Editor’s note: Drawing from its American Inspiration author series, NEHGS is hosting a new educational “Conversation” course featuring author-journalists Libby Copeland and Bill Griffeth and NEHGS genealogist Christopher C. Child. The trio will share insights on DNA research in a Zoom webinar entitled Discussing DNA: Finding Unexpected Results on Wednesday, November 18, at 6 pm. Registration and more information here.
Bill Griffeth: It has been eight years since I took the DNA test that changed my life. The test that told me the father who raised me wasn’t my biological father, that my devoutly Christian mother had strayed in her marriage and was human after all. And to my surprise I learned that I was not alone. Not by a long shot. Continue reading Found families
Several weeks ago I received an email from an acquaintance of mine, a man I will describe only as a prominent African American personality. Let’s call him Alex. He emailed to say he had read my book, The Stranger in My Genes, and he wanted to discuss something with me. Privately.
My book, published by NEHGS, tells the story of a DNA test I took to help a cousin with his genealogical research. The results were shocking. They revealed that my father was not my father. Since it was released in September of 2016, I have heard from dozens of people – friends and strangers – who have had similar experiences. I assumed Alex was only the latest. Continue reading Strong emotions
The rustic handmade sign above the door said “Ye ol’ Genealogical Research Center Library and Museum.” The letters were in Old English style. They were painted yellow over a green background, and they perfectly captured the upbeat, cheery nature of my friend Tom.
“Step in,” he urged me. I walked through the door and into his study. This was where he had spent the first fifteen years of his retirement researching his family’s history. Even before I entered the room, I knew what I would see, and I didn’t like it. Continue reading When everything changed
When I was writing my new book, The Stranger in My Genes – about the DNA test I took that shockingly suggested my father wasn’t really my father – I thought my story was unusual, if not unique. Boy, was I wrong.
After the ebook version was released on August 23, I almost immediately heard from several friends who told me about people they knew with similar stories.
There was the one about the man who received a DNA testing kit for Christmas one year, and – long story short – discovered a daughter he didn’t know he had. Merry Christmas. Continue reading The stranger in my genes