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DNA Test Leads Woman To Unite With Relative She Never Knew She Had—4,500 Miles Away

A former social worker has been united with a cousin she never knew existed, living nearly 4,500 miles away, thanks to a DNA testing kit.

After tracing her family tree for over two decades, Susan Carran-Stout, 69, of Port Gordon, Aberdeenshire, had already found another cousin, Robert Burns, 70, in Peterfields, Hampshire, five years ago – following over 30 years without contact – so discovering her far flung relative Valerie Frost, 79, halfway across the globe in Vancouver, Canada, was the icing on the cake.

Since finding Valerie in 2018, the three cousins got to know each other through emails, phone and Skype calls, but last month they had their first family reunion in London, which Susan, a former social worker, described saying: “It was one of the most exciting and thrilling moments of my entire life."


PA Real Life/Collect

She continued: “One minute I was shaking and laughing, the next I thought I might faint. But as soon as we hugged and met, I felt a sense of completion."

Mum-of-two Susan found Valerie after completing an DNA kit – one of 4.7 million Brits who have used one, according to Ancestry DNA, who say 60 per cent of the population are interested in taking a test in the future.

In Susan's case it led to Valerie's son, Robert Frost, 58, contacting her through the Ancestry genealogy website, claiming they might be related.


PA Real Life/Collect

Then, in 2008, when Susan's mother Mary, 81, passed away, she came across a collection of old photographs.

“I couldn't believe it when I was sorting through all my mother's belongings and came across that very same photo," she said. “I wasn't a 20-year-old girl this time around though, I had the tools to try and track her down."

Despite her best efforts, Susan could not uncover Valerie's relationship to her family and assumed she had passed away. But that all changed after she discovered DNA testing.

Susan said: “I saw the DNA testing kit advertised for £79.99 on Ancestry and just knew I had to give it a go.

“The kit arrived, I spat in a tube, sent it back in the post and within a couple of months I was finding out things about my family history I could never have imagined."

And her journey reached a climax when Valerie's son, Robert, got in touch.

Susan explained: “I received a message through Ancestry saying, 'I think you may be related to my mother – her name is 'Valerie.' I couldn't believe it, I felt like I'd been looking for Valerie forever, now here she was.

“After swapping contacts it soon became clear Valerie had no clue about her extended family here in the UK."

Susan soon discovered that Valerie had recently lost her husband, Brian, 78, and “thought she was alone in the world."


After discovering Valerie would be in London to see an old classmate who had moved there, Susan and her cousin Robert seized the opportunity to meet her.

Susan said: “At first we wanted it to be a big surprise for Valerie, but after some further thought we were concerned that the shock might be a bit too much."


PA Real Life/Collect

Susan, Robert and Sheena, along with their daughter Natalie, 37, a teacher, waited to meet Valerie off her train.

Robert said: “I was worried that we'd miss her, but I needn't have been. I knew as soon as she stepped off the train it was her – she looked just like my mum."

The trio then spent the day making up for lost time, catching up at a local French restaurant, before bridging the gaps on both sides of the family tree in the hotel bar.

Valerie said: “When I got married, my husband had eight brothers and sisters – so that was my family. I feel like God took my husband but gave me my family, so what more could I want?"

Now the cousins are determined to “forge a family bond" that runs deeper than just blood.

Robert explained: “Obviously it's easy to get carried away, but realistically we have to take things slowly. This is a big shock for our family – on both sides of the Atlantic – and we need to let the relationships grow naturally.

“But I'm sure it will as, until five years ago, I hadn't seen Susan since a family wedding over 30 years earlier, then my daughter got in to Ancestry and suddenly we were back in touch. It really has made it a brilliant time to be alive."


PA Real Life/Collect

And Robert and Susan are now determined to visit Valerie in Vancouver later this year.

A great advocate of Ancestry DNA tests, Susan said: “If there are gaps in your family, if there are mysteries, you can find out the answers and complete your family.

“You're not alone in this world… and doing this can prove it."

Since the start of 2018 over 4 million messages have been sent through Ancestry's platform. To find out more about your family history, visit www.ancestry.co.uk


Addiction makes you do strange things...

Addictions are dangerous. It takes a hold of your life and strangles it. It festers slowly and disintegrates your world. Well most of them do. We all have behavioral addictions that often become a quirky character trait. Sometimes it can actually be cute. Well certain behaviors within reason that is. Some can be downright annoying and fodder for the therapist.

