The study of DNA for genealogical purposes often leads researchers to non paternity events. A non paternity event is an event where a person is given a surname that differs from his historical surname.
Non Paternity Events
1. An illegitimate male child to a single woman takes her surname.
2. An illegitimate male child to a married woman takes the husband’s surname, even though the husband is not the father.
3. Male members of a family take the name of a female member.
4. Children adopt a step-parent’s name.
5. A child is adopted into a completely unrelated family and takes their name.
If a non paternity event has occurred in the past, the genealogist must work back through the public records to determine what happened. A DNA test that reveals there was a non paternity event cannot tell you when or what that event was. Unfortunately, the event could be close in time, or it could be in distant years before records are available. Also, it could be an unrecorded event in a recent time period, like an unrecorded adoption or a common-law marriage.