DNA Buys the Truth


Recently, George Doe, clearly a pseudonym, a man with a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology, a professional stem cell and reproductive biologist, related his story to Julia Belluz.  Vox published the resulting article titled, “With Genetic Testing I Gave My Parents the Gift of a Divorce.”  The original rather unflattering and somewhat derisory article by Julia is here, titled Genetic Testing Brings Families Together and Sometimes Tears Them Apart.

In these articles, Dr. Doe tells us that last year, in a class he was teaching, he used the 23andMe test to demonstrate how to collect a spit sample.

In fact, he was so excited that he bought kits for his parents as well:

“I had spent many years looking at the genes of other animals — particularly mice — but I never looked at my own. Because I was so excited about it, I got two 23andMe kits for my mom and dad as gifts. It’s a lot more fun when you can incorporate your family because you can trace not just the chromosomes but individual alleles on the chromosome so you don’t just see them, but where they came from. Also, I felt I had a good handle on my family’s medical history so I was very interested in confirming any susceptibility to cancers that I heard had run in my family, like colon cancer. I wanted to know if I had a genetic risk.”

But Dr. Doe found more than he anticipated.  He found a half brother, an adoptee, sired by his father.

“When I saw that I share about 22 percent of my genome with a person, I thought, “That’s huge.” It took a bit of time to realize Thomas and I actually share the same genome with my father. This is how it happened: when you share around 25 percent genetic similarity with someone, that means that either it’s your grandfather, uncle, or half-sibling. 23andMe listed Thomas as a grandfather, which was confusing to me. I called my dad. All I had was his name, Thomas, and the fact that he’s male. I just asked my dad, “Does this name sound familiar?” He said no. He logged into his account, and Thomas wasn’t showing up at all. I was so confused. We figured out that at the very bottom of your profile, there’s a little box that says “check this box if you want to see close family members in this search program.”

Dad checked it, and Thomas’ name appeared in his list. 23andMe said dad was 50 percent related with Thomas and that he was a predicted son.”

Given Dr. Doe’s next comments, one can surmise that this child was not conceived before Dr. Does’ parents married, nor was Dr. Doe’s father a sperm donor.

“Years of repressed memories and emotions uncorked and resulted in tumultuous times that have torn my nuclear family apart. My parents divorced. No one is talking to my dad. We’re not anywhere close to being healed yet and I don’t know how long it will take to put the pieces back together.”

Correction Note:  CeCe Moore provides information that Doe’s half-brother was conceived prior to the marriage, as reported by Belluz.  However, we don’t know that the conception was outside of the time span of the relationship of the parents.  CeCe also states that “both Neil Schwartzman and I were misquoted/misrepresented in the article. Neil says that he never told her it was a negative experience for him. (Some of my quotes have been changed – with no correction noted interestingly, but there is still some misrepresentation of our conversation.) So, this does make me wonder if Ms. Belluz got Doe’s story exactly right as well. Ms. Belluz clearly had an agenda and twisted the “truth” to support it.”

At this point, I felt really bad for the Doe family, and I still do.  But Dr. Doe’s next paragraph bothered me when I first read it and it bothers me now.

Instead of laying the blame for this problem where it clearly resides, at the feet of his father, he is unhappy instead with the testing company, in this case, 23andMe.

“After this discovery was made, I went back to 23andMe and talked to them. I said, “I’m not sure all your customers realize that when they participate in your family finder program, they’re participating in what are essentially really advanced paternity tests.” People find out that their parents aren’t who they think they are. They have nearly a million people in the database. If there happens to be anyone in there you’re related to, they’ll find your match. This is a solid science.”

Dr. Doe goes onto say;

“I don’t want to say if I knew that I wouldn’t have participated. But I’m really devastated at the outcome. I wrestle with these emotions. I love my family. This is nothing I ever would have wished. My dream would be to introduce Thomas to dad, to incorporate a new family tradition, to merge families. We all get to broaden our horizons and live happily ever after. At least right now, that’s not what happened. I still hold out hope that in time we can resolve things. But I also worry that as these transitions happen there may have been some permanent emotional damage that may not be able to be undone.”

