A Search for Ancestors Reveals She Had Been Swapped at Birth

Women discover they were switched at birth
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2018 8:37 AM CDT
Denice Juneski, left, and Linda Jourdeans.   (YouTube/KARE)

(Newser) – A fun foray into finding out more about her ancestry through a popular genealogy website led to a shocking revelation for 72-year-old Denice Juneski: She wasn't related to any of her own relatives—at least not the ones she'd grown up knowing. KARE reports that as Minnesota's Juneski was puzzling over her test results from 23andMe, a woman in a nearby town in Wisconsin took her own DNA test. Linda Jourdeans' results showed that "M. Mayer" was her mother—but that wasn't the woman who had raised her, she tells KARE. The murkiness of this all soon cleared up: Juneski and Jourdeans had been somehow switched at birth sometime after being born on Dec. 19, 1945, at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, Minn.

The news offered context for things both women had long noticed: Juneski was the only blonde among redheads and brunettes, while Jourdeans, a redhead, was surrounded by lighter-haired kin. Juneski said she also felt out of place in a family of athletes, while Jourdeans was the only athlete in her family. The women tracked each other down in April and have since met a few times, and they're celebrating their special new bond. "I consider it a gift," Juneski says. Together, the women visit one other person at her memory care facility: 99-year-old Marianne Mayer, the woman who raised Juneski and is Jourdeans' biological mother. Rochelle Nielsen, Juneski's biological mother and the mom who raised Jourdeans, died of cancer when Jourdeans was 17. (Were these birth switches done on purpose?)

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