‘How no one in my family knew this is beyond me.’ I took an at-home DNA test, only to discover I’m cousins with this former president

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I’ve long been involved with genealogy, although it always felt like a huge, time-consuming undertaking, attempting to build a complete family tree that goes well beyond my grandparents. But a few years ago, curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to send a saliva sample to two of the most well-known health and genealogy companies, 23andMe ,NS 23andMe Health + Ancestry Services Now $99 on Amazon. at the lowest price of the year) And lineage DNA (On sale now for $59, down from $99), I wanted to see if any unexpected information would emerge – like perhaps an undiscovered brother or an inheritance I didn’t know about. Part of my results were exactly what I expected: I’m three quarters Ashkenazi Jewish and another quarter Irish, British, and German (both tests gave me similar results on this; I did two separate tests, so I’m hoping that will be able to tell how accurate they were). Then things got interesting, like famous-relatives and parents-maybe-related interesting.

23andMe+ Lineage Services

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lineage DNA

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With these services, you get everything from health history and genetic reports to links with potential relatives who share your DNA. (It’s also important to note that there may be some privacy concerns with these tests, which Piece From Consumer Reports description; But the New York Times notes That better known companies are safe bets and have ways to protect your data. Both 23andMe And lineage DNA They have comprehensive privacy policies on their site and note that your data is secure.)

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After some very late nights building a tree that goes back to my mother’s side in the 1500s – I signed up for the more comprehensive family tree service at Ancestry.com to get more depth – A hand of branches shot with relatives whose surname was Eisenhower. This piqued my curiosity, and after pieced together one person after another, I discovered that President Dwight D. Eisenhower was my third cousin, who had been ousted five times. How anyone else in my family did not know or did not know is beyond me.

Perhaps even more surprising, I found a connection between my father and my mother’s first cousin. My dad passed away in 2015 and he never signed up for 23andMe, but my mom sent a sample. After digging deeper, I found out that somewhere – my parents were related. Thankfully, it’s a distant relationship, and I haven’t figured it out yet, but still, it was a shocking feeling to swallow.

The whole “you have a famous relative thing” was fun, but the real benefit, for me, was getting a more complete picture of my ancestry and health trends without it taking too much pain to do. You send a sample by spitting it into a small tube or by swabbing your cheek. Other reviewers also give both 23andMe and AncestryDNA high marks, with Wirecutter, for example, recommending them both, noting that they both have the same level of accuracy. (In my case, both gave very similar results.)

That said, these results are not fast (they can take 6-8 weeks to come back), and some health consequences can prove worrying.

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