Dr. Doe goes on to say that 23andMe isn’t doing enough to protect the public from themselves, in essence.  23andMe did and does have a special box to click to indicate that you DO want to see close relatives.  Most people have no idea that this box even exists, let alone that they need to click it.  In fact, the mere fact that you have to click the box, and it’s not front and center, makes your results unreliable because you believe that you’re seeing all of your results, when you aren’t.  He even describes how this option confused his father and his father could not see his children.  His father isn’t the only one.  This option has caused more panic among families that “should” match until someone explains this hidden “Opt In” option and where they have to click.

Now, I’ve been quiet all week, mulling this situation over.  While I was mulling, 23andMe, who had previously announced that they were going to make seeing close relatives an “opt out” instead of an “opt in,” announced they had changed their mind.  Coincidence?  Doubtful.  In fact, Vox, who published the original two articles also published 23andMe’s announcement and stated that the announcement was a result of their original articles.

I find this stance personally abhorrent.  I believe that the people who test have the right to the truth – all of it – and not just if they happen to discover that all of their results are not being displayed.  They are adults.  They choose to take, or not take the test.  If you take the test, you have every right to expect you’re seeing all of your results.

Dr. Doe, of all people, has absolutely no right to complain.  He, of all people, a PhD in this field, knew exactly what he could discover.  The problem is that the truth is sometimes inconvenient and ugly, especially if you don’t expect to discover that your father cheated on your mother, or vice versa.

Dr. Doe – the problem is not that 23andMe did not protect you from yourself.  You, admittedly, clicked right through the options, believing of course, that it “couldn’t be me.” The problem is your family’s choices, perhaps then, and certainly now.

23andMe’s reversal on their policy will do nothing, absolutely nothing, to protect people like Dr. Doe from himself.  The only policy that will do that is the French policy of making DNA testing illegal to “protect the family unit.”  God forbid that we ever become that paranoid.

What 23andMe’s policy does it to continue to obscure the truth from unsuspecting testers.  Unfortunately, even if they put a big red box dead center in the screen today that says “If you don’t click here, you won’t see close relatives including sons, daughters……,” many people will never see it, because many people never sign on again after receiving their initial results.  In other words, many of their clients’ data would remain dark.  The only way to solve that problem is to do what 23andMe announced they would do and were preparing to do, to shift the option from “Opt In” to “Opt Out,” until Dr. Doe created a publicity nightmare because he couldn’t handle the results of his own test, AFTER, he intentionally and with full knowledge, clicked the “Opt In” option.

Furthermore, Dr. Doe could have discovered the same thing if he had found his father’s old journals, for example.  He could have discovered an old letter from a sweetheart.  He could have found the letter telling his father that the child would be put up for adoption.  What would he have done then?  Who would he complain to that no one protected him from himself?  The company that created the paper and the ink???  The post office because they might deliver a letter with disturbing information inside?

I don’t mean to be insensitive here, but it’s vastly unfair to make hundreds of thousands of people pay the price for Dr. Doe’s family issues.  The timing of this article with the much anticipated 23andMe change has created the perfect media storm.  Dr. Doe whined, loudly, and publicly, and 23andMe doesn’t want to create even more negative publicity.

If you think that I’m speaking from an ivory tower, or a vacuum, so to speak, I’m not.  Let me explain about infidelity and betrayal.  After my former husband’s massive stroke, when I was in my late 30s and he was in his late 40s, I found pictures of him with another female, with the sailboat that I bought him.  Yep, he was on vacation, with another woman, while I was staying home and working.  I felt terribly, horribly betrayed…not to mention gullible, stupid and naïve…oh yes, and angry.

I found those pictures a month or two after his stroke, when he was so terribly incapacitated that he couldn’t even speak, sit up, or eat, let alone answer any questions.  Really, there was nothing he could have said anyway – the pictures, multiple pictures, over multiple summers….were all the evidence I needed.  But I wanted them, I so wanted them to not be true.  But they were.  Staring back at me in living color.

