My Whole Life's A Lie: Ancestry Tests That Left People In Absolute Shock

September 26, 2023 | Miles Brucker

My Whole Life's A Lie: Ancestry Tests That Left People In Absolute Shock

We all come from somewhere, and there is a story behind how each one of us came to be. Knowing the stories of our origins can help give us a sense of identity and pride. But what happens when we suddenly find out that our actual origin stories are completely different than what we thought they were? Here are 50 incredible stories about the surprises that people learned of their own origins after taking an ancestry test.

1. The Gift That Keeps On Giving

This story happened to a friend of mine, who is a 34-year-old woman. One year for Christmas, she decided to get her twin sister and parents a DNA testing kit as a present. When her parents opened the gift, they both awkwardly looked at each other and said, “Oh, thanks". They quickly tried to move on to the other presents.

My friend was slightly confused but she just shrugged it off it. Later on, they went for their customary Christmas Day walk. Her mom and sister were walking on ahead while she walked behind with her dad. While they were walking, out of nowhere, her dad broke down in tears. He spilled the beans! Turns out that both she and her “twin” sister were adopted!

The mother looked back and started crying. She couldn’t believe that her husband told her daughter about this without the two of them talking about it first. They had been planning to keep it a secret from them forever. She had never suspected that she or her sister were adopted because they both look a lot like their parents. They are also very short, as are their parents.


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2. Living Proof Of Someone Else’s Point

I  always knew that I was adopted. My parents told me that I came from a family that already had all of the kids that they’d wanted. They lived several towns over. My birth came to them as a surprise. Three years ago, my wife decided to take some DNA tests and I figured, what the heck? Maybe I'm part Zulu warrior! That'd be cool.

When the test results came back, my entire life changed. I found out that I had a first cousin. They had listed a public email, so I reached out and started comparing notes. Little did I know that I was in for quite a surprise. First, I was not born into a traditional nuclear family. Instead, my biological mom was single. Second, I was not a late addition—I had four sisters and one brother.

I was in fact the baby, but only by a couple of years. Third, most i(f not all) of them lived very close by. Finally, none of them even knew that I was alive! My biological mom had already passed by this point, so I did not have the opportunity to meet her. As it turned out, she had kept the pregnancy a total secret from everybody else.

Before she passed, she had told one of my biological sisters that she’d had a baby a long time ago and that she had put the baby up for adoption. She told nobody else. When my sister finally told the rest of the family, they didn't believe her! So, when I finally looked them up, she was like: "See! All those years! I told you so! We have a baby brother!"

It was an amazing experience. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I sent that DNA test off.

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3. A Full Investigation

My wife and I both took the 23andMe ancestry test a few years ago. One of her matches came back with 23% in common, which is very high. She messaged the guy and they started talking. He was about ten years older than her. Apparently, he was adopted and he didn't really know much about his biological origins.

He appeared to be a long-lost older brother of my wife or something along those lines. Based on his age, his mom would have been fourteen when she had him. But her mom had never said anything about it, so we eventually concluded that there were only two possible options: either her mom had gotten knocked up young and didn’t tell anyone, or her grandma had a secret love child. When we found out the truth, our jaws dropped.

So she asked her youngest uncle if he knew anything about it. He told her that when he was a kid, he remembered his sister going away for a few months because she was "sick" and the family just pretended that it never happened when she got back. He also said that before his mom passed, i.e. my wife's grandmother, she told him all about it.

So my wife now has a "new" brother, a "new" sister-in-law, and a bunch of nieces and nephews.

When I tell this story, several people ask if my mother-in-law is still around and whether we ever brought it up to her. Well, she is still around, but my wife does not exactly have the best relationship in the world with her.

My wife wanted to make sure she had all the information fully confirmed before she even approached her mother about this. In my wife's words, her mom "is a few crayons short of a full pack". But once we knew the whole story anyway, they did talk about it, and after trying to change the subject several times, her mom finally admitted to what we had already figured out.

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4. What Do You Want Me To Do, Draw You A Picture?

My aunt discovered that her mother cheated on her father and that she was a product of that affair. That meant she was actually only half-siblings with her four siblings. The rub was that my aunt’s husband was married before he married her, and that woman is the daughter of the man involved in the affair.

No one knew this, but my uncle had gotten divorced and then unwittingly married his ex-wife’s half-sister. I guess he has a type!

In case this is a bit confusing, let’s put it this way. Consider my aunt "A," her mom (my grandmother) "G," her dad "GF," my aunt's husband "U," and my uncle's ex "X". A took a DNA test and found out that G had cheated on GF with another man. A has four siblings that she always thought were 100% blood-related to her.

