Would you tell someone about an NPE [Non Paternal Event] ?

+6 votes

Would you tell someone about an NPE [Non Paternal Event] ?

I am helping with boyfriend's ancestry and DNA autosomal results.

Long story short, have verified that his Dad's paternal Gfather has to be someone else and possibly his Maternal Gfather also!

Boyfriend and his Dad have both done autosomal testing with 2 different companies.

His Dad is 40% Welsh/Scottish/Irish, 10% English and 50% Eastern European. His Dad called the tests BS  since "there is no way he has ANY stinking UK blood in him"

Pretty funny, he is only wants to be 100% eastern Euro.

Boyfriend's tests all came back 23% Welsh/Scottish/Irish/English. His Mom is 98% Polish, so only his Dad is contributing the UK DNA.

Anyway, we've figured out some likely ancestors, but his Mom doesn't want us to tell his Dad.


in The Tree House by Anonymous Skye G2G1 (1.1k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
There could've been an adoption somewhere in that line as well. Before a few decades ago, it was common for adoptive parents to never tell their adopted children the truth.
I was adopted by my stepfather as my biological father denied me as his child since my birth. My mother did let me know of the adoption. But I wanted to know more. My mother had died and so I asked one of her sister's what she knew. She was helpful and revealed more secrets that I wasn't aware of, like finding my baptismal records at one of the local Catholic Churches. No birth certificate was ever found with my biological father's name on it. However, the baptismal record clearly tells the names of the biological parents and me with my actual birth name. If the mother is unwilling to share any information, go to a family members and start asking them what they know. Other than that, maybe its better to leave it well enough alone. Its far better to live in peace than stir up past memories that is painful to remember..
I totally agree with Ray below. Ethnicity predictions are not worth they bytes they use. Three different companies three different results, and still they aren't worth the time and attention people give them.

I recommend that your boyfriend test his YDNA at www.familytreedna.com,  that is a good place to start.

YDNA is passed down father to son only. Females don't have it, and FTDNA has a matching function that shows who he matches with and t heir surnames, and a means to contact them.

He should test, at a minimum Y37, that is 37 DNA Y segments, less than that he will get results all over the map.

2 Answers

+9 votes
I'll be honest with you - it depends. To a certain extent, we're trying to create and maintain an accurate tree - and sometimes that means that a few skeletons fall out of the closets like this. I have a very similar situation, where my Mom's Dad wasn't her Dad - and the DNA testing pretty much proved it. I still haven't removed him - it's hard to chop off that big a chunk of my tree like that - but eventually I'll have to.

But at the same time, you should consider the privacy of those involved, and how this might affect them, so it's a tough decision. If the parents don't want it out in the open, and in general it sounds like it might start some conflicts, I'd be hesitant to just drop the bomb out where all can see. At the same time, I'm not sure I would put a false genealogy out there either, so fleshing out all aspects of his tree except for this branch might be the best approach for a time. In the meantime, you might (or he might) begin the process of removing the band-aid with them, getting Mom used to discussing this more openly and perhaps becoming a bit more understanding of this. It doesn't mean she absolutely will change her mind, but I've found that secrets fester and cause issues and getting them into the light might be a bit painful at first, but it allows the healing process to kick in as well.

Just my 2 cents on the matter. Basically on the fence with this one.
by Scott Fulkerson G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+17 votes
Wait - are you saying that you have found evidence of an NPE just because of the ethnicity percentage results?

If so, you should really be careful before drawing any conclusions.

Remember that ethnicity percentages are not reliable.  You need more than just ethnicity percentages to draw conclusions.

I always use this article from Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist:


She compares the ethnicity percentages shown from tests from four siblings and the results are all over the map.  There are many examples like this.  

Always use caution with ethnicity percentages.
by Ray Jones G2G6 Pilot (154k points)
Also - this is arguably the most important video ever made for ethnicity percentages for people who have European ancestors.  Watch "Eastern Europe" in this video.  The various lands in Eastern Europe experienced extreme population changes due to wars and political boundary changes for centuries:

This is an excellent article. Thanks for sharing it, Ray. Gonn ahave to print it out for future reference (I’m a paper kind of guy.).

Yes, yes, OMG - yes!

I tend to look the other way about how they sell these DNA tests as some sort of "instant genealogy", when its borderline fraud. It gets people to do tests who wouldn't otherwise, which can be downright priceless for some genealogical cases. it can also be life-changing, as people with unknown biological parents find their biological families.

But this shows that it could be life-changing in a BAD way, too, as the unwary take it at face value and make the obvious (but wrong) inferences.

THAT BEING SAID, maybe there really is a NPE going on here, since she says "we've figured out some likely ancestors". That's a tricky business, though, and it's real easy to fool yourself  it's imperative to be REALLY careful.

The way you REALLY know that an NPE is going on is if you get a fairly close relative of his tested (like a 1st cousin). Even out to second cousins it's supposed to be certain that you get a match. If a 1st cousin on his dad's side tests (or has been tested) and there's no match, then one or the other has an issue in their biological ancestry.

But if you can already identify 3rd or 4th cousins on various branches of his family, then you already know there's no NPE, and you don't have to do that.

The ethnicity percentages might give you a HINT that something MIGHT be amiss, but beyond that they should be completely ignored. They're - as we like to say here - "for entertainment only".

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