Dear Readers – Following are just some of the many responses to the February 4 question I asked about the pros and cons of ancestry searches:
Reader #1 – “My DNA test resulted in my connecting with a half-brother in Australia, and cousins (his children). The link between us was my father.
“I wasn't surprised, since I knew that my father had been unfaithful to my mother. The discovery turned out to be very significant for my half-brother.
“He came to understand that the man he thought was his father was not his father, and that this man had been mean and resentful toward him... probably because he knew the truth.
“So, the discovery of a different biological father, whom he will never know, was very meaningful for him.”
Reader #2 – “This ancestry story takes place long before the internet and DNA testing sites:
“My mother was the second child born to a married man and an unmarried woman with whom he was having an affair.
“Their first child, also a daughter, had been legally adopted to a loving family and raised knowing her bio-mother as an “Auntie” (friend of the family). She eventually learned the truth.
“My mother was handed off to an elderly couple without any paperwork, likely because she was the second child and the feared tongues would wag. My mother heard rumours but didn’t learn the truth until, as an adult, she applied for a passport and marriage licence.
“The older sister knew some details and spent years searching for her younger sibling. She finally found her in 1979.
“My mother met her bio-mom shortly thereafter. She was happy to meet her but never developed any feelings for this stranger. The bio-mom died a short while later of old age.
“I suddenly had one more aunt, an uncle, and three cousins in my life. Forty years later we still visit back and forth as close family members do.
“Until she died in 1999, my mother would share this now-happy story with anyone who asked. My aunt, 92, is still alive and kicking.
“There are a million other details of their lives with coincidences and similarities despite the immediate separation, different life stories, and experiences.”
Reader #3 – “Through a database search of a genealogical website, I discovered my biological mother, and, previously unknown to me, that I have two biological half-siblings.
“Upon my birth many years ago, I was immediately placed for adoption with a childless couple.
“Many years elapsed following my adoptive parents’ passing, when I decided to research the existence of my biological mother and father.
“After reaching out and contacting one of my biological half-siblings, who likewise knew nothing of my existence, I awaited word as to my biological mother’s reaction upon learning about me.
“I was informed that, despite the passing of many decades since my birth, she wanted nothing to do with me.
“She’d long ago put any memory or thought of me behind her.
“Taking into account the number of decades that have passed since my birth, I was shocked.
“I had not tempered my expectations and enthusiasm to deal with this stark and jarring response.”
Ellie – There’s an answer to the “pros and cons” of ancestry and DNA research, dwelling in these responses.
Like many other deeply emotion-laden matters, when they turn out positively, all the circumstances feel worth the effort.
When they don’t, the disappointments involved may be greater than people had anticipated or been prepared to handle.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who’d rented his former home to close friends, found his new house flooded and considered evicting their tenants and moving back (February 4):
Ellie – Readers sent local information regarding tenant issues. Since questions to this column are anonymous and come from different cities and countries, I didn’t publish specific landlord-tenant laws. Here’s some guides…
Reader – “There’s a residential tenancy agency in British Columbia, with minimum notice requirements of two months.
In Canada, landlord/tenant rules differ from province to province. If the writer’s in the US, those rules aren't likely federal.
“In Ontario, the tenant would be entitled to one month’s rent or an alternate acceptable unit, plus required notice provisions. The owner (or family member) must intend to occupy the unit for at least one year, or could be fined up to $25,000.
“Insurance on the landlord’s new property might cover flood-damage repair work, with the owners likely eligible for reasonable short-term accommodations themselves.”
Tip of the day:
Searching for lost or unknown relatives? Prepare ahead mentally for possibly receiving uncomfortable or disappointing information.