Dark Side of DNA Test Kits

DATELINE:  DNA Results You Don’t Want

Brass Spittoon Like Grandpa Used!

For all those dozens of heartwarming stories about family reunions owing to genetic testing, there is a cautionary side that is quite ugly. And, I have found it in my DNA.

Spit in a tube may be the truest metaphor for some genetic results. Before you swab your inside cheek for the holiday result, let me give you some advice.

I have dozens of people now on my “cousin” list, some of whom have asked me what I know about my grandfather on my mother’s side. I tell them nothing. When I do tell them what I know, they never again bother me. They are as horrified as I.

It seems this man who is now my genetic and biological grandfather is an anonymous fiend who raped my grandmother over 90 years ago in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was one of several victims in North Cambridge.

Dutiful woman, my biological grandmother did not abort the child that was the result of a rape assault. She gave up my mother for adoption instead. She thought she knew who the rapist was because police later arrested a man named Farrell.

Several Cambridge woman identified him, and he went to prison for life. It now appears his life was ruined and reputation in tatters unfairly and unjustly. He was indeed innocent. He fought his conviction for fifty years, but died in a Massachusetts prison, convicted as a rapist.

Now, I am the living DNA  proof this man was innocent.

It is an appalling burden. Names cannot be changed to protect the innocent, but the hundreds of new-found cousins are actually daily reminders that they are living in a fantasy world: one of their blood relatives was a sexual predator who escaped punishment for more than a few rapes.

Oh, like in a good James Cain novel, he went to prison for something else. He was called the Moonlight Bandit, a cretin who police could identify as a robber of small businesses because he was seen in bright moonlight.

Two issues jump out at me every day: the notion of not having an abortion means that generations down the line will now face unpleasant family ancestors. And second, that I am nothing like this man: yet,  how much genetic code is in me?  I think how little I resemble these new “family” members. Thank heavens.

If you want a cautionary tale about illegitimate children being foisted on others as theirs, you will find it sadly enough in your DNA testing kit. Beware.