Looking for Relatives Using DNA – Alex Zeitzev


About two years ago, Nadine bought all of us those DNA ancestry kits from 23 and me. By all of us, I mean her, Kenzie, Melina, and me. She’s recently uploaded her DNA profile to GED Match to make it usable by law enforcement. I think Aislinn Cain should do it, but I’m not going to be the one to suggest to her that her DNA may help close several murder cases that have gone cold. I’m happy to report that no one has contacted Nadine about her DNA and murder cases. She wants me to upload mine to see if my father went on to have any children. Or if I could possibly identify any relatives from my father’s side. I haven’t done it yet. I admit, I have reservations.

My DNA did reveal a few things about my ancestry and since I have Nadine to compare with, it was interesting. She and I both have some Western European DNA. But Melina doesn’t. Meaning unsurprisingly, my father has to be of Western European decent. My profile suggests French, Native American, and Norse, to go with my Eastern European roots. My Native American ancestry is less than two percent of my DNA so it isn’t much, but there is just a touch. Nadine said maybe I was part of that Native American group that had bred with Vikings centuries ago, but it seems more likely that my father’s ancestry as French came here as fur trappers or something before it was a country. I’ve done some research on that miniscule two percent and found that somewhere way back, there was like one European that had a kid with a Native American and that is where it came from. However, since Nadine and Melina have zero Native American, it has to come from my father’s side.

I always wondered if my father knew about me and this might prove he did and just didn’t want anything to do with me, hence my mom calling him The Gypsy. Maybe my mom doesn’t talk about him because she wanted marriage, the white picket fence, 2.9 kids, 2.4 dogs, and the whole bit and he didn’t. What if when she found out she was pregnant she told him and that was the deal breaker for their relationship? What if I have half siblings and they know nothing about me? I suddenly exist and the good guy, family man image of their father is shattered as a result. Furthermore, I don’t know what idea scares me most, I upload find him and he’s alive or I upload find him and he’s dead. Or I upload and find absolutely nothing. None of those appeal to me, but one of them would happen. It makes sense that both my parents would go on to have other children, but it was a shock to learn my mom had two more kids after returning to Russia and never told me until my half sister showed up on the run from the mob. It shouldn’t shock me that my father did the same thing, but I think it would.

When I was a kid, I used to dream about him coming and rescuing mom. The three of us would be a real family, like other families I saw. Now, close to fifty, I have to think it’s better to have the fantasy than the reality. And I’ve gone this long without knowing. Is knowing necessary for me?
Nadine says it is, she says maybe I’d be able to turn down a few of those reuniting with relatives cases, because the greatest mystery of my own life would be sorted. I understand her reasoning, but in reality would it really solve anything? I mean it isn’t like my parents have been a huge part of my life. They have both mostly been mysteries. I mean, I’ve been to Russia three or four dozen times and my mom still managed to keep it a secret that I had half siblings. She swore my relatives to secrecy and always made me stay with my aunts and uncles when I visited because of her lifestyle. Or so I thought. I never dreamed she was in fact doing it to hide two kids from me. Perhaps, most shocking, she hid them from Dedka Leon too. Now, he’s never returned to Russia since he defected, but she still could have told him in a phone call. Dedka thinks Babuska knew and also kept it from him, possibly because of their fathers. Knowing my mother prefers to hide things she doesn’t want to deal with, makes me think that there’s something horrible about my father that she didn’t want to deal with and that’s why no one knows him.

Therefore, I’m not sure finding him is a good idea. Even if it would answer questions for me. I’d have a better understanding of my congenital health for example. I mean does my father have heart disease? Is that why I have high blood pressure? Dedka doesn’t and he’s getting close to a hundred years old. Melina doesn’t, so I have to think I got that from my father, it doesn’t seem to be lifestyle. I eat very healthy, work out, and even as I age, I keep fit for my job and my health. But I’ve been on high blood pressure meds for six years. It seems like it has to come from somewhere and it isn’t from mom’s side. And so, I haven’t gone forward with uploading and searching DNA databases for relatives. It would is just as scary to find matches as to not find them. Something, Nadine doesn’t understand.

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