I have become concerned about the number of questions being raised about genealogical DNA test results that seem, to the questioner, to raise the possibility of, in the extreme, incest. Two aspects in particular, stand out. Firstly, with the best will in the world, most of us will not have the requisite skills to deal with the psychological impact on the OP of even raising the question. Secondly, I am not convinced that testing designed for genealogical hobbies offers a sufficient degree of accuracy, or even analyses the correct things.

Should we exclude questions such as Assessing likelihood of incest using AncestryDNA results?

If so, then how do we define them, in order to exclude them?

I know that there was a DNA surprises or similar question on Meta, but I feel this incest aspect adds something else and takes the implications of getting it wrong, up a level.

Added links (21 Sept 2021) Let me just add a few links:

One highlight for me from that 2nd URL is

The technical term for lots of shared segments between one’s parents is “high ROH” which sounds much better than the “in” word.

It also says that

CeCe Moore specializes in helping people who make this discovery [High ROH]. [The 3rd link is] the informational brochure she helped Brianne Kirkpatrick, genetic counselor, create. It includes where to get emotional support.

That's just a very swift look but it illustrates that there are a whole number of tools and techniques beyond bog-standard Ancestry Autosomal testing that are useful for these cases. Plus there's a series of possible ways forward for emotional support.

Can we even begin to provide similar advice? I doubt it? But this does convince me equally that responding that we don't provide responses to questions of Incest is equally a dereliction of duty. People need to be directed to somewhere that gives them a way forward...

1 Answer 1


If I suspected that there had been an incest event in my ancestry, and wondered whether it could be verified using AncestryDNA, then I think that I would want to be able to use a question on our Main site to present the evidence I had, and ask if that evidence did indeed support my hypothesis.

However, I think any questions such as that would need to be rigorously scrubbed of anything that might identify potentially living individuals as per our Privacy Policy. In addition, I think we should also hold such Q&As to a very high standard with respect to accuracy and objectivity.

  • Thanks for responding. I think that my concerns are a complete lack of knowledge whether Ancestry Autosomal DNA can indeed support such hypotheses; plus the emotional support that needs to go with those very high standards of accuracy and objectivity. I've added some links to the original discussion question.
    – AdrianB38
    Sep 21, 2021 at 22:21

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