23 and Me

I’m sure many of you have heard of DNA tests to find family members.  The most popular ones might be 23 and Me or through Ancestry.

Kramer and I both have family that has done the test and it has changed their lives.  Forgive me for being a little vague as I write about this but these stories are theirs to tell and I haven’t gotten permission to tell them.

We had one relative that never knew her dad.  She always longed to know more about him.  She took a 23 and Me test and surprisingly she found first a relative and that led her to find her dad.  It turns out her birth Dad never knew about her at all.  Her Dad has become a big part of her life now and she’s discovered that even though she grew up as an only child, she has siblings.

We have another relative that was adopted at birth.  After taking a test she found out that she was likely the child of one of a set of brothers.  After contacting them she found her birth Dad.  She has a wonderful relationship with them now and is so glad she found them.

Another relative we know bought a kit for her mom as a present for Christmas.  Her mom knew she was adopted at birth.  She knew what hospital she was born at but that’s about all she knew.  She grew up as an only child losing her parents at a young age.  She didn’t have a lot of cousins and lived a life without family.  She always longed to know more.  Who were her birth parents?  Did she have more siblings?

After the results were in she found she has MANY siblings…I don’t remember, 10 maybe.  She has gone on to have many great family celebration days with them.  I learned on her birthday many of her newfound siblings called and wished her a happy birthday.  What a difference for so long she thought she was alone.

In turn, the daughter has found a host of new cousins and she’s been having a great time getting to know them.

I know of a mom who gave her children away to be adopted and her children found her.  That has ended happily too.

So far, every story I’ve heard has had a happy ending.  I’m so happy for all of them.

That got me thinking…we have a mystery in our family.  The mystery is from my mom’s side of the family and I’m not ready to share it yet as again, it’s not my story…but by taking the test, I might help someone else find the answer to the mystery and me, I want to know the answer and my time to find the answer is ticking.  We’re not getting any younger and technology is making it possible so a pair of us decided to just do it.

I took a 23 and Me test last week.  I bought one for me and… another for my family member.  I bought them through Amazon.  You can find a link HERE.

Forgive all the threads on my shirt.

Kalissa came over to my house and she registered the kit for me.  It was really easy and it is totally non-invasive.

Kalissa told me I needed to take a picture and document taking the test.  So in true Kalissa fashion, she snapped LOTS of pictures.   I couldn’t decide which I like the best.

It’s funny as I’ve never really thought I looked like my mom until these pictures.  It might be because my hair was in a bun and she always wore her’s in a bun.

Kelli and Kalissa were both here as I was providing my sample.  See the tube in my hand.  All you have to do is spit in the tube.  When I say to spit, I mean spit a lot.  I am not a spitter and spit makes me gag so the girls had a good laugh while I gagged my way through the test.

I wish my mom were living.  She wanted the answer to test her whole life.  This one is for you Mom!!

This will be my face when I finally know the answer!!

Whatever the results make no difference to me.  My family is my family.  Bood family or not blood family truly is irrelevant to me.  I do just want to know.  We all do.  It’s time.

Once the questions are answered and everyone feels comfortable with the results, I might have a story to tell.  I might not.  I want everyone to feel comfortable with the telling.

In the meantime…I’m waiting for the results.  I hope it doesn’t take too long.  Has anyone does this?  How long does it take?

24 thoughts on “23 and Me”

  1. Gayla Livengood

    I did the test with ancestry.com and I was able to find my father’s family. He died when I was 2 and my mom died when I was 16. I discovered that I had 2 half brothers but both were deceased but sadly both were deceased. I hope your family mystery gets solved.

  2. I have done the Ancestry one…took about 4-5 weeks… just short of the 6 weeks they promise. The results were quite interesting but not too surprising. Yours seems to be like a mystery/suspense! I’m excited for you to get your results…hope it puts your questions to rest!

  3. It’s been a while since I took mine but it seems like it was 3-4 weeks. It just shows up in your inbox. We learned an unknown fact in our family but it left more questions than answers. Things that make you go Hummmmmm.

