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  • How many suprises have you found?

    I'm just curious as to how many unknown close relatives people discover?

    Since May last year I've found an unknown granddaughter for my auntie. She was the illegitimate daughter of her son. He was married at the time of her conception and never told the family.

    I've also found two half brothers. One that was raised by his birth mother but she said she didn't know who his father was. the second was adopted so has only just got his adoption papers and found out who his birth mother was. There was no father listed but DNA solved that problem. So I went from having 2 sisters to 2 sisters and 2 brothers in the space of 3 months.

    Is my family abnormal? Do my male relatives (including my dad!) sow their wild oats more prolifically than most? Maybe I should write a book but I might wait a year or two in case more appear.....

  • #2
    My biggest surprise came in 2010 when my cousin's Y-DNA test revealed that he didn't match his own surname, but another. I eventually found out through at-DNA testing that my 2nd great-grandmother had a child by her neighbor.

    My father was so promiscuous that I am always expecting a half-sibling to show up but none have.

    I was beginning to suspect that my maternal grandmother was not the child of her father because she was born one month after her parent's marriage and my mother had no matches on the French side of her family. I finally persuaded one of her 1st cousins to test and they matched. And just last week Mom got her first Mangeot match at Ancestry. I'd like to know the story of why my great-grandparents waited until one month before the birth of their child to marry, but I don't think anyone alive knows now.

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    • #3
      Well, I found an unknown first cousin last July when I took my third DNA test. Turns out that she's related on my mom's side, through my aunt, which was a total surprise to us, because none of us would've ever guessed that she would give up a child (now if it had been her brother, we wouldn't have doubted it for a second).

      I've also got a (probable) second cousin on my dad's side of the tree that we're still not sure exactly who he's descended from, other than he's from my grandma's side of the family (personally I think he's most likely the descendant of one of her brothers). However, it's unlikely that we'll ever pin down which one exactly because my grandma and her siblings had all died by 1995, and a good chunk of my dad's cousins on that side are also gone now.

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      • #4
        Surprises

        Zero -- Been at it since 2009. 4717 calculated matches. I'm at a disadvantage though. I have not been able to get a single family member to participate. I understand that there is a level of success when you have a more active gene pool. I try, but so far nada, nil, nothing.

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        • #5
          Always was pure Ashkenazi. Found out Sephardic and a family myth/secret
          Was true. Am indeed also Italian Jewish.The search for more details is proving positive. Also had triangulation done and a lot of Sephardic matches from everywhere.

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          • #6
            What is my maiden name? Smith, Johnson or Jones? (Don't answer, it's a trick question.)

            My paternal grandmother was 5 months pregnant with my father when she got married. With that, and that my father looked absolutely nothing like his father and very little like his siblings, it was suspect even without a DNA test. He passed though because he looked very much like his mother and also not dwelled on, since my father was named John Smith, Jr. and raised by John Smith, Sr. DNA showed he wasn't a Smith after all, but a biological Jones.

            Still on my paternal line, DNA showed that the same grandmother had a baby she gave up for adoption a few years before that. I have a new 1st cousin and my new cousin now has all the information from our family heritage, now knowing her heritage back to colonial America and beyond and the biological family that she sought.

            Still on my paternal line, back to the Jones and Smith drama, and it was very much a drama, you should have seen my father... The results of my paternal aunt's test, it turns out also that John Smith, Sr. wasn't even a Smith! He was a Johnson!

            His Johnson family lost track of him about 1922 when he was age 21, no sign of him anywhere, no documentation or anything after that, and our Smith family picked up his paper trail starting in 1924, but nothing before that. It was a Smith brick wall. Now we learned that he was booted from the military once, thanks to his father that pulled him from it with the aid of a congressman, reason being, underage, wanted to join again and so he changed his name. Mr. Smith Sr., aka Mr Johnson served 28 years in the service before he passed while serving the Korean War, at a rank of Master Sargeant. During his service, he received the Legion of Merit award for his service in WW2, among other medals. I don't suppose one could tell the truth to one's children, lest the military find out.

            On to my mother's side. One of my brothers had a son that he didn't know about. The son is 47 years old now. My brother was 19 years old when his son was conceived. He had been working at a department store and had an affair with a married woman, also young herself, age 21. The department store was right across the mall corridor from where my mother worked as a hairdresser. My mother remembers the woman. The boss had come across the hall to my mom's salon and told her to keep her son away from the co-worker. Then the boss put each employee on different floors of the store. We're overjoyed to have a new member of the immediate family.

            The same brother was reunited with his other siblings (he's my half-sibling, from my mother's first husband) through DNA and learned he's more AmerIndian than me 47% to my 17%. I got more Irish than him though my 29% to his 2%. (Sibling rivalry.)

            So he got a son, more siblings, and more AmerIndian. It's a success for my brother and a success for me that I was able to break the Smith/Johnson/Jones brick wall.

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            • #7
              Only one. I just learned, through DNA testing, that my grandfather had an illegitimate son, thus my father had a half brother.