But it turned out they were all only half-siblings. The big surprise was that the man that G had the affair with was also the father of X. A knew X growing up and never liked her. X and U were married but got divorced. Now, years later, A found out that this woman who she did not like and used to be married to her husband is actually her half-sister because of the affair.

So U seems to have a type since he unknowingly married two women who were half-sisters.

I hope everyone can follow this! It's complicated but worth the effort to try and understand!

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5. To Tell The Truth

So, I did a health DNA test about 18 months ago because I wanted to see if I had the mammary cancer gene, as there are several incidences of the illness on both sides of my family. I got my results and became very confused. They claimed that I had no Italian ancestry, despite my father's grandma literally coming over from Sicily in 1920.

It took me a few minutes to realize what that actually meant. My parents have been together since my mother was 14—I was born when she was 17, and then my father joined the army and married my mother. I called my mom and she literally just said, "That's interesting". Then, she asked me not to talk to my father about it and promised she would explain everything the next time I visited.

She did not—instead, she just refused to let me talk about it. Honestly, I was just shaken up by the experience. I did NOT see it coming. It was never even presented as a possibility to me. My sister ended up doing a DNA test as well, and it showed that we were only half siblings. I ceased all contact with my mother four months ago, due to this incident and several others.

I haven't yet told my father about what I have discovered, but I realize that at some point the truth is going to come out. I don’t want to break his heart like that, but I have no idea how to prevent him from finding out. My sister matched with some of my father’s relatives while I did not, so if anyone happens to go check that out, they're gonna be asking questions…

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6. Keeping The Family Tradition Alive

When I took an ancestry DNA test, I found out I actually have a different biological father than the one who raised me. My dad also took a DNA test at the same time that I did and he found out that his father of 52 years was not his biological father either. As it turns out, I come from a line of folks who didn’t know who their birth fathers really were…

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7. The Little Black Book Never Lies

A woman over in Chicago decided after many years of stalling to finally try and find out who her real parents were. She was getting close to sixty years old, and she realized that there may not be much time left to find her father. So, through the magic of ancestry tests, she was eventually matched up and connected with my grandfather.

She reached out to him and told him who her mother was. He didn't recognize the name but dug up his little black book. Lo and behold, there she was! So now, out of nowhere, I've got a new aunt!

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8. Plot Twist

My wife is adopted. One day, she decided to track down her biological mom. You’d think that would be the end of the story, right? Nope! After getting to know her biological mom, she did some more tests and found out something very interesting. Someone had matched with her and asked if she knew such and such a name. This led to her finding out that her biological mom's husband was not her biological dad.

Her biological dad was actually her biological mom’s old boss. Oops! That’s awkward!

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9. I’ve Got Some Bad News...

A friend of mine once discovered that her father was not really her biological father. It turns out that her mom had had an affair with someone back in the day, and my friend’s existence had been the surprise result. It tore her family apart when she found out. Her "father" did not have any idea that he was not really her biological father. My friend was 45 years old when she made this discovery.

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10. Going Dutch, Or Not...

All of the members of my ex-husband's family were very proud of their Dutch heritage. They even claimed to be one of the founding families of the historically Dutch city of Holland, Michigan. But when he took a DNA test, he was in for the shock of his life. His ancestry results didn't show any Dutch ancestry whatsoever. Instead, he had primarily English and Irish ancestry.

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11. Keep Your Friends Close, But Your Fathers Closer

Thanks to an ancestry test, I recently found out that the dad that I’ve always known is not actually my biological father. As it turns out, the family friend that I grew up calling “grandpa” is actually my real biological father. I did not see that coming. Oh yeah, and he was also my mom’s bariatric surgeon. That was weird to learn about, man.

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12. Just Doing A Favor For A Friend

My male cousin once did an ancestry test and found out about a female cousin that we did not even know about. He reached out to her and, apparently, our deceased uncle was good friends with her mother back in the day. It turns out, her mom had wanted a baby, so my uncle got her pregnant as a favor; simply as a sperm donor.

This female cousin lived just a few blocks away from my grandmother this whole time. She had even met her a few times while she went around the neighborhood selling Girl Scout cookies. My grandmother had no idea that she was buying cookies from someone who could have almost been her granddaughter under slightly different circumstances.

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13. Back After A Long Hiatus

I had an old friend who never knew who his father was. His mom had had a weekend fling that got her pregnant back in college, and she never contacted the guy after. When we were all grown up, my friend’s wife and I helped him use to try and track his father down. After a little bit of searching and waiting, we eventually found his identity.

