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One Sperm Donor, 19 Siblings, and Six Decades of Secrets: a Genealogy Story

30 Jun 2021 7:17 PM | Anonymous

When Bob Eliot rushed to his parents’ apartment in Co-op City in the Bronx in the autumn of 2011, he was not expecting to discover a secret that would change how he and dozens of other people view their lives, their families, and their pasts. Eliot, a retired IBM engineer and sales executive in his mid-50s who lived on Long Island, was simply fulfilling the obligation of a son. His 86-year-old father had smashed his head, needed to go to the hospital, and had called to ask Eliot to stay with his mother.

Adele Eliot had severe dementia, and Eliot was accustomed to sitting with her as she asked the same question over and over. On this day, she repeatedly said to him, “Bobby, how are your eyes?” He told her that he had the beginning of cataracts. “It makes sense. My grandmother had them,” he added, referring to his paternal grandmother.

His mother stared at him and replied, “He’s not your father. You should be happy. That whole family is crazy.”

Eliot was shocked. Was his mother saying his dad was not truly his father? Maybe this was the dementia talking, he thought. He asked her to explain. But she slipped into a fog and would say no more.

The remainder of the story is lengthy, but fascinating. I suspect you will enjoy reading of the mystery and how it was solved. Yes, genealogy and NNA were involved.

You can read A Bronx Tale: One Sperm Donor, 19 Siblings, and Six Decades of Secrets by David Corn, published in the Mother Jones web site at:

My thanks to newsletter reader Yvonne Dolbec for telling me about this story.

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