true biological father through one of those DNA tests. My grandma had been married and divorced many times and never told any of the kids who their real father was in order to keep the kids tied to her emotionally (without a dad, she’s their only support system).

She was apparently quite the floozy to the point that the men she claimed were the kids dads weren’t even really sure. I had always been raised with a grandpa who was supposedly legitimate and a few step-grandparents.

My mom took a DNA test and tracked down some potential cousins and was able to force the real answer out of my grandma. He passed away 10 years ago sadly but it turns out he was a special effects pioneer in Hollywood which is pretty damn cool.

I now just revel in the fact that my family has had an old family recipe for Russian food that has been passed down multiple generations and we’re apparently not even Russian.

afhers543 writes:

I did one of these and as a black person in the US I already knew I’d run into a wall somewhere around the 17/1800s.\

I actually narrowed down the plantation where my moms relatives we slaves. What I found after that was not expected. I started getting a bunch of DNA matches to straight up white people.

Not uncommon since my family is from New Orleans, but I didn’t expect that on my moms side, my dads side is typical New Orleans creole, they all including me are the same skin tone as Steph Curry, Drake etc. my moms family look like Michelle Obama skin tone wise.

Turns out all the white matches on my moms side are distant relatives of the guy who owned the plantation where were ancestors were slaves. So in other words we’re all blood relatives of the guys who owned our family.

Logical deduction the master assaulted my great great grandmother, and they had a kid together which turned out to be my great grandmother and she had never told anyone about this.

misty342 writes:

I had a similar thing happen to me a few years ago...turns out I have Uncle that no one knew about. Apparently my paternal grandmother had an affair while my step-grandfather (her second husband) was in Vietnam, got pregnant, and gave the baby up for adoption all before he got home.

My dad and aunt were too little to really remember her being pregnant but they both remember going to stay with a distant relative out of town for a few months around the time she would’ve been pregnant/given birth.

Turns out she went there with the kids before she was really showing so no one in her home town would know. We learned all this when my uncle came looking for his birth family and found us.

The real kick the pants? He’s actually my dad and aunts full biological brother. The man my grandma had the affair with was her ex-husband, my paternal grandfather. He died when I was 6 and never knew he had another son.

Also, my uncles adoptive parents named him Jeff, my dads name, and they could be twins. Our family went through some serious turmoil when this all came to light.

My aunt and step-grandmother (wife of the man who cheated with my grandma) blamed my New Uncle Jeff (my fun little nickname for him) for stirring things up for a little while but it’s all calmed down now.

They were reminded by several of us that if there is anyone to be mad at, it’s my gma and gpa, they’re the ones who made the mess. It’s just crazy but I’m so glad to know my uncle now. Good luck with your family and finding your roots.

adhad43 writes:

Had a similar situation with mine, my mother's parents divorced when she was pretty young, and we always wondered who her bio-dad was: grandma's ex husband or the man she cheated with (who's still in our lives and I call grandpa).

Getting the DNA results showed that I was ~25% less Polish/Eastern European than I "should" be, based on grandma's ex-husband's ancestry, and confirmed what we'd always suspected.

Grandma passed over 20 years ago, and mom can't bring herself to ask grandpa what the truth is, but we got some closure.

Nice to know that I'm related to the man who stayed in our lives, and not the man who basically abandoned and disowned my mom after the divorce. Not a TIFU situation, definitely more wholesome. Also I'm 2% Asian, but we have no idea where that came from.

hdyr5 writes:

My mom found out that her father wasn't her biological father last year when she was 54 years old. Her dad told her everything. We ended up finding and contacting her biological father. He mentioned to her that he has been looking for her for for so long. We ended up meeting him and his family.

Couldn't be a more sweet guy. The story could of been so bad. I can't help but feel so bad for the grandpa (My moms father that raised her) He is a great guy and was very very hurt that his wife (She passed away over 15 years ago) cheated on him.