Redditor u/milanamilana asked people to divulge a few things, asking... What's your "strange addiction"?

Ah the cones...

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When I am out walking in wooded areas I spend a lot of time trying to find pine cones to stand on.

I do it because when you find a suitably dry one it feels amazing and sounds so good. Do it. Tends to work best if they are stood upright. wewannagetloaded

The sound of music...

I will listen to music for hours on end while walking around a room, imagining various stories and scenarios. Glissando365

I do that constantly. It doesn't interfere with my life but I love coming up with all kinds of stories and dropping myself into them. ParsnipPizza2

Flesh eater.

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Chewing the inside of my mouth. classik_e

My 30 year old sister has done this her whole life, and I have never seen or met anyone else that does it as noticeably as her. She'll take the second knuckle of her index finger and push her cheek in so she can chew on it. She's gotten better about not doing it as often. I've never asked her why she does it. yolkfacekilla

Daydream Believer. 

I'm not sure how common this is but shopping for million dollar penthouses and yachts that I will never be able to afford. I just like to dream I guess. ShellSwitch

I do this a ton, it's my night time wind down in bed activity to look at /r/roomporn and imagine myself as the buyer. What I would change, what I like etc etc. ExeterMegaladon

Yuck! 

This is so gross but I am addicted to picking. Pimples, dry skin, scabs, anything pick-able I will dig at it till I bleed. No I am not on drugs. It's so bad that I am contemplating hypnosis. Annon8765

I'm so hangry!

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Going through the kitchen in search of food, giving up, then lowering my standards and looking again. bibi-chocobun

I do this ALL THE TIME!!!!

I open the fridge, look around, take a mental note of what is there and close the doors and walk away. an hour later i come back and open the fridge, look around and think of what i might want... as if my stomach wants it, but my brain says no. tunersharkbitten

Look at the people...

Analyzing other people when I'm out in public. I enjoy trying to figure out who they are just by what I see. DARKcsb

I like doing this with my mom.

We would guess "who went with who" at the food court in the mall when I was growing up. We would look at people with their trays of food and try to guess who their significant other was waiting at the table.

My mom was almost always right. It's a fond memory :) girlroseghost

Staying mute...

I'm addicted to avoiding phone calls. QiNavigator

I purposefully reply to texts with at least hour delay so it's not fishy that I am never able to accept any calls.OresteiaCzech

I found a reality series...

Giphy

Donating sperm to lesbians.

I started off donating to some friends then they began recommending me to other lesbians through a FB group.

It's so rewarding and I've fathered 7 so far. Socialist7

Thank you for reading! 

Reading creepy stories on Reddit, which I guess isn't that strange. Alec122

And then regretting it when you try to sleep? Because that's what I do. CautiousMusic

REDDIT

Sam Tabone/WireImage via Getty Images, Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Arnold Schwarzenegger joked about having a bigger knife than Sylvester Stallone as he wished him luck ahead of the opening of his new Rambo film.

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If you talk to anyone studying English as a second language, they'll tell you how hard it is to learn. If you grew up speaking English as your only language, it probably doesn't seem that difficult; but as a bilingual native English speaker who learned a second language later in life I can tell you, English is WEIRD!

English has so many inconsistencies in spelling, pronunciation, verb conjugation...don't get me started. American English, UK English, and Australian English all spell things differently and the same word can have completely different meanings or connotations.

It wasn't until my freshman year of high school when I started learning Japanese, in which a word is always pronounced exactly like it looks like it should be, that I gained a real understanding of how hard English would be for someone to try to learn as a second language. Even as a native speaker who loves the English language and writes for a living, I sometimes struggle with its many homophones (there, their, and they're, for example) and grammatical inconsistencies. Even our mnemonics that are taught in school to help remember these differences don't always hold true. "I before E, except after C" is something most American children are taught in elementary school, but what about neighbor, weight, and veil?

Redditor STUDkatz asked:

What's something weird about English (or another language) that native speakers don't think about?

Below, you'll find an assortment of the weird quirks of the language that you've probably never thought about.

My Brain Hurts

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English might be difficult. It can be understood through tough thorough thought though.

-SpeeeeedBoost

It's Right, But Why?

A native speaker has a knowledge of implicit grammar (through learning naturally as a child) that would require an adult years to study and review.

You're spewing out the correct answer but god help you if someone asks you to show your work.

-BaanThai

I am an editor and I still sometimes have trouble when asked why something should be a certain way. I just KNOW it's wrong (or correct) and I can't always explain why.