The truth was ugly and painful and devastating.  But it was also freeing.  It freed me from the pain of loss of something I never had – a loving and loyal husband.  I only thought I did.  At the time it was horrifically painful.  Today, I’m incredibly grateful that I didn’t spend my entire married life with a cheating, lying scoundrel.

I also know about infidelity within a family when we discovered that my half-brother through my father was not my father’s child.  I lived through the pain of that too, and I can tell you that my brother, Dave, who wasn’t my biological brother, and I were far closer than many biological family members.

DNA does not tear families apart, people do.  Infidelity does.  Poor choices do.

My grandfather, about 1910, recently married to my grandmother, was present in his mother-in-law’s kitchen the day that a young man knocked on the back door.  His mother-in-law, Nora Kirsch Lore had recently been widowed after being married to Curtis Benjamin “CB” Lore for more than 20 years.  The young man asked for CB, by name.  Nora asked him to come inside and figured he was one of the young men who had worked for CB in his construction and racehorse business.  That’s not at all why the young man was looking for CB Lore.  CB Lore, according to the young man’s mother, was his father.  Let’s just say that it was a very awkward day in that kitchen as Nora asked the young man what year he was born.

In 1910, there was no way to prove, or disprove, this allegation.  Today, there is – DNA.  Nora too was devastated by her husband’s indiscretion, to put is softly, or outright betrayal to call it what it was.  But she was not without a hint – he had always been somewhat of a playboy.  Had she known specifically about this woman?  No, but it didn’t entirely surprise her either.  It only confirmed, or at least potentially confirmed, what she suspected happened when he traveled.  It certainly was not this young man’s fault for showing up to find his father.  Just like it isn’t DNA’s fault today.

Dr. Doe is not responsible for “outing” his father.  His father obviously made his own choices.  So did his mother.

Dr. Doe did not buy his parents a divorce, his parents did.  Pure and simple.  Their choice.  Sounds like that divorce was, perhaps, years overdue.

What Dr. Doe gave his mother was possibly the gift of truth and freedom.  Mrs. Doe obviously had the option of discussing things with her husband.  She didn’t.  Dr. Doe himself said it brought up repressed memories, and they obviously were not pleasant.  This was only a festering scab and he, unfortunately, was the one who bumped up against it and knocked it off.

I’m glad Dr. Doe is getting help.  I hope the entire family is getting help.

As I tell people, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.  If you don’t want the truth, don’t DNA test.  Period.

The culprit in this story is not Dr. Doe, is not 23andMe, but is very clearly Dr. Doe’s father’s original behavior combined with current family dynamics.

Sadly, the people that are ultimately paying the price for Dr. Does’ family turmoil are the hundreds of thousands of people that now continue to have their results obscured because of 23andMe’s abrupt change of policy.

That’s not right either.

23andMe lives and dies not on genetic genealogy or on the revenue from the tests themselves, but on their customers allowing them to use their results to compile for medical studies and to sell.  If you want to make your feelings known, you can personally opt out of allowing 23andMe to utilize your results for those types of endeavors.  In other words, 23andMe will no longer be able to make money from your DNA.

Perhaps 23andMe will hear and understand that message.  Companies understand dollars.

To remove your consent for 23andMe to utilize your DNA, or to at least review the consent form, sign on and click on the down arrow beside your name.

23andme consent

Then click on “Privacy and Consent.”

23andme consent2

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to “Basic Research Consent.”  If you have given consent, this is what you will see.

23andme consent3

Click in the green box on “view/change consent.”  You will then see the consent document.

23andMe consent4

Scroll down again.  You will see that the “give consent” box, in green, has been clicked already.

23andme consent5

Underneath that box, click on the blue “click here to change your consent.”  You will then see a green and a red box with your consent options.

23andme consent6

You can see that I’ve selected “I am this person and I don’t give consent,” in the red box.  Then click on the green “Save” button.

