Can an eighty-four-year-old court case can be proven incorrect with simple DNA matches? Yes! Here's how I did it... When researching someone's family history, I often find DNA matches on their list that don't seem to belong there. Maybe they are an adopted person, or they just don't know who their real family is. This happens quite often, and it can snowball into a series of matches who all have family secrets. In this case, I was helping a woman named Susan look for an unknown relative. A woman named Cynthia didn't seem to fit with her family. I discovered Cynthia's grandfather was not who she thought he was. In doing so, I found a match on Cynthia's list who also didn't know his family. His name was Joel and he was adopted. Both Joel and Cynthia had a really strong match to another guy named Joseph. His relationship made no sense either. I was able to figure out that Cynthia and Joel both had the same grandfather (by two different women). He was a man named Admiral Haag from Niagara Falls, New York. "Admiral" was not a military rank. That was his actual first name, although he did later join the Navy.
The other DNA match, Joseph, is an older man and was adopted as well. Joseph said he knew who his bio parents were. There was a court case from 1939 involving his birth parents. He had a tree made showing his bio parents as Ann Sardella and Sam Chirumblo. This had me quite curious because neither of those parents matched up with Cynthia or Joel. I was actually able to find the full transcripts from the court case he mentioned. I could not believe what I was reading. What a load of crap! Back then, there was no DNA testing of course, so if a woman said someone was the father of her child, then the court pretty much had to agree with her. You could do a blood test, but it's not like DNA. No two people have the same DNA, but many people have the same blood type. Here's how it all played out. The full transcript is over forty pages long and filled with complete nonsense about who did what and when. I can sum it up with just a few pages. I'll include important parts from actual testimony of the case.
Ann claimed that her and a girlfriend met Sam and his friend on a street in Niagara Falls, NY in early May, 1939. They all went for a drive in his car. She says she went out with him again the next night and that's when she got pregnant. A doctor confirmed she did get pregnant sometime in May. Sam however, claimed he never even met Ann until July. He also claimed they never had intercourse. Ann said she never had intercourse with anyone else except Sam. She even said she never went on a date with a boy before Sam. So, it's really a matter of, who's the court going to believe. It doesn't really matter who's telling the truth because it couldn't be proven in 1939. It's all about who the judge thinks is more convincing. Well, after eighty-four years, thanks to DNA, we can now find out the truth...
Well, that's about it. Ann says Sam did it. Sam says he didn't. Who's the court going to believe? Ann of course. Notice she says he forced her the second time. Interesting that this wasn't a rape case. Sam could have ended up in prison. It was all about Ann wanting money for the medical bills, and wanting an excuse to avoid the wrath of her strict father. The court agreed with her and Sam was forced to pay. Thanks to DNA, after eighty-four years, I can very easily prove SAM CHIRUMBLO IS NOT THE FATHER! Ann made the entire thing up. The real father can only be one man, the guy I mentioned at the beginning, ADMIRAL HAAG! This isn't even questionable. The DNA matches are very clear, and Joseph has no Chirumblo DNA at all. So why was Sam targeted by Ann? It's mentioned in the testimony that Sam had a steady job for years as a carpenter. He had the money to pay the bills. Perhaps Ann didn't even know Admiral's name or how to contact him or didn't think he'd cooperate. We can't say for sure what really happened between Ann and Admiral, but we can say for sure, Sam is NOT the father, Admiral is.
Here's an added twist that may or may not have something to do with this. Sam Chirumblo knew the Haag family. Admiral had a brother named Marlin who married a woman named Jeanne. Sam married Jeanne's sister many years later. Whether or not Sam was friends with Admiral in 1939 is unknown, but it's certainly possible. And one more piece of useful information... If there was any question about mistaken identity here, that's not really possible either. Right after all this occurred, World War II started. The men had to take physicals and fill out draft cards. I have a description of both Admiral and Sam in 1940. Their draft cards are available on Ancestry.com. Sam was 5'5" 160lbs (short and chubby). Admiral was 5'10" 150lbs (tall and thin). I'm quite sure she didn't mix them up. Ann, you owe Sam $76.29, not to mention all the child support payments he had to pay for sixteen years.
My next story involves a more serious criminal court trial.