  4. My brother-in-law found his brother through Ancestry’s service. Both were adopted into separate families, but it turns out they have the same mom and dad so they are full siblings. They recently met for the first time and it’s like they have never been apart, despite almost 60 years have passed. Best wishes on your journey!

  5. I think I told you the story before – but lots of my family have tested through Ancestry. A little over a year ago, my brother and I tested to see if we could find more about our grandfather (father’s father). When the results came back, we had a surprise. The man on dad’s birth certificate was not his father – and that wasn’t the end. Our father was raised by his Norwegian immigrant grandparents, so we assumed we would be at least 25% Norwegian. NOPE – we are 27% Ashkenazi Jewish. We then started looking at matches – and have found several relatives – but they are a few generations removed from “unknown grandpa”. We loved the info we found, and the new relatives – but I think there will always be a mystery on my father’s side of the family. Dad was killed in a car accident when I was 3 – and my mother really didn’t know about his side of the family. HAPPY TO KNOW I HAVE PATERNAL RELATIVES.

    1. If you are still on ancestry and create a family tree, you will find a lot more! My husband and I both did Ancestry. His family goes back to the Mayflower and his original last name ancestor came over in 1628 on thee Arbella. He was one of the founders of Watertown MA. And through Ancestry we were able to find his marriage certificate in a small town in England and we actually went there and saw the church. You can go as far as you want to go and then hit a dead end. Through my family, my grandmother had a marriage certificate from her grandparents in a town in England. We went there and actually saw the registry in the church where they were married on Dec 24, 1849. The trail was lost but through Ancestry, I was able to document their journey and found their actual burial place in Pennsylvania. They were both illiterate but did well for themselves. It is doable but takes as much time as quilting. We also found some relatives in Pennsylvania from my Dad’s side. One of them discovered that her father was actually her father’s brother. You definitely get surprises sometimes.
      Recently I decided to follow the woman in the family in New England. My husbands family spent their lives in New England so lots to find there. When you start tracing the Wives maiden name, I went back to find a relative for my husband that was part of the Battles of Dunbar and Worcestor in 1650 during the English/Scot civil war and he was brought to American along with many other Scottish prisoners of war and was indentured on a farm in Exeter, NH. Ever hear of L. L. Bean? Part of that family.
      right now I have a dead end in my own family in Delaware. Its a woman and she isn’t telling me anything.
      Its a fascinating story and ongoing.

  6. My husband took the test and another person was given the test as a Christmas present. My husband got a call from him and they found out he was a first cousin. He had been adopted and both adopted parents were dead. He had been looking and thinking about his birth family for years. We put them all in touch and there were many tears.

    He found out his parents had 5 kids already when he was born and they could not afford to take care of them. Back then the welfare office told them he had to be adopted out. My husband’s father, an uncle, could not take him in so he was adopted outside the family. Now he has 5 full siblings who also had been looking for him with big families and they all celebrate together.

  7. We did 23 and me for Christmas last year. I don’t remember exactly how long it took, but it was less than the time they said. 5 family members in total have tested so far. My husband and I have totally different genes so it will be fun to see how much each of our kids got. Only one has done it so far, but others want to. We gave my parents the test since my mom has been doing our family tree for a long time. No life changing surprises there. She’s been very meticulous and accurate. Enjoy the journey!

  8. My sisters and I did 23andme too and we found some distant relatives we didn’t know about. Only sad that since my mother was Japanese there aren’t a lot of people from there that have done the test. We did find one connection through her ancestry but since she is gone and the other Japanese woman is deceased there isn’t more information. We have a bit of a mystery concerning her background so we’d like to know more. Interesting when you compare genes between me and my sisters. We all, of course share the genes from our mother but one sister has more genes from our paternal grandmother and the other sister and I have more shared genes though my paternal grandfather. It was a delight to find distant cousins who had photos of common ancestors and so cool to see how much the one sister looked like our paternal great-grandmother.

