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DNA Tests May Reveal the Skeletons in the Family Closet



Skeleton in the closetDNA testing can be a bit of a “Pandora’s Box”. Once you open it up, you cannot ever put back the information that you learned about your family tree. A DNA test can unintentionally reveal the skeletons in the family closet.

Those that learn about family secrets through DNA testing can experience a shock. Some feel that the news is dropped upon them and that they are unprepared to cope with how things may change as a result of having that knowledge.

For example, there is the story of George Doe who used a DNA test that came from 23andMe. The DNA test revealed that George had a half-brother named Thomas who was also 50% related with George’s father. The discovery of Thomas caused controversy in George’s family and his parents ended up getting a divorce.

Jolie Pearl also used the DNA testing from 23andMe. It revealed that she had a half-brother, a man named Neil Schwartzman, who was adopted at 10 days old (and who had been looking for his biological family). The two met, and Neil was able to meet his biological mother in person. Unfortunately, she was suffering from dementia.

The first meeting between Jolie and Neil was a happy one. Later, Jolie realized that the DNA test had revealed her mother’s secret. Jolie now had reason to wonder about the veracity of the other family stories she had been told.

Actor Tyler Perry recently spoke about a family secret that was revealed as the result of DNA testing. His mother always told Tyler that the man who raised him was his father.

After she died, Tyler took a DNA test with his brother. It revealed that the two brothers did not have the same father. This led to a second DNA test that showed that the man who raised Tyler was not actually his biological father after all. In his talk at Women’s Empowerment 2014, he said “I love my mother to death, but she lied to me.”

Before you take a DNA test, it would be a good idea to take the time to think about how you would feel if something unexpected was revealed as a result of that test. Is it best to know the truth about your family, even if it is shocking? How do you think other family members would react to unexpected, controversial, news about your family tree? Would it be better to leave “Pandora’s Box” firmly shut?

Image by Jeremiah Green on Flickr.

Related Articles:

* DNA Testing Kits Still That Are Still Available to Genealogists

* Family Secrets – What to Do?

* Discovering Family Secrets – A Real Case

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