When is a Father a Father?

This is probably the most difficult topic that I have written a blog about, because of the naturally sensitive nature of the subject matter and how it can, and will impact on people’s lives.


So when is a Father actually a father?

Father and Son


As genealogists we strive to prove family connections and bonds and to trace our bloodlines back into the dim and distant past. This is in our make up and part of what makes us who we are; to challenge and question where we came from and who we are, it’s what all genealogists seek to prove.


Before the modern day explosion of DNA testing, all we had as evidence and our only means of proof of who we are, was our Birth Certificates, but is this really enough? Of course we can back this up with additional records to support the facts, but in reality the records only stand up based upon the truthfulness of the person recording the event at that moment in time.


So can you safely say, a father is a father, solely based on what’s recorded on a birth certificate?


Family traits, similar looks, pictorial evidence, can all add weight to support who we are, or who we think we are, but I am sure that we all have somebody on our tree born, out of wedlock, who was brought up and passed off as another’s child.


The grandfather passing his own Daughter’s child off as his own and the mother (his daughter) and daughter (his granddaughter) being listed as siblings. As genealogists we like nothing better than trying to unravel these little family mysteries.


Bringing this idea and thought forwards and into the world we live in today, DNA testing can provide us with maybe all the additional proof that we need to successfully prove bloodlines from living family members today.


But is there a danger that they can also disprove bloodlines equally as quickly!


In our quest to follow our true bloodlines is there a danger that we can also find out something that we did not expect to find?


So, to kind of reverse the question above; can you safely say, a father is a father, solely based on what’s recorded on a DNA test.


A father is the loving, caring, kind, supporting person, the one that is the provider, the protector, the role model, the friend, the teacher, at times the disciplinarian, and the fun guy, the one who always listens, plus a whole lot more as well!


Do I need a birth certificate or DNA test to prove that? Most certainly not……….

Please see my regular blog for Family Tree Magazine Here

4 thoughts on “When is a Father a Father?

  1. Conversely, though DNA testing is a useful tool, it raises another way of looking at the problem you have identified. Can two lines with different Y-DNA be descended from brothers? Of course, they cannot be biologically, but there may be two separate Y-DNA lines that live in the same parish and for whom baptisms for one or both, cannot be located. DNA tells us they are not related but that may not represent the historical reality within the family. To their contemporary relatives they may have been viewed as brothers and the whole as one family, but we, several hundred years later may not be able to see that through either the paper record and certainly not through DNA. And yet, interaction between the two lines in the paper records may arouse suspicions of it, even though science says no.


  2. Discovered you on Dublin Forums tonight and just browsed your blog. Will find time in next week or so to read articles as they are interesting. Big into family tree myself since discovering in 1994 the mothers parents were not her biological parents and this was 20 years after she died. On a high 3 months now after the 23 year old saga was resolved thanks to DNA. Am in Dublin and pass that Woodfield Terrace area 4 mornings a week. Own father was from not too far away at the Ranch small housing estate. Keep enjoying what you do. Pat Monks


    1. Thanks Pat appreciate your kind words, I am hoping to make my third trip to Dublin this summer now that I have finally made contact with my long lost Daniels family. I actually did an ancestry DNA test myself this week. I have no pre-conceived ideas of what I will find but hoping that it picks up my Irish and `Italian ancestry


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