Ancestry DNA Tests Don’t Always Find What We Expect

Advances in DNA testing in recent years has made tracing your family tree accessible to the masses, prompting millions to go down the route of discovering their lineage.

But what people find is not always welcome. The results of genetic tests are life-changing, but in some cases people are left wishing they’d remained in blissful ignorance.

Ancestry DNA tests help people to discover their genealogy by taking just a small amount of the subject’s DNA, with some of the best ancestry dna test sites claiming that they can reveal a person’s family tree and ancestral homeland for a fee.

The most popular is the aptly-named AncestryDNA itself, from whom you can currently order a kit online for $79. All you have to do is spit into a tube, send it back for testing and analysis and you’ll receive your results in 6-8 weeks. Your results are also kept indefinitely, so at any time you can log on to view and update your family tree.

It can perhaps be one of life’s most rewarding experiences, providing enormous perspective, but finding out everything about your family’s past means finding out about the bad stuff too. And the extreme’s of that are what people aren’t prepared for.

Most people who attempt to trace their genealogy are open-minded and curious, whilst also incredibly excited that science and technology can now give them the tools to unpick their family tree.

But excitement can often mean viewing certain things through rose-tinted glasses. Going through the intimate and very personal task of tracking your family tree is a warts and all experience and has to be treated as such.

We’ve all seen the TV shows that unveil shocking things about celebrities past and it can do the same for you.

There are people who find out that their ancestors were adopted, or that someone was conceived as the result of a sperm donor, or maybe that they were the result of an illicit affair.

There are occasions when people discover that a family member in the not too distant past was a very unsavoury character, a serious criminal perhaps.

Of course in many cases it can unveil traits which could well be passed down generations, for example alcoholism or other forms of addiction. Perhaps even an illness or disease that is hereditary. In this case it can be even lifesaving to review your family tree.

There have been a number of cases where this has happened, allowing family members to get checked early and prevent and manage what could eventually be passed down.

That’s an extreme case though. A much more common issue for people from smaller families is that they get introduced to cousins they never knew they had and then don’t quite know how to deal with it.

On the other side of the coin, not everyone wants to bring up the past and have their world turned upside down either. Imagine a biological father who is completely unaware that a one night stand more than 20 years ago resulted in a pregnancy.

Imagine being the sperm donor who had expected anonymity and had been used to it for decades, starting a new family in later life only to have someone claiming to be their offspring turning up at the door.

Ultimately though it’s all part of your history and only adds to your story and heritage. For all the bad, there will also be good and for all the heartbreak, there will be plenty of pride over what your family has achieved.

It’s perhaps not for the faint hearted but if your curious or have a little insight into your family history already, then it could well be worth going full steam ahead.

Tracing your ancestry can be a marvelous journey, but you should be prepared to find absolutely anything!

Just remember, you may not like every discovery that you make.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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