[ExI] 23andme again

spike spike at rainier66.com
Wed Jun 26 19:27:42 UTC 2013



>. On Behalf Of Stephen Van Sickle
Subject: Re: [ExI] 23andme again


>.Spike: Keep in mind that biodad might not even know he has a kid out
there.  If he is the rakish lady-killer sort, might not even remember
biomom.  .--steve vs 



Ja.  That is one of a number of possible bad outcomes here.  The bio-father
could be a rapist.  He might be the local Episcopalian minister, a group
which takes a dim view of such activities.  He could be a drug-addled
ex-con.  I know the guy's snail mail @, so I could easily punch it in to
Google maps and Zillow, look at his house and his neighborhood, to easily
find out to a first order approximation what kind of life he is having, but
I did not and will not.  He and his children are my third cousins, but until
they contact me, I consider that whole episode past and they are off limits
for now.


So I had this guy's address and phone number, so I had the option of
contacting him first.  But I specifically chose to not do that; rather to
give the links but not the specific info to his bio-daughter.  She needs to
deliberately carry out a series of steps to get the contact now, easy steps
but not ones you would do accidentally.  


In this, I take the lead from the very well-done 23andMe: that test
indicates if you are at risk for early Alzheimer's or Parkinson's but both
of those indicators are specifically locked.  In order to see them, you must
read an explanation for what you are seeing, then you go to the bottom and
click that you know what you are asking and you agree to it.  You cannot
accidentally find out on those two items, for there is some justification in
some minds for intentionally not knowing that information.


Similarly, I left it so the young lady in question can fairly easily dig out
the info, even if she is only average intelligence and 1 sigma below average
in internet skills, without asking help from anyone else.  She has indicated
that both her mother and step-father become very annoyed at any questions
regarding her bio-ancestry.  It sounds to me like she even found out the
name accidentally.


So I am close to where I started: I see plenty of ways this can all turn out
badly.  Do I feel good about what I did?  No.  I feel less bad about it than
if I had done anything else.  A long-past ambiguously tragic event has been
digitally resurrected.  It was perhaps tragic in some lives, but one would
argue that without that event, this young lady would never have lived, so it
is a miracle from her point of view.  


Regarding the long buried circumstances of her birth, I dug some of the soil
off that grave, 23andMe dug some, Ancestry dot com, Facebook, Spokeo all dug
soil off of that long-dead and buried event.  Now it is up to her alone to
decide to open that coffin.  I will not encourage or discourage her in any
way.  I fear the odds of a happy ending are less than even, but I decided I
have no right to make that decision, it is not mine to make; that is her
right to make that call.  Good luck, my distant cousin, good luck and my
very best wishes to you and your family.  I am with you pal, regardless of
what you decide to do, and regardless of what line of reasoning, or lack
thereof, employed by you to arrive at that decision.  I am your cheerleader,
not your coach.


I marvel at how dramatically things have changed just in the past decade.
In 1989 and 1990, I invested several hundred hours doing genealogy the old
fashioned way.  Back then there was a skillset.  Good researchers could
master them.  Now it doesn't take much, either in talent or in time.
23andMe supplies a pile of clues, along with solid genetic evidence, that
can confirm suspicions or invalidate huge amounts of research, for a hundred
dollars.  It is the great digital resurrection.







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