The internet has had a field day after a man discovered his mom and his mother-in-law were in fact half-sisters, and he was related to his wife, after getting his spouse a DNA test as a gift.
Piecing together family trees and working out your heritage has soared in popularity over the past few years, spurred by home kits such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA.
A 2020 study published in the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine, entitled “Genetic Ancestry Testing What Is It and Why Is It Important?” said 26 million people around the world have taken part in at-home genetic testing.
While intended to discover a person’s ancestry, the study noted the results are also being used “beyond its original purpose,” including in criminal and health care settings.
Another feature of the kits is to connect you with relatives, who have also taken the test, with 23andMe explaining its DNA Relatives feature “can identify relatives on any branch of your family tree.”
But for one man, that took an unexpected turn when he discovered his mom and his mother-in-law were half-sisters, meaning he was in fact related to his wife.
The husband shared the incredible tale to Reddit’s Today I F***** Up forum, under username PM_MeMyPassword, as he explained he and his wife went to high school together in the same “small town.”
And he clarified that while they’re married, they don’t have any children together, but have three each from previous relationships.
He explained he got his wife the kit as she and her sister wanted to learn more about their European roots. The results came back, and along with the genetic make-up, it started linking them to other relatives.
“When their results were posted it started making family connections which included my mother, my oldest son, my uncle etc.
“Wife’s mom comes in the room so they ask her how we could be related. Her mom starts crying and says that when she was very young she overheard someone say ‘Tom’ isn’t your father, ‘Jimmy’ is.’
“Her mom being from older generation says she just put it out of her mind and convinced herself it’s just rumor,” he said.
He immediately asked his own mom about the rumor, and to his horror, continued: “I call my mom asked if she’s ever heard a rumor that her father could be my wife’s mother’s father as well. She gets quiet for a moment and says yes I have and it was believed to be true by her mom as well and that her dad (my grandfather) was a well known cheater/womanizer.
“We look further into the information on 23andMe and it literally says that my wife and my oldest son share a great grandparent. More of us are now getting test on the same platform but it appears a WW2 era secret has come to light.”
After the post blew up, amassing more than 34,000 upvotes, he shared some edits to clarify the situation.
He said: “Wife gets DNA test, discovers decades old secret, turns out I married my 1st cousin. My mom and wife’s mom are apparently half sister’s. At first wife was laughing about this but I’m afraid that the reality of it is caught up to her. Personally I think she’s reading to far into it.”
He confirmed they’re staying together, saying: “Yes we’re very much in love and will be staying that way. Although we probably won’t be sharing this information with too many other people… guess we’ll keep in the family.”
While in the comments, he joked: “We’re in our mid 40s, we will not be having anymore kids. Especially now. That is if she ever decides to have sex with me again.
“What bugs me most is both our moms knew there was the possibility but said nothing.
“Well at least our children are from the first marriage though. Just so frickin weird we have the same grandpa.”
Nopenotgonnadoit284 joked: “Damn your family tree is a wreath.”
BeardlessPete wrote: “Ok so when do you two think you’ll take the iron throne?”
Danieljc81 said: “From the wise words of Cletus from The Simpsons, ‘If God didn’t want us to marry our cousins then why did he make them so good lookin.'”
NadlesKVs commented: “What are you doing Step Half First Cousin?!”
HangryBeaver pointed out: “Go back far enough and we’re all related somehow!”
Weltallgaia advised: “Tell her you can’t unbang your cousin, so there is no point in changing anything.”
UnwariestPie52 added: “I’m betting this is much more common than people think, with how small towns are and everything.”
23andMe explains more about their DNA relatives Feature online, saying: “Relatives are identified by comparing your DNA with the DNA of other 23andMe members who are participating in the DNA Relatives feature.
“When two people are found to have an identical DNA segment, they very likely share a recent common ancestor. DNA Relatives uses the length and number of these identical segments to predict the relationship between genetic relatives.
“Generally long stretches of identical DNA indicate a recent common ancestor and therefore a close relationship.”
Newsweek reached out to PM_MeMyPassword for comment.