Untangling family trees can be like untangling Christmas lights, and it’s very easy to become impatient and want to scream and/or punch something. This is nothing new and we’ve all been there.
Back in the day, people had no idea DNA could catch up to them and possibly “out” their secrets. Well, that day has definitely arrived. But even with the DNA results of today, the lies told on birth certificates, marriage records, etc., ensure there will be days when you just want to throw your hands in the air and wave the white flag.
A 1st cousin shows up unexpectedly on your DNA matches. But…….you don’t have any 1st cousins!!! So, naturally you reach out via ancestry.com, but he does not answer you back. Crickets, radio silence, nada, nothing. So, you find a way to telephone him and he hangs up on you, BUT not before asking you to text him what you want. So you text him, and he reluctantly (imagine a turtle) texts you back and tells you what he knows, intermittently and over the course of about 6 months, which unfortunately is almost nothing. A year goes by, he texts you again out of the blue and this time he says he’s got paperwork to send you. Excitedly, you tell him where to mail said paperwork. But, another year goes by, and you hear nothing, and he never sends you any paperwork, so you dive in. Again. I tried to explain to him how to make his DNA results private so people like me wouldn’t find him, but he refused my help.
There’s a reason he’s left his DNA results public. He won’t or can’t admit he wants to know about his parents, but he obviously wants to know.
Everything about this 1st cousin’s father seems to be a lie – his birth record, his own marriage record(s) and even his social security application. Perhaps his mother simply lied to him her whole life and he never really knew who his biological father was. A tale as old as time……..
If his mother lied about his birth, was it because the secret was hurtful or harmful? Should I butt out? Genealogists only butt in, not out! Should I just let things be? But, if our clients want to know about their families, don’t they have the right to know? Is DNA really such a great thing? If you yourself really do not want to connect with unknown relatives, why not privatize your results???
Currently, I am still in the middle of a huge tangled mess of family lies, but at least for today, I am not giving up…….