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The other half picked up an unexpected combination of European Jewish, Middle Eastern and Eastern European. It was the early days of direct-to-consumer DNA testing, and Ancestry.com’s test was new.
She wrote the company a nasty letter informing them they’d made a mistake.
It meant one of her parents wasn’t who he or she was supposed to be — and, by extension, neither was she. In the third row: Alice Collins Plebuch and her sister, Gerry Collins Wiggins.
We are only just beginning to grapple with what it means to cheaply and easily uncover our genetic heritage.
The company no longer provides data on surprise results.After the initial shock of her test results, Plebuch wondered if her mother might have had an affair. So, she and her sister, Gerry Collins Wiggins, both ordered kits from DNA testing company 23and Me.The affair scenario seemed unlikely — certainly out of character for her mom, and besides, all seven Collins children had their father’s hooded eyes. “My father, he was in the Army and he was all over the world, and it was just one of those fears that you have when you don’t know,” she says. If the findings were right, it meant one of Plebuch’s parents was at least partly Jewish. They had a gut sense that it was unlikely to be their mother, who came from a large family, filled with cousins Plebuch and her siblings all knew well.[This story has been optimized for offline reading on our apps.For a richer experience, you can find the full version of this story here.