The wonder of genealogy

Two Sisters Bought DNA Kits. The Results Blew Apart Their Family.
In an age of ubiquitous direct-to-consumer genetic testing, family secrets are almost impossible to keep.
Feb. 1, 2019  | By Amy Dockser Marcus

Sonny and Brina Hurwitz raised a family in Boston. They both died with secrets.

In 2016, their oldest daughter, Julie Lawson, took a home DNA test. Later, she persuaded her sister, Fredda Hurwitz, to take one too.

In May, the sis­ters sat down at the din­ner ta­ble in Ms. Hur­witz’s Falls Church, Va., home to share their re­sults. A man’s name popped up as a close ge­netic match for Ms. Hur­witz. Nei­ther had ever heard of him.

Ms. Law­son searched for the man on Face­book. When she saw his pho­tos, she knew. He looked like their late fa­ther. Based on his age and the close phys­i­cal re­sem-blance, Ms. Law­son im­me­di­ately told her sis­ter, “He’s got to be our brother.” This was their fa­ther’s se­cret. He had a child they never knew about.

Then came a sec­ond shock. Ms. Law­son’s test showed she didn’t ap­pear to have any ge­netic con­nec­tion to this new man. This was their moth­er’s se­cret: Ms. Law­son was the prod­uct of a brief ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fair. The man who raised her wasn’t her bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther.

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