So my friend reached out to him, and the guy was obviously surprised. But he still flew all the way across the country to meet him once he found out. They have a great relationship now. The dad even attended my friend’s wedding. They also now try to get their families together at least a couple of times a year or so. It’s actually a pretty cool story.

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14. Father Doesn’t Always Know Best

Here’s something you don’t hear every day: back when I was growing up, my dad always used to accuse my mom of sleeping around with other guys. He never trusted her and claimed that I nor any of my siblings were his kids. Welp, thanks to the ancestry test that I recently took, we now know that all three of us actually are our father’s kids!

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15. Half As Much

I did an ancestry test and found about the existence of a half-sister that none of my siblings or my mother knew about. Apparently, my dad had an affair fifty years ago. He's deceased now. For us, it wasn't really a big surprise, as we already had a half-sister from another affair. But for the newly discovered sister, this answered a lot of questions and gave her some much-needed closure.

We all met up a few times, and it was pleasant.

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16. A Huge Web Of Lies And Confusion

I am the family secret. My biological family discovered that their brother, cousin, son, and his wife had three children and gave them all up for adoption. They discovered all of this after matching with me through a DNA test. They were shocked, to say the least; but we're all pretty close now. Here are some of the details of how it all went down.

Back in 1994, my unmarried birth parents had my oldest brother. They were in communication with the adoption agency, Catholic Charities, throughout the entire pregnancy and selected my parents to adopt him via paper files. It was a closed adoption. Three years later, in 1997, I was born. My birth mother signed a temporary custody agreement with Catholic Charities and ran off to the United Kingdom for three months, before coming back and signing the rest of the paperwork. She asked to have me live with the same family who had already adopted my older brother. It was also a closed adoption.

Then, in 1999, my parents received a call from Catholic Charities, saying my birth father had passed and that my birth mother had since birthed another kid with their best friend who was there to console her after his passing. My younger brother was adopted by a different family.

My birth mother ran off and never came back to sign the paperwork, so it took about a year for him to get adopted. Fast forward to a few years ago—I took a DNA test and found out that my birth parents were actually married and lived on the west coast. My birth mother had made up the whole story about my younger brother being a half-sibling so that my birth father wouldn't find out.

She didn't want Catholic Charities contacting him and giving away the fact that she’d had a secret affair. My biological father didn't know that there was a third kid until I connected with the extended family via DNA tests. My birth mom was a larger lady who traveled a lot for work and she had a pretty baller job; meanwhile, my birth father also had a great job and frequently traveled for work.

They have been married since 1995.

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17. They’re In The Money

I have an uncle who was put up for adoption. He contacted my grandma and she thought he was going to try and extort her for money, as she’s very well off. Turns out, he’s a multi-millionaire in his own right. They still have limited contact, though my dad has since reached out again and formed a relationship with him.

Apparently, they look exactly alike and have the same personality, which sounds kind of stupid now that I’m writing it out. It's pretty cool since they’re only half-siblings!

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18. A Taste Of Her Own Medicine

When I took an ancestry test, I found out that my deeply racist, backwoods Mississippi family had an African member in it six generations ago. This means that my intensely hateful grandma is about five percent African herself! How can anything be more perfectly ironic? I wonder if this newly discovered information will change her views in any way.

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19. The Less You Know

This didn’t happen to me, but to a close family friend of mine. He did one of those ancestry tests and found out that he has a half-brother that he never knew about. Turns out, his father had an affair a long while back, and that this kid was a product of that affair. It’s nothing too crazy compared to some of the other stories here, but it just goes to show that you never really know everything about the people that you think you know!

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20. Matchmaker, Matchmaker

My husband and I recently took ancestry DNA tests because I am very into genealogical research. I was hoping that it would break down some of the roadblocks that I was experiencing. Shortly after taking the test, my husband got a message from a guy who was a full cousin match. I manage both our tests on my account, so I was the one who first saw the message.

I got on my husband’s case, insisting that he respond to the guy because I hate when people do not respond to me. He was slow with it, so I took over after his first response. It turned out that the guy had been searching for his biological father for more than 35 years, and that matching with my husband was the closest thing that he ever had to an answer.

I told him that I would help him find his father and to give me two days. I had to go through my husband's very large family to try and narrow things down. Fortunately, there were a few cousins that had also done ancestry tests, so I was able to rule a few uncles out. I narrowed it down to two and felt that it was one who was married with his own children, so I had to approach it delicately.