The change takes place imediately for any future projects or initiatives, but does not affect any studies or data sales that have previously taken place.

Furthermore, e-mail 23andMe’s Human Projects Administrator at hpa@23andMe.com and tell them why.

You have a voice in this matter.  Use it.



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53 thoughts on “DNA Buys the Truth

  1. Totally agree with your comments Roberta. I had thought similar things yesterday when I read the article. Good on you for going to print!

  2. Hi Roberta,

    The child (Doe’s half brother) was indeed conceived prior to the marriage. The article notes, “When George figured out his dad had conceived this child before getting married — that the child was not the result of adultery — he was excited.” So, your speculation in that regard is incorrect. The real reason that they divorced must have been because, as stated, Mrs. Doe did not want her husband to have a relationship with his own flesh and blood and he did so against her wishes. Clearly, they had other problems in the marriage. Painting Mr. Doe as the villain and his wife as the victim is misplacing the blame.

    I also wanted to mention that both Neil Schwartzman and I were misquoted/misrepresented in the article. Neil says that he never told her it was a negative experience for him. (Some of my quotes have been changed – with no correction noted interestingly, but there is still some misrepresentation of our conversation.) So, this does make me wonder if Ms. Belluz got Doe’s story exactly right as well. Ms. Belluz clearly had an agenda and twisted the “truth” to support it.


  3. Roberta, it turns out that there was no infidelity. Thomas was conceived before George Doe’s parents married. Apparently George’s MOTHER and his sister did not want George’s father to connect with his newly-found son and this was the conflict that led to the divorce. There are a couple of threads about this on the 23andme board.

    In any case, your main points stand. It’s the people involved – not the DNA test results – who are to blame for the turmoil that ensued in George Doe’s family.


  4. An excellent article. I, also, thought the blame was misplaced on the testing company. Whatever the details of the family strife, it was triggered, or brought to a head, by the results of the testing. That is not the fault of the testing company.

  5. Thank you Roberta – very clarifying. And, CeCe for the clarification on the son being conceived before the marriage. I guess it all depends on how long the parents were engaged. But, obviously after all the years the parents were together there were other issues in that marriage.
    Anyway, it is a real shame that 1. 23 and Me disappointed so many people 2. The let a “hack” make the determination plus a minority of subscribers make the decision for them. 3. They are denying access to those who really need a shot at those close matches.
    I personally feel that 23 and me is not meeting their contractual promises of matching everyone with people that match them. Especially close and relevant matches.
    BTW, I opted out of research this past weekend.

      • Yes he does exist. In fact, I just corresponded with him. I recognized his description immediately upon reading it. I was 100 percent sure of his identity and finally wrote to him today and he confirmed it. He claims he was accurately represented in the article, but that the story is more complex as we all imagined.
        I will be speaking with him to get more information.

      • “Dr. Doe” asked me to make sure that everyone knows that there was no infidelity involved in his father’s actions. His parents were not together at the time of the conception of his newly-found brother. I am hoping that at some point, he can publicly speak for himself (and can verify what I am saying), but he cannot right now due to family considerations.

      • @CeCe Moore

        I hope his family can work through this.

        And I hope that as the emotions simmer down, Dr. Doe will take some more time to consider other perspectives on his policy prescriptions. Hopefully he eventually will have the opportunity to speak out at a more reputable media organization.

  6. Thank you for this post, I couldn’t not figure out how to change my settings earlier and along comes your post telling me how. I also sent them an email, lets see if we can change their minds.Lauren

  7. I also want to thank you, Roberta, for sharing the painful experience you had with your ex-husband. It was brave and kind of you to do so. Yes, DNA is not the only way the truth comes out. However it comes out, in most cases it ends up setting us free.

  8. One of the advantages of being part of a group is benefiting from group knowledge. We started up a DNA Special Interest Group in my FHS to help people choose the test that was right for them and to foresee possible consequences and be ready to accept what might come. Traditional documentary and oral sources can produce surprises like this too, but for some people, the DNA results can be more confronting. Service providers quite naturally encourage people to dive in. My message is “Inform yourself first”. Fortunately one of the ways people can do so is to read your blog, as you have been open in sharing personal stories as well as technical information.

