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DNA can reveal a lot, and not everybody is ready for that.” Getting a DNA test gave Sparber a newfound sense of identity – as well as a huge number of new relatives.He is now in touch with between 20 and 30 new cousins.“First, the test confirmed that I had Irish ancestry, so that put my mind at ease slightly.But then around six months later, a first cousin popped up on the system.
I wanted to know more about my great-grandfather and know about my family’s past.” He says that the test made his Irish heritage feel “much more real” than it had before, and it also pushed him to visit Co Sligo, where his great-grandfather was from, last year.
After my mother pointed out that we couldn’t be certain, I contacted the adoption agency and got some information from them, but it was quite limited.
Then, a few months later, I decided to do a DNA test online through 23and Me.” 23is one of many providers of home DNA tests.
The tests - which are done by spitting in a tube and sending it off for analysis - tell people what percentage of different nationalities they are, and also connect you to other people you could be related to across the world.
Most of the time, these are distant cousins – anywhere as distant as fourth, fifth or sixth – but when Sparber did his test, he was connected to a first cousin.
Damian Loftus grew up in Durham, England, and has lived there for his entire life.