I spoke to his aunt and asked him for the wedding dates of all the members of her family so that I could add the info to my tree. I determined that the conception date was before their marriage, so I was somewhat clear in regards to that because they were on a break at that time. I eventually succeeded at determining who the father was, and all chaos broke loose

I called his aunt and said I had to speak with her about something very delicate. She is an awesome person and I knew that she would understand, but my husband was freaking out and thought that this discovery would end their marriage. I knew that it would not. She was awesome about it and was ready to welcome her new stepson into her family.

When we broke the news to his uncle, he did not remember the mother at all. It was back in the early 1980s during which time he had been in the Navy, so he could have been out partying and forgotten. He was so upset that he never knew he had a son out there because he would have happily raised him.

I gave him his son’s phone number, and now they talk all the time. A few years back, his son and his adoptive parents came to town and we welcomed them to the family. His adoptive mother hugged me and thanked me. She cried and told me that he really needed this because his biological mom had told him of several possible men over the years. When he had reached out to those men, they all rejected him.

Those rejections really hurt him. They made him even more insecure about his origins, so welcoming him to our family was a really nice moment and a happy ending for everyone involved. I say that the universe sends these people to me. But the story didn't end there—the morning after I solved that mystery, I got a message from another guy who was a cousin match for me.

He said he had been searching for his biological parents since he found out he was adopted. Apparently, he was clearing out their papers, more than twenty years ago, and he made the discovery. I said that I would help him, but since I was only a student, I could only do this research during my school breaks.

Well, after lots and lots of research and a few adoption research seminars, I solved that mystery as well and gave this man some peace after many years of searching. He now has a relationship with his nieces and nephew, and it makes me smile. I was also able to give him the family health history that impacts him in a very direct way.

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21. From Sea To Shining Sea

My dad did an ancestry test recently and found out that he has a cousin living in Utah. The family has always lived in Pennsylvania. For the timing to add up, this means that his grandfather must have hooked up with someone prior to coming to the United States in 1918. Either that or his grandmother had a kid and gave it up when she was something like 14 years old.

Either way, that kid would have been my dad's aunt or uncle, which we never knew about.

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22. The Other Half

My ancestry test led me to find out that my grandmother is biracial. She was abandoned shortly after birth at a church by an older white lady, and then adopted by a white farmer with eleven kids. She stopped talking to most of that family as an older teen due to some kind of non-descript unpleasantness. She passed twenty years before I was born, so I never met her.

She looks like Maya Rudolph in the few photos that I’ve seen of her, but the family always insisted that this was because she was part Sicilian. My father and his brother both look more white than not, so I never thought much of it. My father worshipped the ground she walked on and never questioned her ancestry or doubted her claims of being Sicilian. Little did they know they had been believing a lie all this time.

My uncle was always pretty sure that she was part African, and he argued with her a lot about it. Both my dad and my uncle ended up being super active in the Civil Rights movement and still are devoted to anti-racism work nearly sixty years later, which largely stemmed from these discussions with her when they were growing up.

Anyway, after she and my dad got divorced, my mom got me to take a DNA test. This was a few years ago. Based on the results of that test, my grandmother was definitely half-African, and I have no Sicilian or Italian DNA whatsoever. I’ve connected recently with a few of these newly-found, distant cousins over email and Zoom and they happen to be African-Americans.

I am waiting for the pandemic to end to talk so I can talk to my dad about it and introduce him to more family members.

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23. Two For The Price Of One

My biological dad left his family and two daughters in Washington to marry my mom in Los Angeles. When I recently did some family history and ancestry research, I found his first marriage certificate, but no documentation whatsoever about a divorce. I'm pretty sure that means my father was a bigamist…

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24. A New History

I took a DNA test not too long ago and it revealed that I am 25% Ashkenazi Jewish. After eight months of serious digging and research into this, I found out that my grandpa on my father’s side is not my father’s biological father. I have since come into contact with my half-uncle. He’s super nice and I enjoy chatting with him.

I loved learning about my biological grandpa and the rest of the family. We haven’t told all our relatives about this yet, and we don’t necessarily plan on doing so. I have a small family, so it was such a great comfort for me to connect with more “family,” as well as to understand my lineage and the history of my Jewish ancestors. Really a lovely experience all around!

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25. Living A Lie

My mom’s recent DNA test came back with some pretty interesting results. My grandparents’ families both immigrated from Poland during World War II. We don’t know much about their lives in Poland other than the fact that a significant number of them passed. We had also been told that there were Roma roots on my grandpa’s side.

The story goes that they settled in Philadelphia in a poor, mostly Polish neighborhood. Gramma and Grandpa had a rough marriage, but due to both religion and keeping up appearances, they never divorced. No one in the family remembers Gramma ever being pregnant, nor are there any pictures of her pregnancy with my mother.

