Don’t Get Expectations Too High When Meeting New Siblings or Half-Siblings – DNA Saturdays October 31, 2020

One thing I caution people in my DNA presentations is don’t assume new siblings, half-siblings, or other unknown relatives will welcome you with open arms. Some people think they have to accept them or they have to share medical information. The only person you control is you. There are plenty of stories, ranging from truth to flat-out lies about what really happened where an unknown sibling or half-sibling shows up. In a few cases, the relatives go with the theory Mom or Dad would never do something like that.

Sometimes a father isn’t told they have a child or that the mother is pregnant with someone’s else child. In other cases, the mother was told the baby died during delivery or shortly after birth. In other situations, one or both parents were bad parents to the children who they didn’t give up.

I have two living half-sisters. I had a third who died years before I was born. I don’t anything about the half-sisters other than they were from Dad. I don’t know if they were from the same mother or different mothers. Mom raised us by mentioning not all her siblings were full siblings, but never identified who the half-siblings were. In my genealogy research, I figured out who the parents were for each child. Grandfather had two children with his first wife. Grandmother had one daughter with her first husband. Then, they had three children after they got married.

Grandfather’s oldest child was a surprise. He died young before his sister was born. I visited his grave in 2014. I was probably the first family member to visit him in over 100 years. Grandfather and his first wife moved away shortly after the birth of the daughter. She never mentioned having a brother in her memoirs.

If I ever meet my half-sisters or through DNA discover who they are, I will follow Mom’s lead and welcome them with open arms. In Mom’s case, she was closest to her two half-sisters than she was to her full siblings. I don’t know how they will respond to me or my siblings. I may never meet them or find out who they are. Although with DNA testing, it doesn’t take too close a relative to test to figure out a half-sibling. A first cousin testing could lead me to them.

I would follow the same advice I mentioned above. I am not going to think they are happy to find me or me to find them. I would let it develop how it’s going to develop.

About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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3 Responses to Don’t Get Expectations Too High When Meeting New Siblings or Half-Siblings – DNA Saturdays October 31, 2020

  1. SLIMJIM says:

    I’m reminded of this truth that you told me, there’s someone I know whose relative they discovered through DNA testing really didn’t take it well; the frend’s mom was an orphan from the Vietnam war, his mom’s mom was likely a Vietnamese prostitute with an American GI and my friend’s biological grandpa was shocked and I guess it unravel a secret he never expected to be revealed

    Liked by 1 person

    • Back then, and even in the 70s and 80s, secrets could be hidden. With DNA testing around 30 million people have done DNA tests with Ancestry, FTDNA, MyHeritage, 23andMe, and other companies so family secrets come out. Some thing the relative would have never cheated on the spouse and stay in denial.

      The point is something along a first or second cousin can reveal a DNA surprise. None of the tests can accurately predict the relationship, other than parent/child, but there are tools out there that give a range like half-sibling, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew. There are people who volunteer to help people out to figure out the relationship.

      Liked by 1 person

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