-Lil-Maece

It took until i was 16 to realize there's actually a rule to figure out if you should use a or an... Before that (and admittedly since) I was just going with the one that didn't sound dumb out loud

-booneruni

Unnecessary Combination

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People assume a lot of silly things, such as words that can be combined always are.

Examples: "Yeah I maybe doing that later." or "I do that everyday."

I want to punch myself for writing that.

-PM_ME_A_PLANE_TICKET

Running A Bit Long

Run has hundreds of uses (forms). Last I checked it was a little over 250. You run a program, you run over toads in your car, the chicken run has a duck in it, The ads run too long on the TV, you run out of toilet paper, you run down to the shop in the car, you run up a bill at the shop after the assistant gave you the run around. You run into a friend but you have to run home as you had the runs and something was running down your leg. You run to the toilet but you run into a problem. Your kid is running a lemonade stand in the doorway. You're now running a little brown cable along your path. You hope nobody takes a picture and runs it in the paper as you are running for office. Your stance is against gun runners but you're hauling a little brown nuke right now. I've run out but there's more.

-PapaOoMaoMao

Sometimes The Joke Is In The Translation

Pakistani urdu-english speaker, there are a LOT of words that are absolutely hilarious when taken in the context of english but my 2 favorite have to be which is a letter in the urdu alphabet and is pronounced exactly like "Meme" and another which is a punjabi name which is literally spelled and pronounced "Butt", there is also a national level bakery brand called "Butt"

Urdu is a great language

-Theodoric___

Strength Or Weakness?

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There is a common nine letter word with only a single vowel in English.

That word is "strengths".

-Wobbles42

Ordered Descriptors

Adjectives have a specific order they are supposed to be arranged. For example, you would never say the green large five dragons. You would say the five large green dragons. The order that English typically follows for adjectives is:

1. Quantity or number

2. Quality or opinion

3. Size

4. Age

5. Shape

6. Color

7. Proper adjective

8. Purpose or qualifier

-TinkerTailorSoldjur

Rhymes with Confusion

Read and lead rhyme and so do read and lead, but read and lead don't rhyme and neither do read and lead.

-LinnyFlower

About Time You Realized It

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I never really appreciated the word "about" until I started learning French and realized there are about a couple dozen different words you have to learn about where in English we would just say "about." It's just about one of the most versatile and useful words we have.

-schnit123

Confusing Combos

Native English speaker here.

How irritatingly complex and nuanced English (and other Germanic languages) verbs are for having tons of common verbs that change meaning completely or only subtly with one flip of a preposition and sometimes even more so by stacking a few more on.

Put + on, in, out, off, toward, into, forth, away, up, up with, down, past

Set + on, off, out, in, up, down

Run + off, on, out, into, away, up, down, over, at, through

Take + on, out, in, away, up, over, off

Break + in, out, up, down, up with, into, out of away

Give + up, out, away, in, out

Get + on, in, out, up, down, away, away with, along, by, back, through, across, over, into, at

Work + up, up to, out, through

Come + in, out, by, across, through, over, at

Do + in, away with, over, up

Hang + up, in, out, out with, over, with, off, back

Then ones where the options are fewer, they're either somewhat related or *not at all*.

Chat vs chat someone up.

Make something up vs make out.

This list isn't exhaustive because I got tired of thinking but I've heard many a friend moan and groan about how every combination seems like a whole new word or phrase to memorize. That even if it looks familiar, they can't trust it. Most other languages just have a unique word for each idea or at least morphology that is somehow linked. Work + through makes sense in that it implies you're belaboring or in the midst of resolving something (imagine pushing *through* something). So some make at least a little logical sense. Put + up + with has no clue in it that it means to endure or tolerate. Come + over is just like "went from toward me above something?"

Set + off (an alarm) makes no sense at all. Isn't it actually going *on*?

Break + in (to use a new item for the first time, implying the start of the process of making it yours) — just "breaking" your boots is bad but if you do it on the inside, it's desired?

Give + out as in, "my car's engine gave out." (went kaput) Did it hand you a piece of candy?

If repeating doing something is "doing something over," then what do these mean:

"coming over"

"handing over"

"taking over"

"getting over"

At least in languages like Spanish that are better stocked in the logic department, these all are treated as different ideas that they are.

Venir a visitar

Entregar

Encargarse de

Superar

EDIT: Spelling mistakes and additional examples.

-stanographer

H/T: Reddit

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