I was up earlier than normal that Saturday morning. I didn’t want to call my uncle since I knew he had gotten home so late the night before. Mid-morning I got a text from my aunt saying to call when I was up, my uncle was anxious to talk to me about Bob*.
The second I read the text, I called. My uncle was super cool about the whole thing. He was positive that he wasn’t the father, but not opposed to learning the truth. Can we just take a pause and consider what he must have been feeling? Genetically, Bob can only be his or his brother’s son. If we were just talking straight odds, not accounting for any other factors, he was facing a 50/50 chance that he had a son he never knew about.
But, with courage, he faced it head on. I explained the fastest two options we had. Option 1 – I could walk him through downloading his raw data file from Ancestry and uploading it to Family Tree DNA. Option 2 – He could make me the administrator of his Ancestry DNA account and I could do everything. He happily went with option 2. It took us about 10 minutes to complete the steps needed to transfer administrator rights to me.
I very methodically downloaded his raw DNA file and uploaded it to FTDNA. I was so nervous that I triple checked every step. Because I had previously completed a Y-DNA test on my uncle with FTDNA, I uploaded his raw ancestry DNA to the same account. I didn’t know if Bob would be on top of it all enough to be checking his matches or not, so I changed my uncle’s profile name to a different first initial. I thought my uncle should know first if it turned out he was the father.
The default email that is generated when you make an autosomal transfer to FTDNA tells you that your first matches will begin to show up as early as an hour later and before 24 hours has passed. The thought that I might be waiting for 24 hours was a bit much for my nerves.
I tried to keep myself busy with other tasks for about 45 minutes. And then I began the obsessive refreshing of my uncle’s FTDNA page.
I would just like to point out that if my psychologist Grandpa were alive and reading this – he would likely be somewhat concerned about my mental state. Deservedly so. This was a lot to handle – a lot of emotions, a lot of pressure, a lot of holding multiple people’s futures in the palm of my hand. Kind of like this:
At minute 60, I clicked refresh again with no updates. My heart sank, was I going to have to wait a full 24 hours?
At minute 61, the waiting ended.
My brain had a really hard time processing what was finally in front of me. Was I reading this all correctly? Suddenly I felt like I didn’t know which column was which. I called my husband over and made him listen as I tried to explain what I was reading. I thought his eyes and mind would likely focus better and help me process correctly. I was wrong – he didn’t get it and tried to tell me I was reading it wrong. 🙂 Suddenly, I was back. I knew what I was looking at.
My DNA tested uncle was also Bob’s uncle. Not his father.
My first call was to my uncle. He wasn’t a bit surprised. I let him and my mom take it from here for a while. They knew that their brother had a child he didn’t know about. Once again, I thought that was a conversation better had with a sibling than with a niece.
From here, I was able to do something I never expected to do in my entire life. I had the distinct privilege of telling Bob who his father is. Let that soak in.
My DNA tested uncle called his brother and told him the news.
Arrangements were made for contact between father and son.
I felt like Santa Claus.
There was just one problem. Bob wanted to know who his birth mom was. In a perfect world, the story would be one of teenage love, being too young, or something along those lines. But that is not our story. My uncle did not know who Bob’s mother might be. He was, shall we say, a bit on the promiscuous side.
That got my nerves all in a tangle once again. But this wasn’t my journey. It was Bob’s. I was just helping him find answers.
We had our first answer. We knew Bob’s father. I sent more pictures and shared some cool and unique facts about my uncle. He is quite well known in a specific sporting history. In fact, famous, is actually a better word for it. I hoped connecting to that cool history might soften the blow of not being able to hand Bob details of a teenage romance, and the name of his birth mother.
A few days passed. Father and son spoke.
And then late one night I got this email:
Subject line: Any interest in looking at my 23 and me and ancestry.com info and seeing what
Message: Info you can figure out? Maybe mom side stuff?
You have come to the right place cousin!
This Santa Claus definitely needed to turn Wonder Woman and find Bob’s mom.
to be continued…