  9. My mother was abandoned at 3 with a babysitter her biological mother hired. The babysitter was a teenager. Another family raised her, they were an Ohio Christian family during the depression with three slightly older daughters. When mother was older she hired a private detective who told her grandmother had run off with a Greek restaurant owner. She had a name also. Her foster parents could not adopt her because they did not have rights and had a birth certificate forged to send her through school. They never told mother about her mother or shared any cards or letters that may have come. Fast forward. All involved are dead but my answers to the whereabouts of my grandmother were answered. I found a first cousin. She was raised by our grandmother who had married the Greek and had 4 children, he died in jail. He molested his daughters and beat his wife, my grandmother, who divorced him. My mother was always resentful of her situation but it sounds as if she got the good end of the story. I have narrowed my grandfather down to a family in Ohio. I don’t feel an urgent need to contact them.

  10. We did 23 and me a few years ago and found a new cousin that we did not know about! I think it only took a few weeks to get the results
    Good luck!

  11. I have not done this. My family is traced on both sides. One is traced to 1604 and the other to the 1100s. At least the recent 5 generations lived within 50 km of each other. My brother/SIL adopted all 3 of their children. The oldest sought out her birth parents and found them in less than 6 weeks. It didn’t go well for anyone. She really wasn’t ready and she wreaked havoc in her own immediate family and broke my SILs heart. It has smoothed over but that elephant in the room isn’t disappearing.

    It is VERY important for people to mentally prepared for these discoveries (I am not at all saying you are not).

    May you and your family member find what you are looking for to answer the questions, regardless of whether you ever share it!

    Wishing ya’ll a wonderful Wednesday.

  12. For myself, I don’t have any burning desire to do this. There’s not much family drama (that I know of, so would like to keep it that way). I’m not sure I want people coming out of the woodwork as long lost relatives. Then there’s the question of who owns your genetics – you or the company that processed the test and what will they do with the results besides make it available to other amateur genealogy buffs?

    I hope you find your answers!

    1. I also have no desire to do this, and I definitely have concerns about where all that information ends up and how it could be used against you (for example, insurance saying you have pre-existing conditions). I wish the best for anyone who chooses to go down this road though!

    2. That is a valid point, who can get ahold that genetic info and what could it be used for?

      My HH and I will not do those tests as I foresee a time when life insurance underwriters will use that info to deny our progeny coverage due to family medical history. What I mean is, they could deny you coverage (or charge higher rates) if they can see certain cancers, heart disease, or other diseases such as diabetes in your family history!

      Having worked as a life and health insurance agent, I have seen it happen when people volunteer such information. And seen life insurance claims being denied due to fraudulent omissions when they could prove the insured lied about family history in the application process!

      1. I want to take a test so badly but also have the same concerns about my health and family information for me and my children both. California, my son has said, has some laws about how such information can or can’t be used for insurance depending on what information you request, (just family history Versus a full genetic profile to include genes and predispositions for specific diseases that affect your health). Then once you personally possess the medical genetic information, and depending on which state you reside, how do you honestly answer the life/health/disability insurance questions at application? This is a huge concern, and if not now, it will be in the future for the insurance industry and for applicants! It’s fun, but please be mindful of the perils! (I was formerly a financial planner so also very concerned for people doing these tests and how it’ll effect eligibility and rates down the road.) my suggestion for anyone reading the comments is to know the laws in your state and how it will effect you. Jo, I wish for you and your family the answers you’re seeking! Having the puzzle pieces can help people feel whole and I fully appreciate the need for that. Just be careful what you’re asking for and the possible unintended consequences of getting the extra genetic profile. Looking forward to the next chapter in your story! Hugs to all of you that are searching out family!

  13. My sister did Ancestry or 23 and me. My dad was adopted. My sister found a picture of my dad’s birth mother. My dad and his parents are all dead. She found a first cousin but he never responded to her. I figure for me, I don’t care to find any long lost relatives. A friend did and then they took advantage of her. It was kind of interesting to find out what countries our ancestors come from though.

