This is a common question and perhaps some people realize this but it wasn’t as apparent to me when I started on this journey. I was thinking; I’ll be able to validate my family history records and perhaps get help with some of the brickwalls that I have. That is true for the most part but it’s also true that you sometimes end up having more questions and sometimes the answers you get aren’t at all what you were expecting.
For instance I follow many Facebook paged dealing with the subject of DNA and I’ve seen where many people are doing their DNA and finding out family secrets that past generations would have thought were exactly that… in the past. I’ve heard of people finding out that their ethnicity isn’t exactly what they thought it was going to be. I heard that people have done their DNA and they had many matches and can’t find a single soul in their matches tree. All this is possible and getting involved in DNA can be a lot of work and more sleuthing than you’ve already done on your family history.
I currently am the caretaker of 22 kits. What this means is I’ve had myself and many other people in my family tested for DNA. 22 kits later, when my uncle asked; “Will I find out I’m not who I think I am?” I told him; “it’s possible”. You can have family stories and family histories all you want but this is science. There is no fuzzy area… if you are a match to someone it’s not a “maybe” it’s a reality. The DNA company will give you an approx relationship but that part isn’t an exact science not because it’s not valid but because they have no way of know if your DNA might be overstated. Overstated means that you may be related in more than one way. So if that’s the case; a 4th cousin may show as a 2nd cousin simply because you may be related on each of your parents lines or you may have a case of a 2nd cousin marrying a 2nd cousin… or a number of other possible reasons… Or perhaps that 2nd cousin relation is because one of your cousins had a child that you weren’t aware of. But without a shadow of a doubt you are related.
The funniest (well that’s not the correct way to say that, the oddest) comment I heard was where an adoptee contacted someone to find out who their connection was and was told; “you need to go back and check your DNA, because it’s wrong”. How very sad that a persons first contact with their true family wasn’t positive.
So be sure that when you take the DNA test, even if you’re sure you know your family history and secrets inside and out, that you open you head and your heart to every possibility.