Additionally, my mom looks like no one in the family. She’s got olive skin and dark, thick, curly hair, whereas everyone else is light-skinned with straight, light or medium hair. She also has blue eyes, whereas both my grandparents had brown eyes. My mom, my sister, and I have theorized that either: 1) Gramma adopted her because she wanted a kid but didn’t want to sleep with her disliked husband…

Or 2) Grandpa knocked up someone else and Gramma took the baby in as her own. We had always leaned towards the latter because there have been some physical traits and medical conditions that my mom and we kids seemingly inherited from our grandpa. So, a few years ago, my mom finally decided to do one of those DNA ancestry tests.

Her main reason for wanting to do so was to explore the Roma roots that she had always heard about. We joked about the “swiped baby” thing, but we didn’t think it would show anything to actually support that, even if it was true. When the results got back, they were more surprising than anything we could have predicted...

It said that she was Baltic and Middle Eastern, with no Polish whatsoever. We were shocked. My mom chalked it up to the test not being super reliable. We haven’t seriously discussed the results and the implications they might present. My mom has said she’d rather never know if she’s biologically her mother’s daughter.

They don’t have a great relationship with one another as it is, so I think it would just create more turmoil between them either way. Personally, I’m convinced the truth is that Grandpa got someone else in the neighborhood pregnant and Gramma took the baby in, both to hide the scandal and so that she could have a kid.

I definitely think there could have been other families out there with similar backgrounds to my grandfather’s, especially during the time of World War II when many refugees were escaping to the United States and lying about their backgrounds out of fear. So my mom, the daughter of Polish immigrants, took a DNA test to explore her Roma roots only to discover that no such roots existed.

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26. More Questions Than Answers

Thanks to DNA tests, my wife no longer knows who her biological father is. We are currently debating whether or not we should approach her mom about this, but that's a delicate relationship balance to disturb. This is due to her mom being very straight-laced and proper about everything. She would not be comfortable having an open discussion about any kind of sensitive issue.

Nevertheless, the discovery has shaken my wife’s entire foundation to its core. She is currently 45 years old. She always believed she came from six generations of Texans. This has been a big part of her identity since she was a little girl and now she just feels lost. I don't know how to help her. She is not really interested in finding out who her real father is yet.

On the other hand, she is also relieved to some extent, because the man she always thought was her father is a weird jerk. I wish her stepdad—as in, her mom’s current husband of forty years—was her real dad. He did legally adopt her many years ago when the guy that she thought was her dad initially abandoned her.

But that doesn’t seem like a real possibility. I feel bad for my wife...she’s just so confused right now. The whole situation is a mess. Personally, I’m gonna take a hard pass on the DNA tests for myself. I'm good with being just 90% messed up. No need to find out some crazy stuff that will take me all the way to 100% on that front!

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27. Well, That’s Awkward...

My ancestry test drastically changed my entire family dynamic. Being a white male raised in the South with some really bigoted family members, all of us were shocked when we discovered that we had four percent African ancestry within us. I can guarantee you that no one in my family saw that coming! It just goes to show you how truly stupid hatred and bigotry are!

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28. Secrets From The Emerald Isle

My cousin took an ancestry test and now goes on and on about how she's almost completely Irish. Our grandpa was German, and I had heard from my mom as a kid that my aunt's biological father was probably her friend's father. I've looked the family up on Facebook, and my aunt looks just that friend. She also has an Irish family name.

My cousin seems to have no idea or understanding of what any of this means. He is just cluelessly bragging about how he just found out he’s Irish. I don't think my aunt really understands either…

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29. How Do You Explain This One?

My entire family just had ancestry tests done and I don’t think any of us realized what we were getting ourselves into. Turns out, my sister is almost half-Hispanic, with no traces of my father's DNA whatsoever. Meanwhile, I'm 1% Ashkenazi Jewish. I have no idea which ancestor I had that my sister did not. None of these details fit with the DNA tests that our parents took the previous year.

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30. You’ve Got A Friend In Me

This one is a doozy. Some guy in Texas took a DNA test and so did my grandma, about a year earlier than him. To make a long story short, they found out that they were in, they have the same father. They have since met and they are literally best friends now. They talk on the phone daily and send each other care packages in the mail. It’s nuts!

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31. I Like Mountain Music

Not me, but my dad. He comes from an extremely bigoted family. He grew up in the hills of West Virginia from the 1960s to the 1980s, and all of the negative stereotypes about rural hicks fully apply to his family. Not long ago, he decided to take an ancestry test. Turns out, he has a whole bunch of Saudi Arabian and Nigerian ancestry in his blood. And we’re talking quite a high percentage, too. Needless to say, we didn’t tell the fam about that one. They would not have reacted in an understanding way…

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32. Nothing To See Here

I took an ancestry test not too long ago, and I was really hoping to find something cool in the results. My dad's family is from Sicily, and so we thought we could have Greek, Asian, African, or something like that secretly working its way into the mix somewhere deep in our family history. Nope. 96% Italian on one side, 98% Italian on the other side.