He didn't want to tell my mom the truth because he is her father no matter what. But he felt like he had to tell her the truth before it was too late.

pnk654 writes:

As an adopted person I realize how interesting and "messed up" DNA tests can be. So many people are adopted. And in the past, it was less a legal thing and more of a "I found this orphan and kept him" thing, or in the more near past, a shameful thing that wasn't disclosed. Plus, infidelity! RAMPANT infidelity.

All it takes is one person in your family line and poof, your expectations based on family history no longer really matter because the truth is so much more abstract and complex.

That being said, genetically this is less a TIFU and more a "that's awesome!" Because I think the more genetic FACTS you find out (compared to word of mouth heritage info) is always a good thing! Even if a bit uncomfortable :)

And now, OP's first update:

In my previous post, I said that my grandmother promised to tell all when my sister comes to town next week. Officially, that is still the plan, but my sister (who apparently missed her calling as a special prosecutor) got my grandmother to admit to her over the phone the story of what actually happened. And it is...interesting.

Without going TOO much into my family history, when I first noticed the inconsistencies in my DNA test, I had an early idea who might be my bio paternal grandfather.

Basically, my grandmother had a long time "family friend" that she had known even before my grandfather PG (to try and distinguish between the two men, I am going to refer to them as PG for Polish Grandpa and BG for Bio Grandpa).

She and this friend maintained contact for years and years, all the way until both of their (second) spouses had died and they married each other.

Their kids had grown up together even before they become step siblings as adults, and they are still part of my extended family as "aunts" and "uncles" even though BG died when I was a baby (almost 30 years ago).

Over the years, there has been a bit of mild speculation that BG had possible fathered my dad's younger brother. No one really took it all that seriously, but he did look an awful lot like one of BG's and his wife's kids.

Because of this, the day I got my test results and figured out what they probably meant, I called my sister and we ordered a test for her best friend--one of BG's grandchildren.

Telling this information to Grandma was what finally made her admit it--I was going to be matched as a cousin with my sister's best friend, who (although considered a part of my extended family) should have been of no biological relation to me.

But here's where it gets a little confusing--my grandmother claims that PG was sterile as the result of something that happened to him in WW2. She says all three of her children are biologically from BG--but that it was all done intentionally through artificial insemination.

She desperately wants this to be kept a secret from everyone, including my dad and his siblings, because she is worried that people will assume "the worst" about her.

My dad and his siblings were born in the early 1950's. Does anyone know what the odds of this were?

How common was artificial insemination back then? Would someone have really used a friend as a donor (more than three separate times--my grandmother had at least one miscarriage that I remember her telling me about at some point)?

My grandmother has a known history of rewriting events in her favor. I guess it really does not matter at this point why BG was the father, but it is frustrating to feel like she might just be throwing in more lies on top of everything.

TL;DR: Grandmother claims my biological grandfather was a family friend that she and her husband used as a sperm donor through artificial insemination. Answers to common questions from my last post:

A lot of people wanted to know which DNA test I used—I used MyHeritage, but I have no idea if it is better than any of the others. I picked it because it was cheapest. A lot of people also wanted to tell me that these tests are not very accurate.

I don't really know what to say about that except that it was accurate enough to know that I did not have any Polish ancestry...

Some people wanted to know how my dad was taking all of this. He has not yet been told who his bio father was, but he did not have a particularly strong reaction to the original information.

His opinion was that it did not particularly matter to him because whoever it was was dead anyone. My dad is not one to dwell on this type of thing.

My mother thinks my sister and I are being ridiculous for “obsessing” over the whole thing, but this is the same mother that still refuses to admit that she does not have any recent Native American ancestry, so...

In the comments of the update I asked OP for a new Update with a couple questions & permission to post here. "Was anyone else in the family tested? Did grandma ever own up to an affair?"

My dad and his (known) siblings have never been tested, but several of his newly discovered half siblings and some of their children tested and matched appropriately to me and my sister.

Grandma never admitted to the affair, and she died two years ago so I guess we will never know the full details of that story.

Everyone in the family and “extended” family know the truth now, and everyone is pretty much fine with it. No one gave Grandma much of a hard time about it, although no one really believes the artificial insemination story, we’ve never been able to prove or disprove it.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for her?

Sources: Reddit
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