  9. Roberta, I appreciate your point of view and strongly support your position that everyone participating in DNA Relatives ought to be shown to everyone else. However, let me provide a different angle to consider and some history.

    I believe that this entire issue exists largely because the company also presents (or presented) health results to individuals. Some of the health conditions (Alzheimer’s, BRCA, Parkinson’s, etc.) are considered particularly sensitive, so customers are asked to opt in to each of them individually to see their results in order to avoid them being revealed if you don’t wish to know. I can’t recall ever having heard anyone argue against that policy.

    DNAR came into existence at a later time and was revolutionary. I strongly suspect that due to the paradigm established with health results, the company decided to do the same on the ancestry side in terms of asking people to opt in if they wished to see close relatives (roughly first cousin relationship or closer). As with health, this information may also be considered sensitive for some. Remember that you’re opted in to DNAR and have to take action to opt out if you wish not to participate.

    When customers visited the DNAR page, a Show Close Relatives link (not hidden, but certainly could’ve been made more prominent) at the top of their match list was shown that allowed people to opt in to see and be seen by their close relatives. That link continued to be shown in DNAR unless or until they opted in. The option was also provided under the Update Your Profile button options there in DNAR. That box could be clicked to opt back out, then toggled again to opt back in, etc.

    The company probably never envisioned the troubles caused down the road by the decision to make Show Close Relatives an opt-in process. It effectively established the understanding with those who didn’t opt in that close relatives would never be shown. Now opting this group in without getting their explicit approval could also result in legal action.

    23andMe actually decided to eliminate the Show Close Relatives setting and implemented the change within the past couple months, which should be commended. New customers since that change are notified that if they participate in DNAR, they’re agreeing to show close relatives. The link and the option to show close relatives no longer exist for new customers and existing ones who already opted in.

    How, then, to handle the group that hadn’t made a conscious decision to opt in (but hadn’t opted out)? I think that the company’s solution from several days ago is a fair one. It will (or has?) email those who haven’t yet made a decision either to opt in to DNAR with no restrictions or to opt out altogether. For those who miss the message, no longer have that email address, don’t get it, etc, a prompt when entering DNAR on the 23andMe website will ask for them to decide before proceeding. Some of us have asked that the prompt be moved to when those customers log in to the website, period, and the company has said that it will consider it.

    I regret the opting out of research effort being promoted and hope that it’ll be reconsidered. In my opinion, doing so in an effort to force the company to nullify the privacy it originally promised isn’t the best policy. In the end, it also hurts those of us who could benefit by health insights being found. I wouldn’t support boycotting AncestryDNA for not revealing matching DNA segments. These efforts also hurt existing customers whom we’re trying to help.

    In the end sum game, 23andMe has actually improved the DNA Relatives experience going forward by forcing new customers either to opt in to DNA Relatives with close relatives or out. My hope is that those existing customers who hadn’t yet made a decision either way will do so over time. Those people weren’t previously visible, so any opting in will be a bonus.

    Thanks very much for all you do for the genetic genealogy community! Very much enjoy the blog.

  10. Lucid explanation, as always, thanks!

    On an adoptee forum today, a poster was very confused because she remembered having to sign multiple consent documents to send in with her DNA sample to 23andMe, detailing the fact that DNA testing produces results which sometimes might be different than what the tester expected. Warnings all in caps, that sort of thing. And the button to opt-in also has an additional pop-up warning which requires another acknowledgement before close relatives are shown.

    And yet, despite all these precautions, this “scientist” complains that he wasn’t warned sufficiently. So how many warnings is enough?

  11. I would remind everyone that all results from FTDNA and Ancestry are shown with no disclaimers – as it should be IMHO. 23andMe’s decision could be a real hindrance for the Adoption Community. I sincerely hope they can be persuaded to change their minds.

