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The Kincaid DNA Project Reveals Ethical Dilemma of Paternity Test

In the Clan Kincaid DNA Project, 140 people with the surname Kincaid (or variations thereof) have taken DNA test to find their ancestors and trace their family tree.

But among the cool stuff (like finding out war heroes and survivors of the Irish potato famine as their ancestors), they've also opened the Pandora box of lies and secrets:

They have also stumbled upon bastards, liars and two-timers.

Much of it is ancient history, long-dead ancestors whose dalliances are part of the intrigue of amateur genealogy. But sometimes the findings strike closer to home.

In one case, two brothers were surprised to discover they had different fathers. They confronted their elderly mother, who denied the most obvious possibilities -- that she had been unfaithful to her husband, the man they had always known as Dad, or that one son was adopted.

"It has been traumatic for some to discover their true lineage through the DNA tests," said Don Kincaid, a 76-year-old Texan who oversees the Kincaid surname project and witnessed the brothers' ordeal.

As genetic testing becomes more widespread for medical information, forensics and ancestral research, more people are accidentally uncovering family secrets. Among the most painful are so-called "non-paternity events," cases in which Dad turns out to be someone else.

Alan Zarembo of the Los Angeles Times has the story: Link


The same thing happened when we found some relatives soon after the Ellis Island database was put online a few years back. We found some relatives in the EU and contacted them and everyone was excited to know about each other at first but then we discovered that our shared grandfather was a real bastard and everyone thought we should leave well enough alone... lol...
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This sort of delving hold no upside and has disastrous downsides. Such prurient curiosity should not be indulged. (And, yes, I feel the same way about genealogy.)
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Something similar happened in Birmingham in, IIRC, the 50s. An anonymous blood group survey showed that approximately 20% of children /couldn't/ be related to their supposed fathers - of course, how many of the rest weren't either wasn't clear.

The survey results were suppressed for at least 30 years.
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Far more than I can afford, but I would love to do this. Someone once said that if you have a skeleton in your closet, you should let it out to dance.
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It happens in every family. One cousin in the stepfamily and one in my father's family, both found a high number of six- and seven-month pregnancies recorded for first babies.

It's been like this since the beginning; it will be like this to the end. It's just getting harder to hide it.
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I've been researching my family history for quite some time now and I find it all the more interesting when I happen to dig up something a bit on the sordid side. No family is perfect, and sometimes, those imperfections make the family all the more colorful and likable.
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Remember, there are lots of valid reasons for problems like these. Unknown adoptions and children being raised by others after the death of their parents are just two possibilities. There's also the possibility of rape. So don't be too hard on your ancestors.
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