The other percentage was some kind of non-specific Middle Eastern. So, we are basically all Italian like we thought before!

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33. Out Of The Clear Blue Sky

My dad and aunt took ancestry tests recently and found out that they had an older brother who they never knew about! It’s a long story, but basically, it turns out that my grandfather had a fling before he met my grandmother. He never even knew he had a son. He just went along his merry way and lived his life, and then some near 60 years later, BOOM! Ancestry test, here you go!

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34. In Your Blood

I always thought that my grandfather on my father's side was adopted, and so I assumed that our last name just comes from the family that adopted him. One DNA test later and the family figured out that my great-grandparents had a child out of wedlock and ran away. They came back with a child, falsely claiming that it was adopted so that they wouldn't be shamed for having him.

And that's the story of how we figured out that my last name is actually from my real blood!

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35. If Being Right Is Wrong, I Don’t Wanna Be Right!

Actually, what was surprising about my ancestry test was that everything in my DNA results matched up with the family history that I had always been led to believe. I think I’m the first person I’ve ever heard of who found nothing unexpected. Amazingly, my uncle and dad have accurately traced my paternal side of my family all the way back to the 900s.

My mom's side of the family isn't quite so researched but we know she comes from a line of early American immigrant families from the 1600s. I did find an ancestor who was in the original Jamestown colony. She was Irish and a lady. That was pleasing to find out!

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36. A Front Seat View

Not my story, but someone very close to me did an ancestry test and discovered that none of the ethnic backgrounds that he was expecting were present in the results. This person, whose father had already been long deceased by this time, questioned his mother about these results. The mother eventually admitted something that turned his life upside-down—his father was not his biological parent as they had been led to believe for their entire life up to that point.

My friend was over the age of forty when this happened. The mother reluctantly gave my friend the name of his biological father. He then found the biological father, contacted him, and eventually discovered that he had several half-siblings. The biological father was unaware that he even had another child out there.

He happily accepted my friend into his family once he found out, as did the siblings.

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37. An Inquisitive Mind

I did an ancestry test not too long ago and found out that I’m a little Jewish. This was already a surprise, as no one in my family had previously been aware of it. This prompted my cousin to dig deeper into our family history, and we ultimately found out that our family had been expelled into Italy during the Spanish Inquisition.

There are a lot of things that you expect to see when you look into your family history, but nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

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38. A Tale Of Two Parents

My father-in-law had an unwanted child back in the 1960s. Many years later, when that child grew up, he tracked us down and introduced himself to us after taking an ancestry test. He was a really nice guy. He didn’t want any money or anything like that; he just wanted to say thanks for putting him up for adoption.

He had a good foster family and grew up comfortable. Also, it turned out that he lived just a few miles away from my in-laws’ yearly vacation spot. They met up and had a few drinks together, catching up on how all of their lives had been going during the period of time that they hadn’t known each other. Unfortunately, the guy’s birth mother wasn’t as cool about the situation.

She was a grandma at this point and she didn’t want some guy to come in and spoil her identity and reputation. To each their own, I guess!

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39. All In The Family

A long-lost relative recently contacted me after taking an ancestry test. He is the same age as my dad, and he looked straight-up related. He was adopted and wanted to connect with his birth family. To make a long story short, I found out that my grandfather secretly had an affair with my great aunt, and then they had put the baby up for adoption.

My great aunt went away for a little while when she was still pregnant, and came back with no baby. It was the 1960s. The family was freaking out so much about it, trying to keep it all hush-hush. I felt bad for the guy, so I did my best to help him out. Technically, he's both my uncle and my cousin. And we live in Kentucky, which makes it even funnier!

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40. Brother From The Same Mother

The family secret that I discovered when I took an ancestry test was that I have a long-lost older brother that I never knew about. The backstory is that my mother got impregnated by my father before they were ever married. This was considered scandalous back in 1960. So, with my father's knowledge of the situation, my mom did something unfathomable—she left town and lived with my aunt until the birth.

My mom eventually gave the baby up for adoption and then returned home. A couple of years later, she married my dad and they had three more children together, including me. Fifty-five years later, after both my parents had already passed, my aunt once accidentally let it slip that my siblings and I were not the only children of our parents.