  12. Thank you for posting this.

    Pox on Vox’s house for irresponsible sensationalism.

    I feel sorry for “Dr. Doe.” I’m sure he’s working through his stages of grief. Maybe the Vox interview was some kind of cathartic therapy for him. I just wish hadn’t chosen to direct his anger at DTC DNA testing.

    I can understand the frustration surrounding the opt in/opt out question. I’m not convinced that there’s a right or a wrong way to handle it. It seems that there are advantages and disadvantages either way. I, for one, am glad that I was presented with a choice. How the choice should be presented — that could generate endless debate.

    One of the things that bothered me the most about Dr. Doe’s opinion was this:

    “I would want a warning saying, ‘Check this box and FYI: people discover their parents aren’t their parents, they have siblings they didn’t know about. If you check this box, these are the things you’ll find.'”

    No, these are the things a small percentage of people can find.

    If informed consent is the goal, this warning is inappropriate as it overstates the risk. SOME people will discover upsetting family secrets, but most won’t.

  13. Dear Roberta

    Thank you for this well written explanation of the current brouhaha.

    I quite agree with your conclusions and would love a completely transparent 23andme.

    Surely anyone who joined since the FDA ruling would realise that the only way we’re going to make progress with finding our common ancestors is by being open to sharing.  I’m constantly amazed at the number of anonymous people are on DNA relatives.  Didn’t they join knowing that there weren’t going to be health reports, but knowing that in order to break down their brick walls, or find their biological families they were going to be open?

    I had someone today who accepted my sharing invitation, but only as far as making contact and discussing our possible ancestors.  She declined the invitation to share genomes… why for goodness sake?  Does she think she’s giving away the family heirlooms or something?

    I do hope that common sense will prevail and that those who want to protect their skeletons in the closet will open up and realise that every family has skeletons of some kind or another, and that’s what makes all this so interesting! And most of all I hope that the powers that be in 23andme aren’t intimidated by people like the professor in your story.

    Merilyn Pedrick

    Aldgate, South Australia 

    • Merilyn, I agree, and despite years and years of pleas, and at least some tweaking, the terminology 23andMe still uses to discuss it is “sharing genomes”. When I send sharing requests, I describe it as our “matching genetic segments”, which seems to help with my acceptance rate. But I can’t control all the places where 23 makes it sound like it’s so much more than it is. When I’ve shown it to some people who had questions they were so surprised to see how little it was.

      • Thanks, ReGenes.

        Accurate terminology does make a difference. I’ve seen the same thing with my “sharing” requests. In this case, accurate terminology is much less scary than the inaccurate description.

        I try to avoid the word sharing, too. We’re only comparing. I think that sounds less dramatic and less ominous for those concerned about privacy.

  14. It’s my understanding that withdrawing consent can be reversed in the future. I revoked consent for 2 Profiles with the strong hope that 23andMe will do the right thing in the near future, and I will change to consenting then. I very strongly support the medical research possibilities. The medical vs genealogy dichotomy is a false one.

  15. Hi Roberta,

    This is a good article. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences which really puts a fine point on things. You might think I’m crazy, but do we have any proof that Dr. Doe and his family actually exist? I say this because, as a master degreed biologist I cannot imagine a biologist working with DNA claiming he didn’t realize that that you could find unexpected family. One of the things biologists do is work with animals to prevent inbreeding. Another is looking for medical trends in families that are associated with genetically inherited diseases. There are probably one hundred other typical biologist activities that involve determining genetic relationships. Even if this Doe person didn’t do this himself, we all hear about these efforts when we’re in school and any biologist worth their salt would read these things keeping up on his field. If this were a high quality magazine, I would assume that the publisher verified the existence and the story of the people involved but this is an internet rag on the level of the Enquirer – which has been known to make stuff up.