  14. I have tested everywhere because I want to identify the origins of my mystery great-grandma born 1862 in Michigan.
    Once your results are in you can transfer them to myheritage.com and Family Tree DNA for free. That will give you two more places to find your answers.
    And no, I still have not identified family for my great-grandma, other than she was probably of French Canadian descent.
    Maybe we will be distant cousins!

  15. Jo, I know of several ancestry searchs that haven’t ended happily. I know a woman who had a baby as the result of a brutal rape. She relinquished at birth to a promised closed adoption (where neither she nor the waiting family were known to each other).

    No one in her own family was aware of the rape, pregnancy, nor adoption. At least not until a relative reviewed an excited phone call from an adult claiming to be the adoptee.

    This was perplexing to the relative and agonizing to my friend, who had spent her life trying to forget about her ordeal.

    Sometimes “closed” is closed for a good reason and should be respected.

    1. Susan the Farm Quilter

      Thank you for this. I’m adopted and all adoptions at the time were closed. I do know my birth mother’s maiden name but that is all. My mom died in 2011 and my dad in 2020, so I have been thinking about finding my birth mother. I don’t want/need a relationship with her but I would like to know medical information for my kids and grands, but it’s not essential. So far as I know, she has never looked for me, so I think I’ll leave her to her anonymity, just because of what you said. I have had a wonderful life and I appreciate my parents so very much.

  16. My brother and his first wife adopted a son and then found out she was about 4 weeks pregnant so those two were eight months apart. The son did a DNA test a few years ago and found a whole other family in South Dakota (he lives in San Diego). It really upset my brother for quite some time as the son was so into his biological family that he kinda forgot about the parents who raised him. I think it’s calmed down some and they are so far away. My older sister (who passed in 2019) never told her daughter that she has a full biological sister that was given up for adoption (she was the first born). I have been torn for quite some time about telling her and had hoped her mom would’ve told her before she died. But I don’t think it’s my place to stir up that hornet’s nest.

  17. Sandra Davidson

    Hi Jo my daughter just gave me Ancestry for my birthday on October 1 on which I was 79. I am really excited to see what I get. My daughter just got hers done in January and it was interesting. I never really new my Dad he left or my mom kicked him to the door when I was two ,long story so it will be interesting to find out where his parents were from. Good luck from a friend up in Canada

  18. We all knew that our great grandfather had a previous marriage. We were told he divorced his first wife when he caught her smoking behind the barn! What we didn’t know was that marriage produced a son. I am sure my Papa (grandfather) never knew of his half brother. My (maternal) aunt found that son’s daughter via ancestry.com’s test. When they found each other, my aunt shared the only thing we knew about her grandmother, being divorced for smoking. This distant cousin thought the story hilarious and said her grandmother was a spitfire and was sure smoking wasn’t the only thing being done behind the barn !

    My father (now deceased) did the test through ancestry.com and a distant cousin contacted me. We exchanged emails and some family photos. It was fun to see family resemblances!

  19. Not through a DNA test but through my own research, I longed to find out more about my grandfather who was never a part of my father’s life. Turned out he started another family and my dad has a half-sister who’s 18 months younger and another half-sister four years older than I am. I made contact with the oldest sister who assumed that I wanted something from her and doubted my story even though she agreed that the picture of my grandfather was indeed her father. My dad met her and she wasn’t the most welcoming to him either so we decided that it was her loss and have made no contact since. The younger sister was from yet another relationship and we’ve made no effort to contact her. Unfortunately my grandfather was an abusive alcoholic and I now understand why my grandmother chose to struggle and raise a child on her own than to stay in that relationship. A friend suggested that a DNA test would provide proof to my aunt but honestly it really wouldn’t matter. Sad as I think her daughter and I had a lot in common and I was looking forward to knowing my cousins.

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