May 21, 2024

Two Men Switched at Birth in 1955 Wish the Truth Had Never Come Out

  • Two Canadian men discovered they were switched at birth in 1955 after taking DNA tests.
  • The discovery has prompted an existential crisis for the two men.
  • Beauvais and Ambrose led contrasting lives marked by their Indigenous and Ukrainian Catholic upbringing.

Two 68-year-old Canadian men discovered they were switched at birth in 1955 after taking DNA tests, causing an existential crisis for both.

The Globe and Mail first reported this story in February, and the New York Times followed with another report published in August.

“We both agreed that if we opened that up and nobody else knew about it, we would have just shut the book, and we wouldn’t have told anybody,” Richard Beauvais, one of the men, told the New York Times in a report published Wednesday.

Fisherman and businessman Beauvais first took a DNA test — received as a gift from his eldest daughter — in 2020. He was stumped by the revelation that his ancestry was Ukrainian, Polish, and Ashkenazi Jewish — and not the Indigenous or French heritage he believed to be his own, per the Globe.

Two years later, Evelyn Stocki took a DNA test which revealed that Beauvais was her full-blooded sibling, the Globe reported. They connected the dots when they learned that Beauvais and Stocki’s younger brother, Eddy Ambrose, was born on the same day in the same hospital in Manitoba, Canada.

This discovery brought along an avalanche of confusion for Beauvais and Ambrose, who led contrasting lives marked by their Indigenous and Ukrainian Catholic upbringing.

Beauvais recounted to both publications how he experienced firsthand Canada’s brutal policies against Indigenous people during his childhood, which involved a painful separation from his Cree mother as part of efforts to assimilate Indigenous children into white families.

“Richard told me I probably wouldn’t have survived — it was that brutal,” Ambrose told the Times, referring to Beauvais’ difficult upbringing. Ambrose, a retired upholsterer, had a happy upbringing immersed in Ukrainian Catholic culture, per the outlet.

Today, Ambrose is reconnecting with his Métis — or mixed Indigenous and Euro-American ancestry — culture by reaching out to his new extended family.

He told the Globe: “I’ve been robbed of my life. It’s something I won’t get back. I lost that time. But there is the time from now on.”

Beauvais, too, spoke of the sense of loss to the Times after the discovery but affirmed that “just because I’m not Native now, in my mind, I always will be.”

The Globe reported in February that the two were planning on celebrating their 68th birthday together in June.

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