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by Abigail Van Buren

Ancestry Research Leads to Unexpected Discovery

DEAR ABBY: I am doing an ancestry search to present to my sister-in-law "Kate" as a surprise birthday gift. While doing the search, I discovered that her late mother, "Ellen," has a sister who lives nearby. My brother believes Kate knows nothing about her. For unknown reasons, Ellen hadn't spoken to almost her entire family in years; therefore, Kate knows little about them.

We're not sure if I should include Ellen's sister in the ancestry or not. I think Kate has the right to know, but I don't want to upset her. Kate and Ellen were very close, and I'm afraid if she knew her mother withheld that information, it may cause her pain, even though Ellen has been gone nearly 15 years. What are your thoughts? -- DON'T WANT TO CAUSE PAIN

DEAR DON'T: There is always a reason for family estrangements. Ellen may have been hurt or mistreated by her relatives, which is why she separated herself from them. However, Kate is an adult and should have the information you discovered to do with as she pleases, which includes ignoring it.

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