DNA Proves (LNAB) Last Name at Birth is entirely different

+3 votes
2 children with hyphenated surnames mother-father, parents divorced later children dropped father and used mothers name only.

DNA has now proven that grandfather was not the father's father, so, without screaming to the world as they nor their children will be changing names, what would be a sensible way of showing the changes on their profile?

Both adults with their own families.

For the purposes of WikiTree, the hyphenated surname was not used, just the father's surname.
in The Tree House by Rhonda Lucas G2G6 Mach 1 (11.7k points)
Gaile answered your actual question very well below, but I wanted to share my first thoughts on seeing just the question title in my feed: "how can DNA prove anything whatsoever about names? Names aren't genetically encoded!"

Upon reading the details, I'll add: personal relationships aren't genetic, either, and family is first and foremost about relationships.

1 Answer

+6 votes
Best answer
Rhonda, as I understand it, there is no reason to change their LNAB.  That is supposed to be the earliest last name recorded so, unless their birth certificates get changed, their LNAB is fine the way it is.  It sounds like their father's LNAB is the one that you might question, but that should also probably remain unchanged.  You probably want to disconnect him from his father, though, and if he is still living and changes his last name as a result of the new finding then you can enter a CLN (Current Last Name) for him.
by Gaile Connolly G2G6 Pilot (803k points)
selected by Rhonda Zimmerman
Thanks Gaile, just couldn't get my head to work around the shock, that will work.

laughGaile Isn't there also something about check marking the "non-biological father" thingie? Which would be in the selection offered under the name of the father way over there on the right-hand side of the page in Edit mode ... 

Good point, Susan - THANX for adding that.  Of course, if the biological father is discovered, they may want to connect him instead and can always put a link to the non-biological one in the bio.

Rhonda, I can empathize with you.  I recently discovered a pair of brothers who are my second cousins and we had a hot-and-heavy correspondence for a few months, until they got their DNA test results.  They found that their father (my father's first cousin) was not their father and they didn't even have the same father.  I told them that I still consider them my cousins, they said they needed some time to absorb the shock, but I never heard from them again even though I sent them Christmas cards the past two years (and will again this year).

smiley It is disturbing, to say the least, to discover that a pillar (or the foundation) of your self-identity has disappeared -- and DNA results can sometimes do just that, "I am not who I thought I was" because our self-identification is often tied to a web of relationships, to our own position within that web. 

I can easily imagine that two brothers finding out they are not brothers and not the sons of the father they had -- believed they had -- would find that web brutally torn apart. And if they are not who they thought they were, neither are you who they thought you were. IF they are not part of the web, all former trusted relationships are not part of it either, they have nothing remaining of THAT web.  And if what they trusted is no longer trustworthy, then whether they can build a new web, and trust it, is a whole other question. 


But Gaile is Gaile.  She hasn't changed.  And not much else has changed either.  If the "brothers" grew up together, they still grew up together.  Their life stories have made them who they are, and they haven't been rewritten.

Thank you for expressing my thoughts so well, RJ1.  They are still biological half-brothers, although they apparently have no biological relationship to me.  They discovered that they are both products of artificial insemination of their mother, with different sperm donors.  We seem to have no problem viewing relationships with adopted children the same as biological ones - they're all "family", regardless of how they got there.  I understand that the shock factor of sudden discovery can send people reeling, but I expect (at least, hope) that my cousins will someday (sooner rather than later, I hope) once again consider me their cousin.

1. Your comment

But Gaile is Gaile.  She hasn't changed.

is probably something that often causes WikiTreer's to shake their heads in utter frustration, although not in the current context!

smiley Self-identification begins at birth and has less to do with the objective facts than it does with our interpretation of events and interactions of others with us and each other -- it is a web spun of perceptions and interpretations. This is not a matter of objective relationships, which have also been seriously altered, but of their perceptions and interpretations of those relationships, and THOSE are seriously ruptured. 

I will always be, have always been, myself, but my place among others, my status, my rank, my social network -- just about all else has been "taken apart" more than once. And yes other people OBJECTIVELY remained the same, but not my perception of them, nor their perception of me. And that causes different responses, mine and theirs. 

Destruction of our web "changes things".  Everything has changed for those two men. They had a father stripped away. And because their "father" wasn't their father, their objective relationship to him and to their "cousin" Gaile is broken, it does not exist. It sound very much as if they are not biologically related to Gaile. So who are they, the web they had is torn apart, and where is the one that each one might fit into? If all they have in common biologically is the same mother, they have to find their place in her web of relationships. 

Break one strand, you can end up breaking a lot of the others. 

laugh Well, then, they have in common the same mother, and will have to "re-invent" themselves in context of their mother's web of relationships. 

NOTHING will change the objective rupture, Gaile -- and it's a very hard lump, difficult indeed to swallow, "I'm not who I thought I was" -- and some people cannot swallow it, just as some people quite honestly will choke on and be unable to swallow pills. 

YOUR perception of their place in your web will possibly remain the same, but theirs cannot ever be what it was, they will have to forge a new one

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