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              • #8
                Related Huffpost story today: "DNA Testing Forced Me To Rethink My Entire Racial Identity"

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                • #9
                  Good surprises, bad surprises, all a matter of viewpoint

                  The basis of this thread is clearly Family Finder oriented, but I like the question, so here is something from the yDNA side of things.

                  My wife's maternal uncle was a Slayden and I am a Slayton, and it was once posited online by a former collaborator that the families had to all the same, something that my spidey-sense told me was wrong. Four or five years (when I had no preconceived notions about whose line was mine) went by as we parsed out English Sladens from Massachusetts Slaytons from Virginia Slaydens and North Carolina Slattons, and it was obvious to me that we were all different breeds of cat.

                  My former collaborator threw caution under the bus by posting a "version" that connected all of us, sold this and posted online, and after setting up a website to which I was not invited, provided made-up citations, made-up spouses, and whatever he need to create to fill in those pesky gaps. I was sent a link by an appalled member of my project who was a "marketing target" for this snake, and found compliments issued by "me" to this person, who used hotmail to create fake members for his site to bolster the few real people. When I visited with this link and asked how I complimented him without being invited before, he took down the site while I was on it.(if you think I am making this up, I have a lawyer friend who witnessed this.)

                  Appalled that this was not only sold in "hunks" to require the buyer to purchase another "volume" containing information about the buyer's family, but also that these phoney marriages and non-existent citations have made their way into 100s, if not 1000s, of posted family trees, I welcomed the availibility of yDNA testing.

                  The first two tests in the project were me and the (now) wife's uncle, and, as I expected from genealogy before genetics were accessible, he is haplogroup I-P37.2 and I am I-M253, with about 275 centuries between common ancestors. This was not a surprise (I am afraid I am a bad scientist because I was biased towards expecting this result.)

                  The surprises came when claimed descendants of a man whose profile was perfectly in line with my I-M253 patriline for locations, name usage, etc. were tested and were R-M269, and this effectively ended my ability to really help the sponsor, who got four men from two brother lines to test, all matching one another but no one else. The Atlantic Modal Haplotype is too vast for me to pretend to figure out a misattributed parentage, and how high up it may have been.

                  Then three men who traced to an I-P37.2 ancestor came up as R-M269, and this in fact serves as an underappreciated aspect of Y, it can both rule in and rule out. In this case, the R men traced back to the eldest calculated son of a man, and we got a fourth result from a man who traced to the youngest calculated son. The man from the youngest was a highly probable (tempted to say perfect but this is unscientific) match to the other I-P37.2 men. The three R men could have wrung their hands, but one of them underwrote a Big Y for one of the I-P37.2 men (!) in appreciation for the fact that we tentatively agree that the oldest son was probably adopted from a mother before the suspected head of this line fathered any sons by her. We cannot prove this, but it is a start.

                  These men are all part of a genealogical family if not the genetic lines we expected. Blood may be thicker than water, but family love is more powerful than either.

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                  • #10
                    Count me in. I just found out I'm an aunt. Shocked, delighted.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sspeters41 View Post
                      Zero -- Been at it since 2009. 4717 calculated matches. I'm at a disadvantage though. I have not been able to get a single family member to participate. I understand that there is a level of success when you have a more active gene pool. I try, but so far nada, nil, nothing.
                      Here's a little trick: Hopefully, you have a family tree loaded on FTDNA. When you find matches with family trees posted, go back a few generations to see if you can find matches to your tree. This has been very successful when I match my BIL's lines. I have also found several maternal cousins this way....

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                      • #12
                        I ain't saying (at Ancestry).

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                        • #13
                          So far with just about 4,700 matches here at FTDNA and 69,500 at Ancestry, I have found any number of 2nd cousins that I didn't know about, but they weren't really surprises as in my being shocked by their existence. It's just in my family we have never kept track of the descendants of a great grandparents. And in general my parents didn't really talk much about their ancestors, nor did my grandparents. Although my father used to joke that I was probably related to half of the population of WV of those who had been born, bred, and buttered in the state. And from my matches my father's joke seems to be quite true.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rmm0484 View Post
                            Here's a little trick: Hopefully, you have a family tree loaded on FTDNA. When you find matches with family trees posted, go back a few generations to see if you can find matches to your tree. This has been very successful when I match my BIL's lines. I have also found several maternal cousins this way....
                            Unfortunately, the way you get cousins (or other relatives) to test is by buying the kits. When you do though you advise them you want access to the results by having the kit number and password they have made up. I am the administrator of almost all the kits and tests I have purchased.

                            A couple of the cousins have a big interest in genealogy so I have turned the administration over to them because that's what they wanted but they have allowed me the password in order to do research.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by sspeters41 View Post
                              Zero -- Been at it since 2009. 4717 calculated matches. I'm at a disadvantage though. I have not been able to get a single family member to participate. I understand that there is a level of success when you have a more active gene pool. I try, but so far nada, nil, nothing.
                              Unfortunately, the way you get cousins (or other relatives) to test is by buying the kits. When you do though you advise them you want access to the results by having the kit number and password they have made up. I am the administrator of almost all the kits and tests I have purchased.

                              A couple of the cousins have a big interest in genealogy so I have turned the administration over to them because that's what they wanted but they have allowed me the password in order to do research.

                              Comment

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