  16. Thx for another great write up Roberta, I concur and have opted out of the medical use by 23andme for all of my kits as this time. Will consider changing that back later after we see what happens. We all know the company started for medical research purposes and most of us realize $$ talks so you are likely correct that this would be the best way to ‘send a message’ to the company. Let’s see how many do and if they listen to their customers better than some other companies do! I also sent a message outlying my views to the email address you posted for that. Thx for sharing–you do the genetic genealogy community a huge service with your posts! 🙂

    • My response to my email..looks canned. Hopefully someone really does look at it. 🙂
      “Clark, Sep 18 10:40 AM:

      Hello Lisa,

      We appreciate your feedback and we will keep it in mind as we work to improve the 23andMe service.

      Best regards,

      The 23andMe Team”

  17. Bravo!

    I have to believe that most of us realize when we send off our DNA, there is the possibility we may find out something we would rather not know.

    We swallow our fear with the understanding that what we really want is the truth, whatever that truth may be.

    You took a balanced view of the results, reminding Dr. Doe that he gave his mother the gift of truth. How many women get the evidence in hand? His father surely knew.

    Dr. Doe may not have liked the outcome. What child likes to see his parents get divorced? Even if that child is now an adult. The problem was there before the test results revealed it.

  18. Roberta, You may or not remember me as one of Aleda Bunch’s siblings. I responded to the virtual funeral. As an update we did in fact gather as a family this past July one day after her birthday at a beautiful outdoor space Brookgreen Gardens SC for a life celebration. I have been reading your blog for sometime and enjoyed it. I appreciate the advocacy for demonstrating to 23&me my support for your issue. However I find myself in a jungle not knowing a simple way to manage our family clout. I will forward a copy of this to one of the cousins privy to Aleda’s account logins and beg her to do it on our behalf. Thank you

    Valerie Bunch Hollinger

    Help, Thanks, Wow! The three essential prayers by Anne LaMott


  19. Roberta,
    Thank you for your willingness to go the extra mile. Your candor and personal experience certainly give you additional insight that some obviously lack. It is discouraging that so-called journalists want to make headlines rather than dig for the real truth. Good on you for calling them on it. As always keep up the good work!
    Kelly Wheaton

  20. Another great article. Most of us have confronted the NPE, but it’s usually in the past. One in my Y-DNA Group actually found his biological father and now understands why his Y-DNA matches have surnames different from his! Most on my maternal side were ok when I got enough cousins tested to pin point a NPE for my 3g-grandpa, but one 4th cousin was outraged.

    It was brave of you to share your personal experiences, but it helped make your point. I keep telling people to be prepared for anything when doing DNA testing.

  21. As someone once said, be careful what you go looking for. I had FOUR jerks in my family history and we didn’t need DNA to prove anything. All four men walked out on young wives with kids to raise. We knew the truth but genealogy proved it. At least we now know what happened to three of them.

  22. Thank you for taking the time to write this article. I’ve opted out of research in support. I hope 23andMe will do the right thing.

  23. Both of my parents are deceased and previously divorced. My Dad was a WWII veteran. My exhusband is on wife 3 and was in the Navy (Viet Nam). it would not surprise me to find unexpected relatives. And i would not disclose information that feel might cause serious issues.

  24. I read a little more of the article. I hope he really didn’t really blame 23 and me for spilling the beans. He is the one that spilled the beans. And should take responsibility for his own actions.

  25. The story began for me with a listing in my weekly NEHGS newsletter. This blog is a follow-up to that listing and I appreciate all the answers to Dr. Doe’s very strange conclusions and criticisms.
    My choice for DNA testing was and still is FTDNA where we are pursuing terminal SNP’s for the I2b1 haplogroup. There are no problems of which I am aware at FTDNA that compare to those mentioned at 23andme. I am not a sales person for nor do I have a financial interest in FTDNA.

  26. Pingback: Hide and Seek at 23andMe, DNA Relatives Consent, Opt-In, Opt-Out and Close Relatives | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  27. Pingback: DNAeXplain Archives – General Information Articles | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  28. you have such a brilliant mind that I envy you. I am glad we share the Muncy lineage. And, I really enjoy your articles.

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