Who's Your Real Daddy - Find out at nelsonDNA.com May 10, 2024

I've been wanting to write about this for a while now, and I think I've collected enough data to give people an idea of how disturbing this really is.  I continue to be amazed by the number of people who don't know who their real father is.  Wait, it's gets more interesting than that even.  I'm not talking about adopted people, or people who were never told who their father is.  I'm talking about people who spent their entire life thinking their father was someone, but DNA revealed he was someone entirely different.

Unfortunately, I've lost count of how many people I've worked with and how many incorrect fathers I've found.  Most of the people I work with were adopted, and there are times I'll find several birth parents in a week, and sometimes several in a day.  So, there have been hundreds of families, but again, the adopted people aren't the ones I'm talking about.  I can give you a conservative estimate of some numbers...

If I were to guess at the number of incorrect fathers I've found, it would have to be more than twenty.  Maybe a lot more.  If I were to guess at the number of families I've worked with, I'd have to guess around four-hundred.  Remember, those twenty plus people were not adopted and had no clue their father was incorrect.  This means, I am discovering that more than five percent of people don't know who their real father is.  I am wondering, is that number scalable?  For example, if I were to view data from four-thousand families, would I find two-hundred incorrect fathers?  How about forty-thousand families?  Would there really be two-thousand incorrect fathers?  Seems crazy doesn't it?  The scary thing is, I think that percentage is actually higher.  Maybe even ten percent.  Let's look at some more numbers.

The odds of a DNA mystery are pretty high.

Years ago, families were much larger.  Chances are your grandparents had many siblings.  Mine had about 8 siblings each.  That creates an enormous amount of cousins, aunts and uncles.  This increases the probability that there could be some family secret and an incorrect parent somewhere in your family.  If you come from a fairly large family, what are the odds that you'll find something unusual if you were to submit DNA to a genealogy site?  I am finding that nearly ALL the DNA match lists I look at contain something amiss.  That may be because I mostly deal with people who don't know their families or already expect there to be problems.  I will say this though...  If you submit DNA and think everything is perfect in your family and don't expect to find anything unusual, I can conservatively say there will be at least a FIFTY PERCENT chance I can find something suspicious on your DNA match list.  It might not involve your immediate family, but somewhere down the line there will likely be a DNA match who will be out of place.

In my family alone, I discovered two adopted people no one even heard of.  One was a close relative, one was more distant.  I also have a DNA match I'm trying to make contact with.  His tree shows an entirely Polish family, yet he has no Polish ethnicity on his chart (nor do I) and he is matching to the English side of my family.  I also found something much crazier than all that, but I won't get into it here.

So, how does all this weirdness even get discovered?  I suggest reading a previous post I wrote called Eight Hundred Centimorgans.  I continue to see people with strong DNA matches, and they never bother to say "Hey! Who are you?"  Those unknown big matches usually result in someone finding out their father isn't who they thought.  Or, they might reveal who their unknown father is.  Don't ignore those big matches.  Even the small matches (over 100cM) are worth looking at if they have a big family tree made and nothing matches your tree.  In that case, you might find an incorrect great-grandparent or something like that.  I had an incorrect father incident happen recently, which is why I finally decided to write this.  I'll tell you that story...

Another story about unknown DNA matches.

I was helping a guy named Bill, born 1948.  His father, James, and his mother, Carol, divorced when he was very young.  Bill only knew his step-father.  He had heard rumors that his bio father was adopted. After doing DNA, he asked me to help find his bio father's family.  After looking at his DNA match list, there were no connections to James' family, so it was totally possible he really was adopted.  To make a long story short, after some DNA analysis, I discovered James wasn't Bill's father at all.  His step-father wasn't his father either.  It was an entirely different man.  There's no doubt about it.  There are DNA matches over one-thousand centimorgans and everything is very clear.  I had it all figured out in less than an hour.  In addition to this, there's another DNA match that's equally as large.  I chatted with some family members and no one knows who she is.  Yet, no one bothered to ask her.  It's very likely Bill's real father had another secret child.  What will her situation be?  Is she adopted, or will we find out she also has no idea who her real father is?

Look for more posts coming soon.

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