WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2017/2018

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/897427

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children he'd had previously. Her father, now deceased, never mentioned it, and Baum speculates that he may not have known himself. After learning of her half sister, Linda, Baum emailed and Skyped with her that spring, The two met several months later on Long Island, where Linda lives. They've seen each other several times over the past few years. Baum attended the wedding of Linda's son and spent a Thanksgiving with Linda and her family. The experience has been positive not only for Baum, but for her mother and half sister as well. "Linda adores my mom and vice versa." Of course, unearthing an unexpected family member is not always a welcome surprise and can upend long-held beliefs, identities, and family dynamics. Genealogy sites ask customers their preference. For example, if you opt in to 23 and Me's "DNA Relatives," you will be able to send and receive invitations to connect with other customers who share DNA with you. You can choose whether to respond to these invitations or not, and your DNA relatives have the same choice Regardless of whether you both agree to share, you will be able to see their birthplace, locations of their ancestors, and surnames, if they have cho- sen to add this information to their profile. If you both accept sharing invitations, you will be able to see ancestry reports and overlap- ping chromosome segments. Online databases are large, and growing. The 23andMe DNA database has more than two million genotyped customers world- wide. AncestryDNA includes more than five million. When signing up for DNA testing, Wellesley resident Lisa Siegel has some advice. "Click the right box," she says, and make sure you know what you're agreeing to. Siegel pursued DNA testing for her mother, who was adopted at a Jewish adoption agency (now Spence-Chapin) in New York City in 1939. Siegel and her sister, Stephanie, con- vinced their mother, Susie Silver Fink, to do 23andMe to find out about her heritage. Fink never wanted to know anything about her birth parents, feeling like this would be an affront to her adoptive parents. Her daugh- ters' goal was to discover more about Fink's ethnic background (51 percent Italian, 49 per- cent Ashkenazi Jew, as it turned out.) Six months after completing the testing, Siegel was telling a friend about the experi- ence, and offered to show her the 23andMe online account, which she had created and managed for her mother. What she saw next would change her mother's family as she knew it. An email from a man named Frank Marchese was in the 23andMe inbox. Based on his own research, he thought he might be Fink's half brother. "Never in our wildest dreams did we think 118 Researching Your Family W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 7 / 2 0 1 8

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