My sister took a DNA test and, a couple of years later, she got a hit. Soon thereafter, we met our new big brother. We completely hit it off. He has a family of his own now, including a wife and kids, and they have all become very close with the rest of us. It feels like something that was always meant to be.

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41. Burying The Lead

I recently found out that my brother is only my half-brother. Our parents—well, the people who we thought were both our parents—were never married to one another. My mom has insisted for my whole life that my dad is my brother's dad. He never acknowledged his relation to my brother; though he did acknowledge his relation to me.

He had been claiming that the man my mom was living with at the time was probably his father. My mom always said that the other fellow was simply her roommate. Given that my dad was frequently intoxicated and also a chronic liar and that our mom has never been someone to lie to make herself look better, we always believed our mom and never doubted her version of the story. Also, my brother looks pretty much exactly like my dad does in an old army photo, so that made us less skeptical.

But then my brother got an ancestry DNA test done and everything changed. He found out he has no German ancestry at all, even though our dad's side of the family is super German. Then, I got a test done and he showed up as a close match, but with 99% certainty that he was only a half-sibling. So we dug into this a little more.

We discovered that my half-sister from my dad's side's son showed up as a match on my test, but not on his. Also, all of the cousins on my dad's side showed up on mine but not on his. The only relatives that we have in common are from our mom's side of the family. We were basically left with the certainty that our mom has been wrong all these years.

Again, I swear to you that this woman does not lie to make herself look better. It just doesn't occur to her. I mean, I was in elementary school when she told me that my birth was the result of an intoxicated attempt to get her ex-boyfriend to leave his wife for her. This woman is really a lot more honest than she probably should be, by all accounts.

We've actually decided not to raise the issue with her. Either she's gone fifty years not knowing the actual father of her eldest child, or there's enough trauma there to make an unusually honest woman lie. In any event, this is just one more small bit of weirdness in our weird family. Oh, and also, my brother is legally my uncle.

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42. What Really Matters

My grandmother is the world's sweetest person of all time. She also, unfortunately, had a horrible, horrible woman as a mother. Her father, though, was incredible. She always talks about the small and sweet things that they used to do together when she was growing up and how much she still misses him to this day.

Recently, she told me that her mother would always tell her, "He isn't your real father, you know" whenever she felt like hurting my grandmother some more. This continued for as long as they knew her. Eventually, her father escaped her mother’s mistreatment, and the two of them never spoke to the mother ever again.

My Nana doesn't blame him at all for what happened, and she still loves him very, very much to this day. But at one point, she decided to get some ancestry tests done. She said that she needed to know the truth about her father before she passed; although she said it wouldn't change anything about how she felt about him one way or the other.

So she took the test. When the results came back, she held her breath and read them out loud. A tear immediately fell down her cheek. As it turns out, her wicked mother was right after all. My grandmother eventually found her biological family and loves to talk about her French heritage with them. This is a heritage that she's only now starting to learn about. To this day, she doesn't hold anything against her non-biological dad and she loves him very deeply.

He took care of my grandmother when her own mother wouldn't. He loved her, soothed her, and nurtured her through everything as if she was his own. He saved my grandmother's spirit, I'll tell you that much. He helped shape her into the most miraculous human being that I've ever met.

To this day, I will always refer to that man as my great-grandfather, and if I ever have a son of my own, I’ll definitely be naming him after him. This story always gets me teary-eyed. But the thought of Alistair, my Nana’s pretend dad, and his unwavering kindness always makes me really happy. I know it makes her happy, too.

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43. Too Much Of A Busy Body

I did an ancestry test and found out that my paternal grandfather was not my real grandfather. I also found out that my father was the product of an affair or something along those lines. After some searching, I came across the other family that I am related to. I learned that my last name isn't really accurate and that I come from an ethnic group that I never thought I was a part of.

I think my father's sister knew, just looking back on all of the facts. But I also think that my father genuinely never did. I found cousins on that side, but sadly, due to my age in my 50s, most of my relatives have already passed, so I couldn’t share the experience with them. My real grandfather passed in 1969. This explains why I never met any great uncles or aunts on my father's side of the family.

They basically had nothing to do with us. I found evidence in some newspaper articles that my biological and adoptive families were both from the same town. I am not in contact with what remains of my adoptive family today, so no one found out.

What is weird is that I always kind of felt like I was adopted, for years and years. I also always thought that my last name was "wrong" for me. As the test proved, my real grandfather was a very busy man. I had relatives all over the place! One grew up in foster care and knew nothing of her real parents. He would have been her real father.

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44. This One Will Make You Sick

I exported my raw DNA from 23andMe and threw it through Promethease to find out why I have porphyria, which is supposed to be hereditary. My mom and dad are definitely my biological mom and dad, but neither of them has this condition, which means that we were either missing something or that it was some kind of environmental exposure that caused it.

Thanks to these tests, we discovered a rare enzyme deficiency in my mom, as well as a recessive LUPUS gene in my dad, which my sister inherited. DNA is wild!

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45. Well, That’s One Approach I Guess...

The greatest thing that an ancestry test has ever revealed is that my dog is apparently related to royalty. Here’s the full story: I didn't trust that these ancestry DNA tests were actually accurate, so I paid for one. But instead of sending in my DNA, I sent in my dog's DNA. I filled out the written part of the test with a bunch of lies about "family heritage" and "family history".

Not only did they not detect that the DNA was not human, but the information that they claimed they learned from the DNA matched the written information very closely. In other words, they didn't bother to test the DNA at all and were just making up stuff that would sound exciting to people who were willing to pay the $99 fee for these lies.

But, chances are, they are probably keeping the DNA sample on file somewhere, and building a DNA database for use by organizations both governmental and corporate that they shouldn't be using it for!

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46. Just In Time

There was this elderly customer at my work one day. She came down with some serious illness and the doctor had her take a DNA test to see if it was hereditary. Turns out, it was from her father’s side, but not the man who raised her. So she went hunting for her biological father while she still could. After some searching, she found him! Turns out that he was a Korean War vet.

The guy took part in Chosin Reservoir and loads of other things. Not even two years after she found him and all of her half-siblings, he passed.

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47. Buyer Beware

Genetic genealogist here. I have handled both volunteer cases and paid cases. The most shocking case that I have ever seen was that of a person whose DNA test results led to his mother's admission that she was non-consensually attacked by her older brother. Very difficult situation for the family all around.

So in other words, the person who came to me ended up discovering that their uncle was also their father. I now warn all my clients beforehand that DNA can solve your cases, but it can also uncover difficult family secrets, so it’s important to really think through the possibilities first!

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48. Family Feud

My friend was adopted through a closed private adoption. Her adopted parents got her an ancestry test for Christmas a few years ago. She matched with her birth mom and half-sister, then made contact with them through Facebook. After trying to get basic family info and medical history from them, it became clear that her birth mom was keeping secrets.

Another friend of my friend did some searching online and found the birth dad. He then made contact with him against my friend’s wishes. Turns out, the birth mom had slept with her brother-in-law and gotten pregnant. My friend was given up for adoption to hide the secret. It caused some scandal in their family, and my friend no longer talks to them.

She did meet her birth dad and he was a nice guy. He and his wife had wanted to keep my friend, but the mother didn't give him a choice.

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49. Fancy Seeing You Here

My father passed when I was a little child. He was not close with his family, so when he was gone, any connection I had to his ancestry went with him. This left me growing up not really knowing anything about my background, outside of some anecdotal reports from my older siblings who had gotten to spend a bit more time with our father than I did.

I grew up thinking that my father's ethnicity was a mix of Welsh and Native American ancestry. I took a DNA test via 23andMe to confirm this suspicion in lieu of other sources. When I got the results back, I couldn't believe what I read. I was quite surprised to discover that I had very little Native American background. It was actually less than one percent.

But I was even more surprised to see the number of genetic relatives that I had who were living in Puerto Rico. I brought this up with my older brother, who is my only full-blood relative out of any of my siblings. He got himself tested too. 23andMe works by automatically finding genetic relatives for you based on who has submitted to the site, so imagine my surprise when their website notified me that I had a half-brother in their system.

My brother confronted my mom about it since I live out of state. He demanded an explanation, and he got one. It turns out that the man I thought was my father was, in fact, not. My actual biological father was a man who my mom dated when she was around 18 years old. He came back into her life off and on over the years, including while she was married to my supposed father.

But that’s not all! This very same man who fathered me had come back into my mom's life again just a few years prior to this incident, and they had been seeing each other for years already by this point. All this time, we knew him as my mom's old flame who she was seeing again after a messy divorce. It wasn’t like he was some total stranger.

He had been accepted as a member of our family by this point, joining us for holidays and the like. This had been going on for years without any of us knowing that he was secretly my biological father all along! This made the confrontation convenient because when my brother asked my mom who my real father was, she was able to point directly at him at the other end of the couch.

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50. Ancestors In High Places

I took an ancestry test and discovered that I'm directly descended from Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Emperor from the years 747 to 814. And I happen to think that this is pretty cool, not gonna lie! I can and will be using this as a reason for bragging around everyone I meet for the rest of my life. And let’s be honest. You would too.

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Sources: Reddit,

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